Learn how to look up an LLC in Texas with a Texas business name search on the Texas Comptroller’s website.
Texas LLC Name Search (Steps)
To look up an LLC in the state of Texas, you can follow these steps:
- Go to the Texas Taxable Entity Search at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/.
- Click on the “Business & Filings” tab in the top menu.
- Select “Search Business Filings” from the dropdown menu.
- Choose “Search by Name” or “Search by File Number” to enter the LLC’s name or file number.
- Enter the LLC’s name or file number in the search field and click “Search.”
- The search results will display the LLC’s name, status, and registered agent information.
Note that the search results will only show LLCs that are registered with the Texas Secretary of State. If the LLC is not registered or has not filed its required paperwork, it may not appear in the search results.
What is a Texas Business Entity?
A Texas business entity refers to an organization that is formed and registered to conduct business in the state of Texas. As with other states, Texas recognizes several different types of business entities, each with its own set of rules, regulations, tax obligations, and liability structures.
These entities are governed by Texas state law and must be registered with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Here are some common types of business entities in Texas:
- Sole Proprietorship: This is a business owned by a single individual. It’s the simplest form of business entity, but the owner is personally liable for all business debts and obligations.
- Partnership: This includes general partnerships (GP), limited partnerships (LP), and limited liability partnerships (LLP). The liability and management structure differs between each type of partnership.
- Corporation: This is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. Corporations provide liability protection to its owners and can be either a for-profit corporation (like a C corporation or S corporation) or a nonprofit corporation.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a hybrid structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.
- Professional entities: These include professional associations (PA), professional corporations (PC), professional limited liability companies (PLLC), and other entities designed for licensed professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.
Texas Secretary of State Business Name Search
To form a business entity in Texas, you typically need to file the appropriate formation documents (like Articles of Incorporation for corporations or Certificate of Formation for LLCs) with the Texas Secretary of State and pay any associated filing fees.
Can I Reserve a Business Name Online?
Yes. You can file a name reservation through the Texas Secretary of State’s SOSDirect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Texas Name Filings FAQs
Search Business Names in Texas (Texas LLC Lookup Guide)
|Texas Name LLC Search – Texas Comptroller Website
Choose a name for your business entity
Your business’s brand name will be part of its identity. It doesn’t make a difference if the business is an LLC/corporation, but a memorable name is what people will associate you with. Also, make sure your name is catchy and memorable.
How to find a great business name
It’s not hard to understand that you need a business name. The process of coming up with a name is quite different. This is where you should sit down and consider different naming options.
This is the most effective way to achieve this goal, though it will likely take some time.
Texas Naming Guidelines
1. Texas’s rules regarding business names
Before you pick a name for your business, read the Texas business naming rules. These rules are quite strict, and it is crucial to review them before making a list. Your Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State (SOS), can be denied if your proposed name does not conform to these rules.
Texas has many rules for business naming. You can find them on the website Secretary of State. The following requirements must be met in general
- The business entity name must stand out from other names.
- The name does not have to imply affiliation with a government agency.
- The name cannot mean it will engage in illegal acts.
- If the name is to be used in a prohibited manner, such words as “university,” “bank”, or “bank”, it must comply with certain conditions.
- Names can not be grossly offensive.
A complete list can be found in Title I, Part 4 – Chapter 1979 – Subchapter C (“Entity Names”) of the Texas Administrative Code.
2. Perform a Texas business entity search
Search Texas businesses: Search for LLC or corporation names. Texas has an easy way for you to do it on their website.
How to conduct a corporation lookup or LLC lookup
Texas LLC Name Search Link https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/
To perform a Texas business name lookup, you must first go to the Texas Comptroller’s Website. Search for “taxable entity lookup” on the website. It will take you to the search engine that allows you to search for all taxable entities throughout Texas. This tool will help you determine if your desired business name is available.
This tool is free, and you don’t even need an account. Just enter your potential name into the “EntityName” box. This will let you see if there is an existing business that uses your name.
SOS Texas business search
Check name availability. SOS is another option. TX has limited business search options. If you want extra assurance that your potential company name is available even though the search tool indicates it, contact the SOS via phone at (512), 463-5555.
Search business names. These are the two most effective ways to search Texas for businesses. Websites of the Secretary of State and agencies from other states (depending on which state they are) provide a business search tool. You might also want to explore other states.
3. Choose a domain
Next, pick a domain name closely matching your Texas business. You can now get a domain by performing a corporation/LLC lookup. It’s not necessary to have a domain address unless you intend to establish an online business. It doesn’t matter what; now is the time for domain names.
