How to Change a Business Name in Illinois 2023: Ultimate Guide


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How to Change a Business Name in Illinois

Welcome to our all-in-one guide on renaming your business in Illinois (also known as The Prairie State)! We know that a name change can impact your operations, brand, and customers. We aim to make this transition as smooth as possible, offering expert advice and guidance throughout the process.

Get ready to dive in as we explore the necessary steps for a successful business name change in Illinois. We’ll cover everything from selecting a new name to updating crucial documents and registrations, ensuring your Illinois LLC remains compliant and thriving. At LLCBase, we’re here to support you every step of the way in this exciting journey towards a fresh business identity in Illinois!

What is a Business Name

A business name, or trade name, is the official and unique title under which a company conducts its operations and represents itself to the public. It is essential to a company’s identity in branding, marketing, and communications. A well-chosen business name distinguishes a business from its competitors and conveys its values, mission, and services or products offered to customers.

A business name represents your company’s identity and is crucial for all branding and marketing initiatives. However, entrepreneurs often feel the need to change their business’s name at some point.

Top Reasons for Changing a Business Name

  1. Rebranding: One of the most common reasons for changing a business name is rebranding. As businesses evolve over time, their initial name may no longer reflect the current products, services, or target audience. A new name can help create a refreshed identity and better communicate the business’s direction.
  2. Expansion: Another reason for changing a business name is geographical or market expansion. If your company name was initially tied to a specific location or target market, a change might be necessary to reflect the new areas you’re targeting.
  3. Mergers and Acquisitions: Adopting a new name representing both entities’ strengths may be beneficial if your business merges with or acquires another company.
  4. Legal Issues: Trademark disputes or potential infringement can also lead to a business name change. If you’re facing legal challenges over your company’s name, rebranding might be a wise choice to avoid further issues.
  5. Negative Associations: Suppose your business has faced negative press or unfavorable associations with its current name. In that case, a name change can help distance the company from past issues and signal a fresh start.

Change a Business Name: A 4-Step Guide

Let’s discuss the various steps and procedures involved in changing your business name effectively:

Step 1: Choose Your New Business Name

Selecting a new name is the first step in changing your business name in Illinois. Many business owners file a DBA (Doing Business As) or a Fictitious Name before registering their business with the Secretary of State (SOS). They can then change this name when filing their business. To choose a new name and file a DBA, follow the steps below:

  1. Visit the Illinois Secretary of State to access the Illinois Secretary of State Corporation/LLC Search, where you can search for the desired name and confirm its availability. 
  2. Once you have found an available name, proceed with the DBA name filing in Illinois. The Illinois DBA filing method can be done through three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing., which may include For online filing, check the Illinois Cook County Clerk. There, look for the “Assumed Names” section. You will get the registration form. or For filing offline, you must send the downloaded PDF form or drop it off in person at the Cook County Clerk, Vital Statistics P.O. Box 641070, Chicago IL, 60664-1070, ATTN: Assumed Name Unit options.
  3. Depending on the chosen filing method, you may need to submit a DBA application form and pay the associated $50. This fee may vary depending on your state and filing method.
  4. After successfully filing your DBA, keep track of the Indefinite, as you may need to renew your DBA registration periodically, depending on your state’s requirements.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition in changing your business name in Illinois while maintaining compliance with state regulations. Remember to update all relevant documents, licenses, and registrations with your new business name to avoid confusion and maintain a consistent brand identity.

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Illinois Requirements to Change a Business Name

Before proceeding with the next step, it is crucial to know the naming guidelines when choosing a new name for your business. These guidelines may vary based on the type of business structure. For example, if you start a Illinois LLC, the following rules must be observed when changing the name:

  • The name should be available for use
  • The name should not be in use by another business
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company
  • The name should not be confused with a government entity
  • The name should be unique

Read the Illinois LLC name search article to learn more about LLC naming guidelines if you are forming an LLC.

