How to Change a Business Name in Maryland 2024: Ultimate Guide

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How to Change a Business Name in Maryland

Welcome to our all-in-one guide on renaming your business in Maryland (also known as The Old Line 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 Maryland. We’ll cover everything from selecting a new name to updating crucial documents and registrations, ensuring your Maryland 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 Maryland!

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 Maryland. 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 Maryland Secretary of State to access the Maryland Business Express, 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 Maryland. The Maryland DBA filing method can be done through three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing., which may include For online filing, check the Maryland Business Express Website. There, look for the “Fictitious 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 Charter Division, Department of Assessments and Taxation, 301 W. Preston Street, Room 801, Baltimore, MD 21201 options.
  3. Depending on the chosen filing method, you may need to submit a DBA application form and pay the associated $25 Filing Fee and $50 Expedited Fee. This fee may vary depending on your state and filing method.
  4. After successfully filing your DBA, keep track of the five years, 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 Maryland 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.

We have curated a list of the best LLC services in Maryland to assist you with changing your business name. Feel free to browse their offerings!

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Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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.
  • Maryland Articles of Amendment filing fee: Include the appropriate filing fee of $100 in Maryland. This fee may vary depending on the state and the type of business entity.

Just like the first process of starting a business in Maryland, 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 Maryland.

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Step 3: File the Maryland Articles of Amendment

After thoroughly preparing and reviewing all the necessary documents, proceed to file the Maryland Articles of Amendment for your Maryland 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 Maryland Articles of Amendment filing fee of  $100, 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, by submitting the necessary forms and fees.
  • Business Licenses: Contact the relevant departments to update your new name and obtain the necessary Maryland business licenses and permits for operating in Maryland.
  • 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 SUTEC 2022 Form to maintain compliance and prevent confusion.
  • Other updates: If you have employees, amend your records with the Maryland Department of Labor 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 Maryland.

