How to Change Your Rhode Island Business Name

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Changing your business’s name is a big step. Yet it’s a move that many business owners need to make from time to time.

Maybe you’ve decided that it’s time for a business name change in Rhode Island. If so, you’ve come to the right place. To change a business name in Rhode Island, look to the business’s formation documents. As you likely know, different types of companies use different formation documents. Corporations have Articles of Incorporation. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) use Articles of Organization. If you were the business’s original owner, you probably remember filing these documents with the State of Rhode Island to make your business an official legal entity. 

How to Get a New Business Name

It doesn’t take long to learn how to change a business name in Rhode Island. There are only three steps to the whole process. 

1. Choose a new business name

Before you do anything else, write down a list of potential new business names. Remember that your business’s name is the foundation of its identity, branding, and image. 

Once that’s done, make sure that your business names meet Rhode Island’s naming requirements. Fortunately, Rhode Island has fewer rules about business names than other states. For LLCs, Rhode Island law requires that the new name:

  • End with the words “limited liability company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.”
  • Be distinguishable from the names of any other business (including corporations, associations, limited partnerships, or LLCs) listed in the Secretary of State’s records 

For corporations, Rhode Island law mandates that the new name:

  • Contain the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or an abbreviation of one of those words
  • Be distinguishable from any other business name listed in the Secretary of State’s (also called the Department of State) records

As you might imagine, there are a lot of businesses that are registered in Rhode Island. Combing the state’s records to determine whether your new name is available probably isn’t the best use of your time.

2. Gather information for filing your amendment

To amend your corporation’s name, you’ll need to file an Articles of Amendment for Domestic Business Corporation form. To make a change to an LLC’s name, you’ll need to file an Articles of Amendment to Articles of Organization for Domestic Limited Liability Company form.

Irrespective of which form you fill out, you’ll need to have certain information handy. Specifically, you’ll need to provide the following: 

  • Your business’s ID number
  • Your business’s current name
  • Your business’s new name
  • The effective date of the Articles of Amendment
  • The filer’s contact information (name, address, email address, and phone number) 
  • A signature from an authorized officer of the business

Corporations also need to include the date that their shareholders approved the Articles of Amendment. Finally, include the appropriate filing fee with the form.

3. File your Rhode Island amendment

To formalize your business name change in Rhode Island, file your Articles of Amendment with the Rhode Island Department of State’s Business Services Division. You can file the form online, by mail, or in person. The filing fee should stay the same regardless of the filing method you choose. 

It’s worth remembering that filing Articles of Amendment to change your business name is entirely different than filing for a fictitious name — otherwise known as a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. When you use a fictitious name for your business, your business’s legal name doesn’t change. Instead, you continue to use your business’s official name on formal legal and financial documents while using the fictitious name with your customers and partners. 

If you want to request a fictitious name for your company, you can file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the Rhode Island Department of State. 

After You Change Your Business Name

There are a few remaining loose ends to tie up once you’ve formally changed your business name. Examples include:

  • Updating your business name with local, state, and federal agencies
  • Informing business partners and banking institutions about the name change
  • Updating your business’s website, letterhead, and email address to reflect the new name
  • Changing your business’s name on marketing materials, contracts, and business licenses

These steps don’t require much time, but they are vital to the process. If you don’t update your business’s name in these areas, it can cause serious confusion with various third parties. In the worst-case scenario, you may open up the door to significant legal issues. 

Last but not least, let your customers and clients know about the new name.

We can help 

We know that running a company takes grit, creativity, innovation, and optimism. But it shouldn’t have to be an endless paperwork exercise. We believe business owners shouldn’t have to deal with endless administrative requirements all on their own. That’s why we’re dedicated to making life easier for you. Let us handle the administrative hassle so you can focus on growing your enterprise.

Besides changing your business’s name, we can also help you with many other business needs. Want to form a business in Rhode Island? Check out our Rhode Island LLC and Rhode Island Corporation Formation Services. Both of these make it much easier to start up a new Rhode Island business. 

Are you worried about keeping your business compliant with all of Rhode Island’s annual requirements? Our Worry-Free Compliance Service can make it easier to meet your company’s ongoing compliance obligations. With this service, you can make two amendments to your formation documents every year. Covered changes include things like a change to your business’s name, the number of stock shares, or the current board of directors. Whether your business needs are big or small, we’re ready to step in and help.

Rhode Island Business Name Change FAQs

  • A DBA name (or fictitious name) is a name your business can use with its customers and in the regular course of business. It is different than your company’s legal name and can be used to differentiate between different branches of your company. However, the name on your formation documents remains the official name of your company.

  • No. You don’t have to change your business’s official name if you have a DBA or fictitious name.

  • The process for registering your business name varies according to whether you’re forming a new business or changing the name of an existing business.

  • As long as you meet all of the state’s requirements (like submitting the appropriate filing fee and using the right forms), you can make as many amendments to your business as you like.

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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