What is a “domain name”?
A domain’s “name” is what a website is called. When searching for a domain, ensure it matches your business’s name.
Why should a domain be registered?
A domain name can be a great marketing tool. You can reach people beyond your brick-and-mortar location with a domain name. You can also promote your business through social media along with your website.
Why should I acquire a domain immediately and not later on?
It would be a huge hassle if your chosen business name was not available for registration and you later needed a website. It is possible to avoid this by agreeing on a domain now, so you can pick one that closely matches what your business stands for.
You can change your business name to another one if the domain isn’t already registered.
4. Texas Business Name Reservation
The last step is registering Texas business names with the Secretary of state. File Form 501 General Information (Application of Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of Entity Name) This form allows you to reserve a business name for a corporation, LLC, or other entity.
Fill out Form 501
The Instructions for Filling Form 501 Included are some helpful tips. The information section is short. The following information must be included:
- Name of the entity to be reserved
- Which type of entity do you want to form? LLC, corporation, etc.
- Your name and address
- Your signature
Your name will be held for 120 consecutive days.
Texas: You can get an assumed surname
Business entity. In addition to a business name, you can also obtain an assumed name. While your company name can be used to do business, an assumed or “doing Business as Name” name will allow you to use a different name.
Texas Business Tips
Once you’ve confirmed name availability, you can proceed with the formation process and get your Texas business name registered.
Drafting a Texas LLC operating agreement is highly recommended to establish the internal rules and regulations of your LLC. You have the option to act as your own registered agent in Texas, handling the receipt of important legal and tax documents on behalf of your LLC.
The length of time to get an LLC in Texas may vary based on several factors, including the filing method and the workload of the Texas Secretary of State. It typically takes around 2-3 weeks for the formation documents to be processed and the LLC to be officially recognized.
As part of the process, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your TExas business from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This unique identifier is necessary for tax purposes, opening bank accounts, and hiring employees.
Several online platforms and registered agents offer comprehensive LLC services, including name availability searches, document preparation, and filing assistance. Researching and selecting the best LLC services and registered agents in Texas can help streamline the formation process and ensure compliance with state regulations.
Additionally, depending on the nature of your business activities, you may need to acquire specific Texas business licenses at the state or local level. The cost to form an LLC in Texas typically includes filing fees and any additional expenses related to name reservation, certified copies, or expedited processing. The cost is the same even for a single-member LLC in Texas.
Lastly, if you ever decide to change your registered agent or dissolve and close your LLC in Texas, there are specific legal requirements and procedures that must be followed to formally terminate the entity.
Additional Steps and Considerations
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Texas Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Texas will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Texas
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get an assumed name?
To register an assumed surname, you must file Form 503 General Information (Assumed Name Certificate) with the Secretary of State. This form can be found at the SOS’s website.
Why would I need an assumed identity?
An assumed name may be used if your current business name doesn’t reflect your new product launch. For opening a new shop, an assumed name can be used. Depending on the entity formed, there will be different reasons for an assumed name.
Can I renew the Texas business name reservation for my company?
Yes. It is possible to renew your business name reservation. Form 501 can be filed within the 30-day time period prior to the expiration of the reservation.
What is the best way to change my Texas business’s name?
For your business to change its name, you must file Form 424 – General Information – Certificate of Amendment with the Secretary. Be aware that the name you would like to change cannot already be used in another business. You will need to search for another LLC name or corporation. The state of Texas has a few options for doing this.
Can I change the business name online?
Yes. You can submit Form 424, online through the SOSDirect section of the Secretary o State’s website.
What business types are required to file an Assumed Name Certificate?
If you’re planning on doing business under an assumed identity, then the following entities should file an assumed names certificate:
- LLCs, including professional limited liability company (PLLC),
- Corporations (nonprofits, for-profits, and professionals)
- Limited liability partnerships (“LLPs”)
- Limited Partnerships (LPs).
- Professional associations
- Foreign filing entities
Can I name my LLC after myself?
Yes, your LLC can be named after you. However, this should be considered from a professional marketing and professional standpoint. Are you able to generate interest in the brand with your name? Is it catchy? If you want to do business as someone else, you can always get an assumed title.
How can I find an LLC in Texas?
Using the Texas database search, you can search for the business name, business entity number, or executive name. For a business entity to exist, all this information must be registered with the state.
How do I confirm that a Texas company is registered?
You can search for the company’s name, entity number, or executive name by searching the state. You can search by the name, entity number, or executive name if you don’t find it in Texas.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org