How to Change Your California Business Name

Change can be great, and that includes changes to your business. Even something like a new name can be just the refresh your company needs. There are many reasons to change your business name, and regardless of why you want to change it, we are here to help you with how to change a business name in California. 

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Changing your business name requires you to file an amendment to your formation documents. This ensures that the change is officially communicated. There are specific documents to file, depending on if your business is a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. These are things we can do for you, but it is still a good idea to have an understanding of how to change a business name in California and the necessary steps before and after. 

How to Get a New Business Name

A business name change in California is not the most difficult transition your business will make, but there is thought and prep work that goes into the process. 

1. Choose a new business name

Follow all naming guidelines for your California business legal entity. These are the same as the guidelines that you followed when determining the original name of your LLC. In general, some form of the word LLC has to be in the name and the name must not be already in use or misleading.

These requirements are similar for California corporations. The name of your business typically needs to contain the words “Corporation,” “Incorporated” or “Limited,” normally at the end of the name. These suffixes can be abbreviated.

Follow all procedures outlined in your corporation bylaws or LLC operating agreement to make sure you have agreement from shareholders or members. 

Once you have determined the name you would like to change to, use our Business Name Checker to make sure it isn’t already in use. 

2. Gather information for filing your amendment

Your new name is not the only piece of information you will need to submit to complete your amendment. 

When filing a Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation (corporation) or an Amendment to the Articles of Organization (LLC) to change a business’s name in California,  you need to include multiple pieces of information. Normally LLC and corporation owners need some or all of the following information to change business names: 

  • The business’s current name
  • The business’s state-issued entity number
  • The new name for the business
  • Statement of approval by the board of directors
  • A filing fee payment
  • Information about shares (if applicable)
  • Signatures from appropriate shareholders or members

Gather this information and check it against your current formation documents to ensure accuracy. Forms can be rejected due to inconsistencies and missing information.  

3. File your California Amendment

Submit the correct form to the California Secretary of State. All forms can be filled out and turned in online, e-filed, or mailed. Note that filing online is the fastest way to change a business name in California. Submission by mail could take several months to process.

After You Change Your Business Name

Once your new business name is official, you are responsible for updating several other documents and legal business holdings. 

  • California Statement of Information: This is a report that is required every two years. 
  • City Business Registration Certificate: Many cities require a business registration certificate, which must accurately reflect the name of your business. 
  • Fictitious Business Name Statement: If you are operating under a different name, you will have to update your fictitious business name with the county and have it published. 
  • California Employment Development Office: If you are paying employees, you will need to update your name with this office. 
  • Seller’s Permit: If you have a seller’s permit, notify the California Board of Equalization about the change. 
  • Business Licenses: Update any federal, state, or local business licenses or permits. 
  • IRS: The IRS will need to know about your new name. 
  • Bank Accounts: Update company bank accounts with your new legal name. 

It is also important to reach out to vendors and business partners to inform them of the change. 

Let us make it easy

Change can be difficult, but also rewarding. Now that you understand how to change a business name in California, you’ll need to decide whether you want to tackle it on your own or let us take care of your amendments. There is a lot to consider when you are running a business and we don’t want that to distract you from doing what you do best. Our Amendment Filing Service can help you complete the task of changing your business name with the state. 

If you don’t have an LLC or a corporation yet, we can help with our California LLC and California Corporation Formation Services. We can also take some pressure off all the administrative details with our Worry-Free Compliance Service. We don’t presume to know how you want your business to run, but we are here to help you make running your business a little smoother. 

California Business Name Change FAQs

  • A business name is the official name of your business. This is the name on all of your formation documents. A DBA or fictitious business name is a name your company goes by. This is usually the name you use to market your business.

  • The general purpose of a DBA is to maintain the official business name while having the ability to use a different name. If the only purpose for a business name change in California is to use a different name, you may consider registering a DBA instead.

  • Follow all business naming regulations for your business entity when choosing a name. Make sure the name is not currently being used or similar to the name of an existing business. Register the name with the Secretary of State when you file your formation documents.

  • As long as they are properly filed, you can make as many amendments as needed. Amendment documents allow for multiple amendments at one time.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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