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How to Apply for a Texas Business License (2024)

The State of Texas requires special business licenses for a variety of professions. Each trade and profession has its own rules for licensing, renewals, and maintaining certification. If your business requires a specific license, you will need to undergo the proper training, certification, and licensing for that industry.

Most Texas businesses also need a sales tax permit, and depending on your business, you may need local licenses or permits as well. Additionally, LLCs and corporations need to register with the Texas Secretary of State.

Table of Contents:
List of Texas Business Licenses
Registering Your Business in Texas
TX Sales Tax Permit
Local Business Licenses
TX Department of Licensing and Regulation Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

List of Texas Business Licenses

Registering Your Business in Texas

While not technically a licensing requirement, you may need to register your business with the state or county government. The process will depend on the structure of your business.

Texas Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships

Texas sole proprietors and general partnerships don’t need to register with the Secretary of State. However, if they want to do business under a name other than the legal name of the owner(s), they need to register an Assumed Name Certificate with the county clerk in each county where they do business. An assumed name is also called a DBA (“doing business as”) name.

For example, if Carla Gray, a sole proprietor, wants to do business in Houston using the name Carla’s Texas BBQ Sauce, she’d first need to file an Assumed Name Certificate with the Harris County Clerk. Each county has its own form for filing an Assumed Name Certificate, and there may be a small fee.

LLCs and Corporations

If you want to register your business as a legal entity, such as a Texas LLC or Texas corporation, you need to file a Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The fee for both LLCs and corporations is $300 by mail, $310 online.

LLCs and corporations provide limited liability protection to their owners, which means that if the business is sued or defaults on a debt, the owners will usually not be held personally liable. LLCs are a popular choice for small business owners due to their flexibility in how they can be organized and taxed.

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Texas Sales Tax Permit

The main statewide license that almost all Texas businesses need is the Texas sales tax permit, also called a seller’s permit. According to the Texas Comptroller website, you need a sales tax permit if you:

  • do business in Texas
  • sell or lease tangible property in Texas
  • sell taxable services in Texas

How to Apply for a Texas Sales Tax Permit

You can apply for a Texas sales tax permit online through the Comptroller’s online filing system, called eSystems.

Here is the information you’ll need in order to apply for a sales tax permit:

Note: If you’re the sole owner, partner, officer, or director of your business and don’t have a social security number, you won’t be able to apply for your sales tax permit online. Instead, complete the Application for Texas Sales Permit PDF form and submit it by email ([email protected]) or fax (512-936-0010).

Local Texas Business Licenses

Most cities and counties in Texas don’t have a general business license, but all will have licensing and permitting requirements for specific business types. For example, food service businesses typically need a permit from the local health department. If you work out of your home, you may need a home occupation permit. To find out the local requirements for your business, visit your local government’s website. You can also check out our city-specific business guides:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Resources

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is responsible for managing Texas business licenses. In many cases, you can apply for a Texas business license online, as well as handle renewals and license information updates.

Additional Online Resources

Searching Licenses

If you need to look up a company’s Texas business license, you can use the TDLR License Data Search. You can use the following information to find an already existing license holder:

  • License Type
  • License Number
  • Expiration Date
  • Name
  • City
  • County
  • Zip Code

Texas Business License FAQs

Does Texas require a business license?

Texas doesn’t have a general business license requirement, but most businesses will need one or more licenses or permits, depending on their industry and where they do business. The most common statewide license is the Texas sales tax permit.

How much does a business license cost in Texas?

The fee will depend on the type of license and the municipality. Local and state-issued licenses in Texas can cost anywhere from $15 to upwards of $1,000. Licenses for “vice-related” businesses, such as alcohol or sexually oriented businesses, tend to be among the most expensive.

How do I get a Texas business tax ID?

To get a Texas tax ID number, you just have to apply for a sales tax permit, which you can do online through eSystems. Once you have a taxpayer number, you can find it any time by looking up your business in the Sales Taxpayer Search.

A Texas tax ID number isn’t the same as an EIN, which is a federal tax ID number for businesses. You can apply for an EIN online via the IRS website. There is no fee for getting a Texas tax ID number or an EIN.

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