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How to change company name

You may one day realise that your business name doesn't work for you anymore, and that's fine. Whatever the reason for changing, we look at the steps you will need to follow.

Why would I want to change company name?

Registering a business name is key when starting your business, but what happens if you one day change your mind?

Well, there are many reasons as to why you may want to change a business name. Whatever that may be, you will need to think about the process carefully. This is because there are different steps for the three main business types.

So, if you’re wondering can I change my company name? Or how to change a company name, we’re here to help.

Below are some of the main reasons why you might want to change your business name:

1. You’re expanding

The most common reason to update a name is when your original business has expanded. This could be due to a merger, acquisition, or adding to the services you offer.

For example, when you take on more employees you could gain additional services. This could mean switching from ‘Carpentry’ in your name to both ‘Carpentry and Roofing’.

This is one of the most common business name change reasons.

2. Moving locations

Another key reason you may want to change is when you move out of an area. If your company name includes your former location, you’ll probably need to update it.

For instance, there is no point in keeping the name “The Preston Pest Control Company” if you’ve relocated to Gateshead.

Even having something less location-specific (such as Forest, Seaside, etc) could quickly become off-putting if you have moved.

3. It’s too confusing

Sometimes choosing a trendy or interesting name works for a business. But, if potential customers are struggling to find you because of a confusing name, you’ll need a different approach.

Changing business names to something simple yet memorable can help boost your business!

Is it simple for me to change my company name?

Wondering how to change your name with HMRC, or perhaps how to change a company name online?

Well, how you go about changing a name for your business depends on how you operate.

Sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies all have different legal requirements, and therefore different processes.

Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to follow different steps to change a company name.

Arranging-name-change-for-trade-business

How do I change a business name as a sole trader?

As a sole trader, arguably you can use whatever name you like. You don’t want to use a name that is similar to another product/service, however, as there could be consequences.

If you have a common name and use it for your business, you won’t need to change it through deed poll. Although, you may want to think about calling your business something else.

In terms of amending your business name, you can start trading almost straight away under your new given name.

You will need to amend your name with HMRC for tax reasons. That can simply be updated through their website.

It’s especially important to inform them of a name change sooner if you are registered for VAT (within 30 days).

How can I change a limited company name?

Wondering how to change a limited company name? Well, due to registration, there is a slightly longer process to update your limited business name through Companies House.

First, you’ll need to fill out and return form NM01, and any new name will need to be vetted/approved.

You may wish to check the existing register to see if there is another business already using your chosen name. You can then submit NM01 via the WebFiling service or send a paper copy through the post.

There is a nominal fee of £8 to process the name change application online. This increases to £10 if you choose to submit a paper application via mail.

The process of changing your limited company name can be helped by a secretarial or formation agent. There is guidance around using these services on the Companies House website.

Alternatively, if you’re just starting out, we’ve also got information on setting up a limited company.

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What about a name change for a partnership?

If both you and your partner agree on a new name, then this will also need to go through HMRC.

There are some quirks relating to updating details around partnerships, so it is easiest to call or write to HMRC. You will need to give them details about your company tax reference number and your intended new name.

As well as agreeing verbally, it may also be worth considering a written agreement. It is good to have proof in case HMRC ask you to verify consent has been given by both parties.

Partnership Changing Company Name

How do I change my company name on Checkatrade?

If you have a Checkatrade membership, you will need to let us know when you change your business name. For 25 years, we have been continually checking and monitoring our members to maintain a standard people can rely on.

You can do this by email or by phoning our Existing Member Vetting team. We need to know about your new name as soon as possible, as all Checkatrade members are trusted and verified.

Any name change with Checkatrade will depend on your company status.

If you are a sole trader or partnership, it may be as simple as letting us know verbally. As a limited company, we will also need to check that your change has been carried out through Companies House.

As soon as we’ve verified your name change, we will update your name on our site.

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How to change a name with HMRC?

You must let HMRC know about any change in detail or circumstances regardless of business size. That goes for a change in your personal name, trading address, or business name.

All businesses need to make sure that HMRC has the correct details. They need to know about a company name change for all the taxes and schemes you are registered with.

These could include:

  • VAT (within 30 days)
  • PAYE
  • Corporation Tax
  • Self Assessment
  • Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

You can tell HMRC about your name change online. And people who are registered can use the Government Gateway service.

If you are a registered (limited) company, you need to let Companies House know before changing your name with HMRC.

What else should I bear in mind when changing a company name?

After completing a business name change, you’ll need to sort out domain changes as well as website updates.

Not only this, but you’ll need to amend your logo to feature your new name. And, don’t forget to update any social media pages you have too.

Social media is key when it comes to marketing and interacting with your customers.

Key takeaways about business name changes

  • There are many reasons you may want to change company name
  • There are different ways to change business name depending on whether you’re a sole trader, partnership or limited company
  • You will need to let HMRC know if you change your business name
  • Checkatrade members will need to let us know of any changes to their business name

Alternatively, perhaps you’re just starting out and are brainstorming business names?

Well, whether you’re looking for electrical company names, cleaning business names, or something else, make sure it stands out.

You’ll also need to create a new business website and market your small business on social media.

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