Consultant’s Corner: Business Name and Domain Name Change
Question: What is the best way to transition from our existing domain/company name to a new one?
There are several things to consider when transitioning from one company and domain name to another.
Business Name Change
A business that changes its name can notify the IRS of the name change by following the procedures described at the IRS website below. Provided the name change does not require the business to obtain a new Federal Tax ID number (TIN), also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number or EIN, the IRS will change the business name assigned to the business’ EIN.
It is important to understand that obtaining an EIN from the IRS for a business does not legally establish a business, register the business’ name, or impart any protection for the commercial use of the name. Registering a business entity (i.e., corporation, LLC, etc) name occurs at the State level. Protecting a business name for commercial purposes typically requires registering a federal or state trademark for the name.
In terms of changing your business name with the State, changing a business entity name involves filing paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office. You will also need to confirm that the new name you have selected is available for registration as well as commercial purposes. Registering a business name with the state or county (where applicable) gives only limited protection and does not guarantee the availability of the name for commercial purposes. Also, first use, grandfather, trademark, and other laws can affect the legal use of a name and potential infringement issues.
Changing a business name is a costly and disruptive process, especially for established businesses, so it is not customary for businesses to change their names unless there is compelling reason to do so. The following are additional discussions you may find helpful in understanding the considerations when changing a business name:
Domain Name Change
During the name change process, it is wise to ensure that a domain name matching your new business name is available, as your website will be a primary way that your prospects and customers will learn about you. If you have already made this change and a domain that matches your business name it is not available, you will either have to put in an offer to purchase the domain from the current owner or consider a different domain.
You can purchase a new domain through your current domain registrar or we would recommend purchasing your domain from GoDaddy.com, as they are a reliable company that has great value pricing and user friendly services. You can search on GoDaddy.com for available domain names.