In order to incorporate your business you will have had to choose a name for your private limited company. However, it is not unusual for businesses to define or rebrand their business and feel that their name no longer suits their new identity. In this article we discuss how you can give your business a new company name if you want to formerly adopt a change of name.
How to choose a new company name
When deciding upon your new company name the same rules apply as they did when you were choosing your original company name upon incorporation. This means that you will need to ensure that your proposed new name does not infringe any registered trademarks; is not too similar to another company’s name, and; does not contain any sensitive words (such as those contained in the Company, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 SI 2009/3140).
Note that if you are simply changing the type of company, for example from a private company to a public company, you do not need to formally change the name to exclude ‘Ltd’ and include ‘plc’ as this is resolved through re-registering.
Similarly, you can choose call your company something different to that which is its registered name but your registered name must be used on all documents, websites (excluding the domain name) and signs that relate to your company.
How to change your company name
A change of company name is a relatively easy process as your company remains identifiable via its company number that it received upon company registration with Companies House.
Before you change your company name, you will need to ensure that your company has either passed a special resolution at a general meeting or that the articles of association (the company’s articles) allow for such changes.
Once you have received and checked the required consents and decided upon your new company name you will need to check that you company name is available. If this is the case, you can begin your application to change the name of your company.
To apply to change your name, you can either register online or by post.
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Change your name online
You can change your name using the Companies House online service if it was initiated by passing a special resolution. This process costs £8 or £30 if you require a same day service.
Change your name by post
You will need to change your name by post if your permission came from the articles of association. In this instance you will need to fill out a form NM04.
You can also change your name by post if your permission came from special resolution but the online option is likely quicker and more convenient. In this case you will need to download and fill in form NM01.
In order to change your name via post you will need to send your form along with a cheque of £10.
Change your name with an agent
You can also change your name by using a company formation agent like Companies MadeSimple who will offer you a name change service.
Once your name has been changed you will receive a certificate of incorporation on change of name. It is important to note that the name of the company will not officially change until it is has been registered at Companies House.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.