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

Where can I find information on how to change my business name in Maryland?
The Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation website has all the information you need on how to change your business name in Maryland.
What forms do I need to fill out to change my business name in Maryland?
You will need to file a Form 1 Application for Reservation or Renewal of Name, as well as a Form 4/1 Articles of Amendment.
How much does it cost to change a business name in Maryland?
The filing fee for changing a business name in Maryland is $100.
Do I need to register my new business name with the state of Maryland?
Yes, you will need to file an Articles of Amendment with the state of Maryland to officially register your new business name.
Can I change the name of my LLC in Maryland?
Yes, you can change the name of your limited liability company (LLC) in Maryland.
Can I change the name of my corporation in Maryland?
Yes, you can change the name of your corporation in Maryland.
What if my business name change involves changing my business structure?
If you change your business name while changing your business structure, you will need to file additional forms reflecting the change in structure.
How long does it take for my new business name to be approved in Maryland?
It typically takes 7-10 business days for a business name change to be processed and approved in Maryland.
Can I expedite the process of changing my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you can expedite the processing of your business name change for an additional fee of $50.
How will I be notified of my approved business name change in Maryland?
You will receive an email notification from the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation once your business name change has been approved.
Do I need to notify any other agencies of my business name change in Maryland?
Yes, you will need to notify the IRS, your bank, and any other relevant agencies of your business name change.
Can two businesses in Maryland have the same name?
No, two businesses in Maryland cannot have the same name.
Can I put a hold on a potential name change in Maryland?
Yes, you can put a hold on a potential business name in Maryland for up to 60 days by filing a Form 1 Application for Registration or Renewal of Name.
Can I change my business name in Maryland even if I have outstanding debts or liabilities?
Yes, you can change your business name in Maryland even if you have outstanding debts or liabilities.
Can I change my business name in Maryland if my business is not in good standing?
No, your business must be in good standing to change its name in Maryland.
What will happen to my existing contracts if I change my business name in Maryland?
Your existing contracts will remain valid even after a business name change in Maryland.
Is a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) required after a business name change in Maryland?
No, you do not need a new EIN after changing your business name in Maryland.
Will I need to update my business licenses or permits after changing my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you will need to update your business licenses and permits after changing your business name in Maryland.
Can I change my business type or structure at the same time as changing my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you can change your business type or structure at the same time as changing your business name in Maryland.
Can I change my Registered Agent at the same time as changing my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you can change your Registered Agent at the same time as changing your business name in Maryland.
How often can I change my business name in Maryland?
There is no limit on the number of times you can change your business name in Maryland.
Can I change my business name online in Maryland?
Yes, you can change your business name online through the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation website.
How do I make sure my new business name isn’t already taken in Maryland?
You can check the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation website to see if your new business name is available.
What happens if I don’t follow the correct procedure for changing my business name in Maryland?
If you don’t follow the correct procedure for changing your business name in Maryland, your business will continue operating under its old name.
What is the timeline for completing the business name change process in Maryland?
The entire business name change process in Maryland typically takes 2-3 weeks.
What happens if I have more than one business name?
You must choose one name to be the official name of your business in Maryland.
Will I need to update my website and branding with a new name if I change my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you will need to update your branding and website with your new business name after changing your name in Maryland.
How can I expedite the filing of my business name change documents in Maryland?
You can pay an expedited fee to have your business name change documents processed more quickly in Maryland.
What is the process for changing a business name in Maryland?
The process for changing a business name in Maryland depends on the type of business entity.
Who can change a business name in Maryland?
The owners or managers of a business can change the business name in Maryland.
Why would a business need to change its name in Maryland?
A business may want to change its name in Maryland due to rebranding, legal name conflicts, or other personal reasons.
How long does it take to process a name change in Maryland?
It typically takes up to 60 days for the SDAT to process a name change request in Maryland.
Is a DBA required to change a business name in Maryland?
Not necessarily. A DBA (Doing Business As) may be necessary if you want to operate under a name different than your legal business name.
Can I change the legal structure of my business when changing the name in Maryland?
Yes, you can change the legal structure of your business when changing the name, but you will need to follow the proper procedures for the new entity.
Do I need to file for a new EIN number for my business when changing the name in Maryland?
No, you do not need to file for a new EIN (Employer Identification Number) when changing the business name in Maryland.
Do I need to renew my business license after changing the name in Maryland?
Yes, you will need to renew your business license or apply for a new one after changing your business name in Maryland.
Can I change just a part of my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you can change part of your business name in Maryland as long as the new name does not create confusion with other registered names or trademarks.
Can a Maryland corporation change its corporate name to match a DBA?
Yes, a Maryland corporation can change its name to match its DBA if it is available and not already in use by another entity.
Can I check name availability before changing my name in Maryland?
Yes, you can search for name availability using the SDAT’s online database.
Can I reserve a new business name before officially changing my name in Maryland?
Yes, you can reserve a business name with the SDAT by submitting an application and paying a fee.
If I change my business name in Maryland, does that affect my existing contracts or agreements?
It depends on the specific terms and conditions of your contracts and agreements. You may need to update them to reflect the new business name.
What happens to my existing business bank accounts when I change my name in Maryland?
You will need to update your bank accounts with the new business name and provide the necessary documentation to make the change.
Do I need to notify Maryland tax authorities when changing my business name in Maryland?
Yes, you will need to update your tax information with the new business name.
Can I trademark my new business name in Maryland?
Yes, you can apply for a trademark for your new business name in Maryland.
Can I still use my old business name for marketing materials after changing my name in Maryland?
It depends on the specific circumstances, but generally, it is advisable to avoid confusion and strictly use the new business name moving forward.
What happens if another business has a similar name after I’ve changed my business name in Maryland?
You may need to consult with an attorney and determine if there is a trademark or naming conflict that needs to be resolved.
Am I required to put a notice of my business name change in a newspaper in Maryland?
It depends on the specific legal requirements for your particular type of business entity.
Can I change my business name as part of a merger or acquisition in Maryland?
Yes, changing the business name may be part of a merger or acquisition process in Maryland.
Can I change my LLC’s name by amending the operating agreement in Maryland?
No, changing the LLC’s name in Maryland requires filing articles of amendment.
Can I change my limited partnership’s name in Maryland by filing a certificate of merger?
Yes, changing the limited partnership’s name may be part of a certificate of merger filing in Maryland.
Are there any exceptions to the name change process for non-profit organizations in Maryland?
Yes, non-profit organizations may be subject to additional requirements and approval processes when changing the name in Maryland.
Can I change my business name multiple times in Maryland?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of times you can change the business name in Maryland.
Do I need to change my domain name when changing my business name in Maryland?
It may be advisable to do so, but it is not a legal requirement in Maryland.

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Conclusion

Changing your business name in Maryland 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 Maryland. Let’s make your business an enduring success story in Maryland!

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