Step 2: Prepare the Documents

Once you choose a new business name, prepare the necessary documents to file the Illinois Articles of Amendment. Gathering all the required information and double-checking for accuracy before the submission is essential. Along with the name change form, submit the following details:

  • Current business name: Provide the existing name of your business as it appears on your registration documents.
  • New business name: Clearly state the new name you have chosen for your business, ensuring that it complies with your state’s naming guidelines.
  • The entity number of the business: Include the unique identification number issued by the Illinois for your business. This number is often called the Secretary of State File Number or the Business Identification Number.
  • Board of Directors’ approval statement (for corporations): If your business is a corporation, provide a statement indicating that the Board of Directors has approved the name change. This statement should include the date of the meeting during which the decision was made and the signatures of the authorized representatives.
  • Information on shares (if applicable): For corporations, provide details on the number of authorized shares, the various classes of shares, and any changes to the share structure resulting from the name change.
  • Signatures of members (LLC) or Shareholders (Corporation): Obtain and include the signatures of all required parties, such as LLC members or corporate shareholders, to confirm their agreement to the name change.
  • Illinois Articles of Amendment filing fee: Include the appropriate filing fee of $50 in Illinois. This fee may vary depending on the state and the type of business entity.

Just like the first process of starting a business in Illinois, ensure that the details in the  Articles of Amendment are consistent with the initial filing documents. Inconsistencies may result in the cancellation of your registration or delays in processing the name change. By carefully preparing and reviewing your amendment documents, you can help ensure a smooth transition to your new business name in Illinois.

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Step 3: File the Illinois Articles of Amendment

After thoroughly preparing and reviewing all the necessary documents, proceed to file the Illinois Articles of Amendment for your Illinois LLC or an Amendment of Articles of Incorporation for corporations. Keep in mind the following steps to ensure a successful filing:

  1. Attach the name reservation form: Remember to include the name reservation form with the Amendment forms. This form typically confirms that you have reserved and have the right to use the new business name.
  2. Choose the appropriate filing method: You can file the Articles of Amendment online or by mail, depending on your state’s available options. Each method may have specific requirements or fees, so research your state’s guidelines to determine the best option for your business.
  3. Submit the  Articles of Amendment forms and fees: Complete the required amendments, providing accurate information and including all necessary signatures. Include the appropriate Illinois Articles of Amendment filing fee of  $50, which may vary depending on your state and business entity type.
  4. Keep track of processing times: Depending on your state and filing method, the processing time for your Amendment may vary. Monitor your filing status and be prepared to address any questions or concerns from the state agency.
  5. Obtain a confirmation or updated registration documents: Once your  Articles of Amendment has been processed and approved, you should receive a confirmation or updated registration documents reflecting the new business name. Keep these documents for your records and update any other relevant materials.

By diligently following these steps and adhering to your state’s requirements, you can successfully file the Illinois Articles of Amendment and transition to your new business name. Remember to update all related licenses, permits, and registrations to maintain compliance and prevent confusion.

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Step 4: Update the New Business Name

Once you have successfully filed the Illinois Articles of Amendment, updating the new business name in various areas is crucial to maintain compliance, prevent confusion, and ensure a seamless transition.

We’ve also compiled a list of the best business attorneys in Illinois to support you in changing and updating your business name. Please take a moment to explore their services!

But if you decided to update the new business name yourself, consider the following updates that you need to do:

  • Legal documents: Update the Illinois statement of information, loan documents, active legal contracts, lease agreements, and any other relevant legal documents with your new business name.
  • City/local registration: If your city or local authorities require business registration, update your new business name with the appropriate departments, such as the Illinois Department of Revenue, by submitting the necessary forms and fees.
  • Business Licenses: Contact the relevant departments to update your new name and obtain the necessary Illinois business licenses and permits for operating in Illinois.
  • Bank Accounts: Visit your bank or financial institution to update your business accounts, credit cards, and checks to reflect the new name, ensuring a smooth financial transition.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Amend your business name with the IRS by obtaining your EIN records or filing an updated STAX-1 – Certificate of Exemption to maintain compliance and prevent confusion.
  • Other updates: If you have employees, amend your records with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the employment development authority. Update any additional business permits, insurance policies, and legal documents as needed.
  • Marketing materials: Update your website, signage, business cards, merchandise, social media profiles, email signatures, and other places where your business name is displayed to maintain a consistent brand identity.

Updating your business name across all relevant areas ensures a smooth transition and minimizes any potential issues arising from the name change. This comprehensive approach will help maintain your business’s credibility and reputation while adapting to the new name in Illinois.

Considerations When Changing a Business Name

  1. Customer Recognition: When changing your business name, it’s essential to consider its impact on your existing customers’ recognition of your brand. Ideally, the new name should maintain some connection to the old one to retain customer loyalty and familiarity.
  2. Trademarks and Domain Name Availability: Before settling on a new name, ensure it is available for trademark registration and a corresponding domain name is available for your online presence.
  3. Costs and Time Investment: Changing a business name involves various costs, such as legal fees and marketing expenses. The process can be time-consuming, from notifying customers and suppliers to updating documentation and signage.
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Impact: Changing your business name can impact your website’s SEO rankings. Building a strong online presence using your new name and updating all online content and backlinks will require extensive work.
  5. Notify Relevant Authorities: When changing your company’s name, ensure you notify the relevant local, state, and federal authorities, update your tax information, and obtain new business licenses and permits.

