As a business owner, can I change limited company name and if so, how can I go about it? Don’t worry, the good news is that private limited companies can change their name, at any time they so choose.
Companies House are a body that look after company formation procedures. They also look after the UK public register. This contains the basic details about all UK limited companies. When some official details of a UK company change the register needs updating. This includes the company name, and therefore when this happens, the business needs to inform Companies House of the change.
Therefore, when your company’s name changes, there is a form to file with Companies House. You can file this either online or through the normal postal system. Notably, many contractors and small business owners will let their accountant make the business name change, on their behalf.
As a contractor or small business owner, besides choosing a registered office when you set your company up you will also need to choose a company name. At some point in the future while running your own UK company, you may decide that the time has come when you would like to change limited company name. This could be for one reason or another. It could be that you feel that the name is no longer appropriate for your current line of work. Alternatively, you may also feel that the current business name is no longer suitable for the type of professional services that you are now offering.
We have many other guides that help you navigate Companies House and how to report and make certain changes. We have covered in our articles:
Change company name -check if the name is available
Before you apply to change business name, you will need to check that you can obtain your new name. By this we mean you need to check that it is not already in use by another company. If the name is not available and you apply for this, Companies House will reject your request. Furthermore, Companies House may also reject this if the name is very similar to that of another company already in existence.
Pin addition, your company will need to have the required permission to be able to include a sensitive word or words and expressions. These words include ‘international’ or ‘bank’ or `certified.’
How to change your limited company’s name -the process
The process when you change limited company name is fairly simple. You need to complete form NM01 -notice of change of name by resolution. You need to file the NM01 form with Companies House. You can file the form online or by sending the completed form through the post.
We have a separate guide covering choosing a name for your company. This will be relevant when you are forming your company for the first time.
How much does it cost and how long does it take to change the name
When changing the business name you can submit a paper form to Companies House. The fee is £10, or £50 for a `same day service.’ You can send the form and payment to the address on the form.
Alternatively, you can file the form with Companies House online via their WebFiling service. The fee is £8, or £30 for a `same day service.’ If you use the £8 service, the change will happen within a couple of days, once it is approved by Companies house.
Most contractors and small businesses will use the online service when making the change.
How to change company name -completing the forms
The Companies Act 2006 (sections 77-79) allow a company to change its name by:
- passing a special resolution of the members, or
- by other means provided for in the articles of association
The special resolution can be passed at a board meeting. If you are a contractor with your own company, you can hold a director’s general meeting and the shareholders can sign a written special resolution. There could also be another method defined in your Articles of Association.
Once you pass the resolution, you can submit the NM01 form with the correct fee to Companies House. They will process the name change within two or three working days.
If you are to change the business name via the second method above, as defined in your company’s Articles of Association (this is not likely for a contractor), you can use form NM04 to do this.
Once you have sent the change of name form through the post or filed online and Companies House have processed the change, they will issue a Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name.
Other things to do
Once the name is changed, you also will need to:
- Update the company statutory registers -if your accountant looks after these, they will do this for you.
- Advise your company’s bankers so that they can update your bank account or accounts.
- Update your company’s insurance company so they can update your policy.
- Let any clients and contacts know.
- Update your business website and any social media. If you have a business e-mail address set up that contains your company’s name, you will also need to look into updating this too.
Once you receive approval of the change in name, you can then inform all relevant contacts and third parties.
First, you can inform your business bankers, insurance company and any professional organisations that your company is a member of.
You will also need to advise the VAT, PAYE/NIC, and Corporation Tax offices. In many cases, contractors rely on their contractor accountant to make the changes with the tax authorities.
The next step is to tell any clients or contacts. Finally, you can update any online profiles such as social media and your own business website, if you have one.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on