There are a number of reasons why you might want to change a company name, from needing a fresh start, right through to preference. Fortunately, when registered in the United Kingdom with the HMRC, changing your company name is certainly possible and we’ll be exploring the details relating to the process and more below.
Can I change my company name in the UK?
Yes, in fact, many companies do this via the HMRC. All you’ll need to do is follow the instructions on the HMRC website, fill in a form (more information on this will be provided below), and then submit the application for a small fee. As you might expect, there are limitations regarding changing a company’s name and more information can be found via Companies House.
Generally speaking, if a company name is available, the application can be made and if all is clear, the name will be switched over with minimal fuss, especially if you have a team of experts like ours at Workhy that can assist and guide you every step of the way.
Things to consider when changing your company name in the UK
There is a multitude of things to think about before changing your company name, some of them professional and others personal. Here are a few of the most prominent:
1. Do you really need to change your company name?
This is possibly the most important question to ask yourself. If your company already exists, it will undoubtedly have an online presence and by changing the name of your company, you could lose all of the progress, including search engine optimisation, website authority, reputation, and more.
2. Is it a preference or requirement?
If you’d prefer to change your company’s name simply because you can, or because you feel like an update, this falls into the personal category. If you need to by law, if your reputation has been damaged and you want a fresh start, or if you’re required to because of a change in management – this is a professional need. Think carefully about why and don’t jump in head first without proper consideration.
3. What will be the reward?
Perhaps you’re merging with another brand, upgrading, or simply want to expand your reach with a bolder, more prominent name. If this is the case, try to think about if the rewards will outweigh the risks. If they do, then changing the name could be a good option. If you have partners, it’s always worth getting their opinion.
4. Who is involved?
Is your company owned by you, or is it a partnership? Whoever is involved at both director and employee levels, everyone will be affected by the name change. Be sure to consider what this change might mean before deciding to avoid any confusion or upset.
5. Will you need to rebrand?
From stationary and calendars, right through to your website and more – changing your business name will take a toll on everything that you’ve done so far. The longer your business has been established, the harder this transition period might be.
6. How to change a company name
As briefly mentioned earlier, changing a company name isn’t overtly challenging, you’ll just need to keep the HMRC and Companies House aware of your intentions. The form that you’ll require is known by the code NM01 and although it’s available through the HMRC, it was created by Companies House and they will be the official body that deals with it.
The form can be downloaded directly and then filled in and sent in paper form, or submitted online (which is typically much quicker and easier). In either case, Companies House will receive the application and then process it, cross-checking the availability of names and ensuring that everything is above board.
After this process has been completed, the form’s details must be provided to the HMRC (which Companies House will do) and then they will update their database with the new name of the company and all relevant information pertaining to the change. Once this update takes effect, you’ll be able to operate under the new name officially.
How long does it take to change a company name in the UK?
According to the advice provided by Companies House, the total duration for the company name to be modified, accepted, and then entered into their database is 3 days. During this 72-hour period, the entire process will be undertaken by the personnel at Companies House and they will usually notify the company owner or owners about the confirmation of the name change. However, this is dependent on the Companies House workload and may take longer.
How much does it cost to change a company name in the UK?
There are two main options involving costs when changing the name of your company. The first is the most common and costs £8, which corresponds with the previously mentioned turnaround time to rename the business. The expedited alternative costs £30, and this process ensures same-day turnaround (busy periods considered).
How to announce a company name change in the UK
There is one main process that is an obligation when changing the name of a company to a new one, and it relates to notifying HMRC. This can be done manually or with the help of an expert, but it will typically be done on your behalf by Companies House, which will contact HMRC and notify them of your company name change. Additionally, you can choose to announce the name change in publications such as newspapers. Many companies also take the opportunity to announce their name change in a more informal setting, with banners on their website and even discounts and special offers to celebrate.
Let Workhy help you with the needs of your company in the UK
At Workhy, our specialists are well-versed in a multitude of financial services and aids, from helping you establish your company online, wherever you might be located, all the way through to applying for VAT, handling tax returns, and much more. We pride ourselves on the high-quality services that we provide, and that’s why we are trusted by thousands of clients. Reach out to our professional team of experts today, and we’ll be sure to look after your every need.