FAQs

What is the process for changing a business name in Illinois?
To change a business name in Illinois, the owner must file an amendment to their Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State.
Do I need to get a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) after changing my business name in Illinois?
Generally, no. As long as the ownership and structure of the business remains the same, the EIN will remain the same.
How long does it take for the Secretary of State to approve a name change in Illinois?
It typically takes the Secretary of State approximately 5-7 business days to process an amendment to Articles of Incorporation for a business name change.
What are the fees for changing a business name in Illinois?
The filing fee for an amendment to Articles of Incorporation for a business name change in Illinois is currently $200.
Can I reserve a new business name before changing my current business name in Illinois?
Yes, you can reserve a new name for a fee of $25, this will give the applicant 90 days to use that name.
Can anyone change the name of a company in Illinois?
No, only the person authorized to do so can file an amendment to change a business name within Illinois.
Can I change the name of my business at any time in Illinois?
Yes, though timing your name change in relation to your annual reports will be essential to avoid additional filing fees.
Do I need to notify my customers and clients of my business name change in Illinois?
Yes, it is recommended to notify all customers, vendors, suppliers, and contacts and stakeholders.
Can I change my business name online in Illinois?
Yes, the process of changing a business name can be completed online through the Illinois Secretary of State website.
What information do I need to provide when submitting an amendment to my Articles of Incorporation in Illinois?
To change a business name within Illinois, you will need to submit the appropriate form signed by the appropriate parties, and in compliance with what the amendment guidelines outline.
Will changing my business name affect existing contracts or agreements in Illinois?
It is possible that a change in business name could impact existing contracts or agreements, check terms and rename accordingly.
Am I permitted to change my LLC name in Illinois the same as my Chicago D/B/A Name?
Most limited liability corporations file a Doing Business As (DBA) name that matches the legal LLC name to avoid any issues with registering the company’s name in Illinois.
Must I register my trade name with the Illinois Secretary of State?
If you intend to operate your business under a name other than the name in which it was incorporated, regulations include the requirement that you register a tradename through a DBA business application form.
Can I change my business name in Illinois for any reason?
Yes, the circumstance can be small details or brand enhancements as well.
Can a non-typical corporation change its name?
Non-typical or foreign corporations registered ahead of Illinois must first qualify before they are allowed to file name change documents.
After changing my company’s name formally, is continued use of the previous name legal give I had been crediting it for some time?
Once legal filing is complete and accepted, the prior name cannot be legally used.
Can I still keep the same website with my old business name after I change my business name?
Yes, although a redirect from the old name to the new URL should be put into effect.
Can an individual request multiple alternative name changes for his company at the same time in Illinois?
No, one must change their Illinois business name one process at a time.
Is a new business license required after a company changes its name for Illinois-based businesses?
No, the town where you conduct business may require a registered operating license; however, a renewed county business license would then not be necessary.
After my business name changes, should real estate, titles, and mortgage papers get amended?
Yes, any titles, deeds, or liens secured with your previous name must be filed accordingly.
Is peace after official name change always guaranteed?
There’s no assurance this step will resolve all problems whatever within person-to-person affecting the prior outdated name.
What if the amendment request form is rejected in Illinois?
The state agent identity that investigated the matter could authorize you to submit updated edits after the first copy failed.
Is a state-level tax levy subject to legal name change?
As State tax debt is a statewide obligation, changing your Illinois business’ name should have no direct correlation.
Can business owners include descriptors in the updated company name in Illinois?
Yes, there is a category of placeholder’s permitting qualification lines such as LLC or the Inc. around coined phrases.
What organization us responsible for receiving a name amendment application in Illinois?
The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office oversees all name amendment proposal filtering on each account holder in Illinois or those doing business therein.
Are attorney’s fees factored into the submission for form CCPA5.5 in Illinois?
No, attorney involvement is not factored into calculating government fees except as expressly allowed by Illinois state law.
Does obtaining different business insurance present new concerns after a name change?
Businesses that formally reported business losses or unexpected damages in their previous business name should adopt the necessary update notifications to see if their coverage will continuously reflect building damage existence.
Can your carrier constrict the amount of aid acquired from filing papers for name change?
No, common drivers’ licenses and active insurance practices must follow statute formally because intra-state documentation may sometimes suffer potential transcription challenges.
Do new sign stickers, tags identifying offices or retail therin need updated stickers on or resule-posturing to showcase accurate information?
Illinois business administration codes technically recommend remaking or removing all location-based device branding respective in review of valid orders commissioned for company pre-positioning.
