IRS Instructions for a Business Name Change

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

IRS Instructions for a Business Name Change

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

Changing your business' name should be a carefully considered decision. If you have an established business, changing what it's called could cause confusion if not handled appropriately. If your business is new, choosing a new name so soon could throw it into obscurity.

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To change what your business is called, you need to notify your customers or clients, your business partners, any applicable state agencies, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

How to Change Your Business Name with the IRS

You can change your name with the IRS when you file taxes by including the change on your tax forms or through other written correspondence. How you give notice depends on your business type.

  • Sole proprietorship: Send a letter signed by the business owner or an authorized representative to the same address where you file your tax returns notifying them of your name change.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): If you have a single-member LLC, you should send a letter to the same address where you file your tax returns notifying them of the change, along with your certificate of amendment. If you're part of a multiple-member LLC, you should give notice on your current year income tax return, U.S. Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065).
  • Partnership: Give notice on your current year income tax return, Form 1065.
  • Corporation or LLC taxed as a corporation: You should give notice on your current year income tax return, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120).

If you have recently filed taxes for your business, then you should send a letter to the same address where you file your tax returns to notify them of your name change instead of waiting until you file again. One of the business' members, partners, or officers should sign the letter.

When You Should Get a New EIN

Typically, the IRS requires your business to get a new employer identification number (EIN) when you change the structure or ownership of your business. So, when you just change the name of your business, you do not need to get a new number.

If you have made additional changes you do need a new EIN. Changes that require a new number could include taking on a partner when you didn't have one before or adding employees to your company if you previously had none.

Other Considerations for a Business Name Change

For tax purposes, it's critical to notify the IRS about this change. But don't forget other relevant entities that need to know about it as well.

For example, all businesses except sole proprietorships must notify the Secretary of State or other state agency that regulates businesses about a name change. Depending on your state's business laws, you may need to file amended forms, such as amended articles of incorporation or organization.

You also need to revise any state, city, or local business licenses or permits that you have. Finally, update your domain names for your website. It would be disappointing to choose an available new business name for your company only to find out it's not available online.

Changing the name of your business may sound like an easy feat; however, unexpected issues can pop up and cause havoc down the road. Think through any potential problems and make sure you're following the law for your state and company type. Doing so helps save you time and gives you peace of mind in knowing you're off to a good start in rebranding your business.

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.