What you need to know before changing your business name

May 01, 2018

changing-your-business-name

Changing your company’s business name is a difficult task. Some common reasons why you may want to change your business name include:

  • You may decide it is necessary to rebrand your business to better help customers identify with your company.  
  • You used your name in the company’s name and now want to change the business name to reflect a larger, more corporate brand.
  • Someone else has a trademarked name and you have been notified that you must cease using your current name. 

If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to do:

Research the availability of the new name

Check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be sure your new name is not already registered by someone else. You also want to verify that another company has not already registered the name with the Secretary of State’s Office. Finally, you will want to find out whether the domain name is available.

File with the Secretary of State

If the name is available, the first step will be to change your business name with the Secretary of State’s Office. Be sure to update filings with any other states where your company is registered to do business.

Check with the IRS

The IRS has different requirements depending on your type of business.  Sometimes, the change can be as simple as noting the name change on your next tax return. You will also need to find out whether you are required to obtain a new EIN.

Financial matters

Update financial accounts, including bank accounts, checks, and credit cards. Notify your merchant card provider and the Texas Comptroller.

Change licenses and permits

You will need to check with the offices associated with any licenses or permits your business holds to find out how to change your business name. In most cases you will have to pay a fee.

Contracts

Update business documents, including contracts, loan agreements, leases and company documents.

Website

Update your website, domain, website content, including company bios, email address and email signature.

Social media

Update social media accounts, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and podcasts.

Marketing Materials

Update marketing materials, including business cards and other printed materials, return address stamp and shipping labels.

Forms

Update forms and templates, including forms of contracts, order forms, letterhead, accounting templates and billing software, fax cover templates and forms and internal memo templates.

Phone

Notify your phone service provider and update voicemail messages.

Communicate

Communicate the change of name to employees, clients, companies that sell your products, vendors, mail delivery people, news outlets and the Better Business Bureau.

Trademark

Registering your business name with the Secretary of State’s Office does not grant you exclusive rights to that name. Once you have a new name and logo, consider protecting them by filing a trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In some cases, you may want to file a trademark registration with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Business legal issues are complex. Business owners should consult with their legal and tax advisers on such matters. For more information on business legal matters, please contact Kathy Tremmel at Tremmel Law, PLLC at (512) 539-0317 or kathy@tremmellaw.com.

Kathy Tremmel

Tremmel Law

Kathy Tremmel has significant experience both as a business attorney and corporate executive. Her career spans both legal practice and business management and she opened her own solo law practice in January 2010. In additional to running her own practice, she also is of Counsel with Selman, Munser & Lerner, which is a business transaction law firm in Austin, Texas. Ms. Tremmel has more than 10 years’ experience as a business attorney, providing transactional legal services to a diverse client base, from start-up ventures to well established companies. She helps companies with all their contracts, including customer agreements, non-compete agreements, employment agreements, buy-sell agreements, loans, and leases, helps people set up new businesses, and represents buyers and sellers of businesses. In addition, Ms. Tremmel has 10 years of management experience working with start-up companies. As VP of Operations at Tusker Group, an international litigation support company, Ms. Tremmel led international teams, managed production and quality issues, handled price negotiations, worked closely with clients to determine the scope of their projects, provided project management services, and developed, implemented and documented best practices for processing and training. Ms. Tremmel earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Colorado School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College. She is a Texas licensed attorney and a certified Project Management Professional.
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