Have you wondered if a Nonprofit can change names?

Yes.  In fact, every year, hundreds of nonprofit organizations in California change their name. They do so for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The name is easily confused with another
  • The name no longer being relevant to the charity
  • The name is too generic or nondescript, and
  • The name containing outdated or insensitive terms

If you believe it’s time to change your charity’s name, you’ll need to file paperwork with both the California Secretary of State as well as the IRS. Altering your name without filing the necessary paperwork could lead to fines or even the loss of your tax-exempt status.

California Secretary of State Name Change Paperwork

The California Secretary of State requires charitable organizations that want to alter their name to file a Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation. In this document, you will need to provide information such as:

  • The old name of your nonprofit
  • The new name of your nonprofit, and
  • Your Secretary of State entity number

You will also need to confirm that the board of directors has approved the name change.

The fee to file a Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation is currently $30.

IRS Name Change Paperwork

Nonprofits that alter their name are usually required to report the change to the IRS on their next annual return. For most organizations, that’s Form 990 or Form 990-EZ.

Charities that do not file an annual return can report name changes to the IRS by mailing a letter to Customer Account Services at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service

Exempt Organizations Determinations

Room 6403

P.O. Box 2508

Cincinnati, OH 45201

This letter must contain the following information:

  • The old name of the nonprofit
  • The new name of the nonprofit, and
  • The nonprofit’s Employer Identification Number

The letter must also be signed by an authorized individual – generally the charity’s president.

Changing Your Charity’s Name – Other Considerations

When changing the name of your nonprofit organization, the IRS and the California Secretary of State are unlikely to be the only parties you need to contact. You may also need to notify:

  • The California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts
  • The California Franchise Tax Board
  • Your city or county government, or
  • Your financial institutions

It is also a good idea to speak to your California charity lawyer to see if you need to amend your contracts with your vendors or clients.

Your attorney will also be able to let you know if your name change will have any impact on your organization’s trademarks. If it will, they’ll help you identify strategies for resolving the issue.

Your Knowledgeable San Diego Nonprofit Attorney 

Do you need a trusted California charity lawyer to guide you through the process of altering your nonprofit’s name? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Semanchik Law Group. We understand how the process works, and we are ready to assist you in any way we can!

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, all you need to do is send us a message online or give us a call at (619) 535-1811. We look forward to hearing from you!