08 Nov Changing the name of a limited company-Your guide.
Changing the name of a limited company is straight forward but there’s a lot to consider beforehand when choosing the name for your limited company.
There are a number of words and phrases that UK company law defines as ‘sensitive’ due to their potential to mislead, confuse or offend the general public. If your proposed company name change includes one of the sensitive words, there is a little more work involved in getting the name change approved.
There are no legal restrictions preventing the use of dissolved limited company names. If this is something you are considering, it’s advisable to carry out extensive research on the company that previously traded under the name you plan to use. This will help you to determine if there any negative associations attached to the name.
Before you complete the formal process of changing your company name, there are several tasks you will need complete:
- Before anything else, you should carry out a trade mark search using your new name. This is to make sure that the name hasn’t already been as a trade mark by somebody else.
- Check at Companies House to ensure the proposed name isn’t already in use. You will also want to check domain availability of your chosen name and that the domain name is available for purchase.
- Review your company’s articles of association to check what provisions are written to enable changing the company’s name. Check if it provides another way to change the company name other than using the special resolution procedure (section 78, CA 2006).
- On completing the above, gain a formal agreement to change your company name by passing a special resolution at a board meeting. Meeting minutes should also be prepared, circulated and retained for at least 10 years at the registered company office.
- Register the company’s new name with Companies House by completing Companies House form NM01 (Change a Company Name)
- When changing your company name, you must ensure that you properly update the company’s statutory registers. This is a legal requirement and failing to correct company registers may result in fines.
- You will need to notify HMRC of the company’s new name. You can report changes to your business directly to HMRC by following the guidance on the Gov.uk website – https://www.gov.uk/tell-hmrc-changed-business-details.
- Your bank will need to be informed of any changes to your company name (or any other details).
- Notify your customers. This is an important step and it’s advisable to let them know of the change before it happens.
- Notify your suppliers. Suppliers must also know they are still working with the same company under a new name.
- Notify your employees It’s important that they’re aware of any changes before they’re implemented to avoid any uncertainty or worry of change amongst the team.
- Notify your insurers to ensure your policy is up to date. Failing to notify your insurer may invalidate your policy should you need to make a claim.
- If you have Hire Purchase agreements or any similar finance creditors, it’s important to update your company name with these companies. This will ensure that any loans and agreements are up to date.
- If you have an existing website in place, you will need to consider transferring or redirecting the website to the new domain name, whilst making any necessary changes to the website such as the company’s legal information.
- When Changing the name of a limited company this will most likely impact your emails too, so you will need to make sure that these are transferred to your new domain if necessary.
- When you change your company name it’s important to let the local councils and authorities know too so that their records can be updated.
- With a new company name, you will need a new and updated set of memorandum & articles of association.
- Make any changes to your printed business stationery and marketing materials.
- Update your Xero software with the change of company name (and any other software)
- Announce the name change across the company’s social media platforms and any other marketing audiences.