How to change a company name after incorporation?

After incorporation, you can change the name of your company at any time. This can be done either by having the members pass a special resolution or by the director resolving to do so. 

First, you should check the articles to see which protocol is required. After choosing a new name for your company, you should apply to Companies House and wait for the approval before using it. You will have to submit supporting documents if it contains any sensitive word of expressions. 

You need to go through the official name-change procedure even if you are simply correcting a spelling error or changing a symbol or punctuation mark. 

 

Change of a company name by members


If you are willing to change a company name by special resolution, you will require 75% majority vote of the members. The resolution can be passed at a general meeting, but it can also be passed as a written resolution. If there are any Shareholder Agreements in place, these too should be checked for any special procedures. 

To identify whether a majority vote has been obtained, you should count the number of voting shares in favour of the change, instead of the number of shareholders who favour the change. It is because shareholders can hold multiple shares, each of which may carry one or more votes. 

When a resolution is passed, the directors of the company should provide written confirmation of the decision to each member. The resolution should be sent to organizations with Form NM01 within 15 days of being passed, electronically or by post.

 

Change of a company name by directors


If the directors are empowered to change the company name without consulting the shareholders and pass a board resolution to that effect, then they should complete the Form NM04 and send it with the appropriate fee to Companies House. This form must be filed by post and cannot be electronically executed.

 

When can you start using a new company name?

 

You cannot use a new company name until Companies House has approved it. They will inform you when this occurs and submit a ‘Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name’ as confirmation. Once you obtain this document, you can start using it.

 

Certificate of the name change


Companies House will issue a Change of Name Certificate of Incorporation to confirm the change and the effective date of the change. This should be kept for inspection purposes at your registered office or SAIL address (if applicable). The specifics of your initial business creation will remain the same (e.g. incorporation date, registration number, etc.). Therefore you should keep a copy of your original incorporation certificate. The latest one is not a replacement, it just confirms the change.

 

Change a company name on a business bank account


You will need to update your business bank accounts and financial arrangements if you change your company name. According to the law, the company is an entity, so the name on all contracts and agreements must match the one which is registered at Companies House and displayed on the public record.

You will need to request the relevant form from your bank and provide a copy of the certificate to change this information on your business bank account(s). You may be able to complete the changes online, but first, you must contact your bank to determine the correct procedure. 

 

Update company stationery and signage


When a change of company name has been approved, you can continue to use the old one on stationery, websites and signage for another 14 days.

Additional requirements:

  • Updating the title of bank account and company name with HMRC
  • Registering a new domain
  • Notifying members, suppliers, service providers, clients, and other business contacts
  • Updating statutory records and registers
  • Making changes to visual and audio advertisements

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