What’s in a Name? Helpful Tips for Changing Your Entity’s Name

August 17, 2016
By Lydia Gorba
Posted in Business Services

There are many things one must do to effectuate a business name change. Some of the steps constitute formal requirements such as filing an Articles of Amendment form with the Department of State. Others however, are internal, business specific considerations such as changing the company’s letterhead and e-mail address.

Between the formal, the informal, and all of the considerations in between, it can prove difficult to cover everything. Though not all inclusive, this blog provides a starting point for those who wish to change their entity’s name.

As mentioned above, one must complete and file an Articles of Amendment form provided by the Pennsylvania Department of State.[1] The fee required to file this form is $70.

Whether or not one must apply for a new employer identification number (EIN) is dependent on the type of entity. For example, corporations do not need to apply for a new EIN due to a name change. All entities, other than corporations, should be sure to check the Department of State website to find out whether a new EIN is necessary.[2]

Upon confirmation of the change from the Secretary of State, one must inform the IRS of the name change. Similar to changing an EIN, the method by which one must inform the IRS depends on the type of entity.[3]

Aside from the formal requirements, entities should consider other entities and individuals that must be informed of the name change, such as those with whom the company has a service or other relationship. These may include landlords, licensing agencies, permit providers, phone service providers, banks, and credit card providers.[4]

Finally, entities should consider internal uses of the name that must be updated. For example, business documents such as Bylaws and letterhead. Also consider marketing materials such as a company website and business cards. Last but not least, consider contracts, loan agreements, and other business documents that must be updated. Importantly, each contract will need to be carefully reviewed in order to determine what type of notice the entity must give.

SMGG can help you navigate the name change process. If you have a question about the process, please contact Ena M. Lebel of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky in Pittsburgh at elebel@smgglaw.com or (412) 281-5423.

[1] The Articles of Amendment form, with instructions, can be found here: http://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Business/RegistrationForms/Documents/RegForms/15-1915_5915%20Art%20of%20Amnd-Dom%20Bus%20Nnprft%20Corp.pdf.

[2] Employer Identification Number – Understanding Your EIN can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1635.pdf.

[3] IRS – Business Name Change can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/business-name-change.

[4] If your entity is a non-profit corporation there may be additional entities to consider such as grant providers.