How to Change the Name of an LLC with the IRS

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How to Change the Name of an LLC with the IRS

By Christine Funk, J.D.

Whether and how you must notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your limited liability company's (LLC) name change depends on several different factors. Because an LLC can choose different methods of taxation, the procedure for changing the LLC's name with the IRS starts with identifying how your business pays taxes.

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1. Determine how the LLC is taxed.

According to the IRS, an LLC can be taxed using a few different methods, depending on the number of members in the LLC and their choices.

Single-Member LLCs

Many LLCs are owned and operated by a single person. As a single-member LLC, the business owner has the following choices:

  • Pay taxes as a corporation by filing an Entity Classification Election (Form 8832).
  • Pay taxes as an S corporation, if qualified, by filing an Election by a Small Business Corporation (Form 2553).
  • Pay taxes as a disregarded entity.

Multiple-Member LLC

Some LLCs, on the other hand, are operated by more than one person, such as a husband and wife team or a group of owners. When an LLC has multiple members, the business owners have the following choices:

  • Pay taxes as a corporation by filing an Entity Classification Election (Form 8832).
  • Pay taxes as an S corporation, if qualified, by filing an Election by a Small Business Corporation (Form 2553).
  • Pay taxes as a partnership.

2. Determine whether you need a new employer identification number.

If you wish simply to change the name of your LLC, you do not need a new employer identification number (EIN). However, if you decide to incorporate, take on partners, or become a sole proprietorship after one partner leaves, you will need a new EIN. Additionally, depending on your tax status, you might need a new EIN if you file for bankruptcy.

3. File the appropriate forms for your circumstances.

If you need a new EIN, you can apply online, by fax, or by mail. The IRS offers online EIN application services at no charge.

The action required to notify the IRS about the name change is dependent on whether the LLC is taxed as a corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship.

  • Corporations. When filing a current year return, mark the Name Change box on the appropriate version of the U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120). If using Form 1120, the box is on Page 1, Line E, Box 3. If using the U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation ( Form 1120S), the box is on Page 1, Line H, Box 2. If you have already filed the current year's taxes, write the IRS at the filing address to inform the IRS of the name change. A corporate officer must sign this notification.
  • Partnerships. When filing a current year return, mark the Name Change box on the U.S. Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065), found on Page 1, Line G, Box 3. If you have already filed the current year's taxes, write the IRS at the filing address to inform them of the name change. A partner of the business must sign the notification.
  • Sole proprietorships. Write the IRS at the address where you filed your return, informing them of the name change. The notification must be signed by the business owner or an authorized representative.

If you change the name of your LLC, identify how the IRS taxes the LLC, and file the appropriate forms, either along with your taxes or after the fact, depending on when you change the name. Don't forget, however, that an LLC also requires compliance with state-specific requirements. Changing the name of an LLC also requires working with the state's LLC office to determine whether the new name is available for use.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.