What is the process to change a business name in Illinois?
The process involves filing a Certificate of Amendment with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.
Is there a fee to change a business name in Illinois?
Yes, there is a $50 fee for filing the Certificate of Amendment.
Can the new business name be the same as another registered business name in Illinois?
No, the new business name should not be the same or similar to another registered business name in Illinois.
How can I check if my desired business name is available in Illinois?
You can check the availability of your desired business name through the Illinois Secretary of State’s website.
Can I change my business name while keeping the same tax identification number?
Yes, you can keep the same tax identification number while changing your business name.
How long does it take to change a business name in Illinois?
Processing times may vary, but generally, it takes between five to seven business days for the Certificate of Amendment to be processed.
Is there anything else that needs to be changed besides the business name?
You will need to update any legal documents, contracts, permits, licenses, and bank accounts with your new business name after changing it.
Do I need to inform any state agencies or local governments about the name change?
It would be a good idea to inform relevant governmental agencies, such as your county or city government, about the name change.
Once I file the Certificate of Amendment, can I immediately start using the new business name?
You can start using the new business name once the Certificate of Amendment has been filed and processed.
Can I change my business name while it is in the process of dissolution?
Yes, you can change your business name while it is in the process of dissolution.
How would changing my business name affect my credit score?
Changing your business name should not affect your credit score.
Would I need to notify the Internal Revenue Service about the name change?
You should inform the Internal Revenue Service about the name change by contacting their Business and Specialty Tax Line.
Should I trademark my new business name after changing it?
Yes, it may be a good idea to trademark your new business name to protect it and prevent others from using it.
Can I change my business name and the type of business entity at the same time?
Yes, you can change your business name and the type of business entity at the same time, but it would require filing additional paperwork.
Should I update my website with the new business name immediately after the name change?
Updating your website with the new business name as soon as possible would be a good idea to prevent confusion to your customers and clients.
Can I change a business name more than once in Illinois?
Yes, you can change your business name more than once in Illinois.
Do I need to submit any documents besides the Certificate of Amendment to change my business name in Illinois?
Depending on your business structure, you may need to submit additional forms along with the Certificate of Amendment.
Would I have to adjust my insurance policies for my business after a name change?
Yes, you would need to update your insurance policies to reflect your new business name.
Do I need to publish a notice of the name change in the newspaper?
There is no requirement to publish a notice of the name change in the newspaper in Illinois.
Would I need to change the signage in my office or storefront with the new business name?
Yes, you would need to change any physical symbols, signage, or equipment with your new business name.
Would changing a business name affect or void any existing contracts?
No, changing a business name would not affect or void any existing contracts as long as the contract’s conditions and provisions remain the same.
If my business is a franchise, can I change the franchise’s name in Illinois?
You would need to consult with the franchisor or franchise agreement to change the name of the franchise.
Do I need to renew my business license after changing the name of my business?
Yes, you would need to renew your business license under the new name.
Can I use a name that was previously used by a dissolved business in Illinois?
No, you cannot use names of dissolved businesses, unless granted permission by the Illinois Secretary of State.
Are there any businesses that cannot change their names in Illinois?
Sole proprietors who want to incorporate cannot carry over their previous business name.
Can I change my business name to a name in another language?
Yes, you can change your business name to any name, including a name in another language, as long as it complies with relevant laws, rules, and regulations.
Can changing my business name affect my customer’s warranty and return policies?
No, changing your business name should not affect customer warranties and return policies as long as all terms remain the same.
Can businesses that are not based in Illinois change their name in Illinois?
No, only Illinois-based businesses can change their name in Illinois.
Would I need to file for a new license or register with the Illinois Department of Revenue after the business name change?
It depends on your business structure and particulars, but you may need to file additional forms or applications after changing the business name.

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Conclusion

Changing your business name in Illinois is a significant decision that requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the steps outlined in this guide and diligently updating your business name across all relevant areas, you can ensure a seamless transition while maintaining compliance with state regulations and preserving your brand’s reputation.

We invite you to visit LLCBase for more helpful resources and guidance on navigating the complexities of running a successful business in Illinois. Let’s make your business an enduring success story in Illinois!

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