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Step By Step Guide

How to Start an LLC in Texas

Forming a limited liability company provides liability protection for any type of business, and should be among the first steps you take as a new business owner. Starting an LLC in Texas can help you protect your personal assets while adding legitimacy to your company. Follow our step by step guide or let us handle the paperwork on your behalf, ensuring your business is filed quickly and accurately.

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Why open and file your limited liability company in Texas?

In 2019, an annual study from WalletHub revealed that Texas ranked as the best state to start a business. This was the second year Texas took first place in the study.

What puts The Lone Star State ahead of the startup pack? The study notes that Texas has the fifth highest amount of spending on business initiatives. Thanks to government-backed funding programs and an educated pool of workers, small businesses in Texas grow at an 11% rate. This growth rate is especially incredible if you compare it to 2018's numbers. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) revealed that there are 2.6 million small businesses in the state of Texas in 2018.

Clearly, everything is bigger in Texas - especially small business! Ready to start an LLC in Texas? Let's walk you through the steps to get started.

Two Ways of Setting Up an LLC in Texas

MyCorporation® can help you file all of the necessary documents to form your limited liability company in Texas.

File and submit the formation paperwork yourself

Our free guide provides you with all of the information you'll need to form your limited liability company in Texas. Bookmark this page as a reference so you can return easily as you complete each step of the process.

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Let MyCorporation handle the formation process for you.

Our filing experts can get you up and running quickly and accurately, completing the required filings on your behalf.

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How to Start an LLC in Texas

The first step will be to decide on a name for your business. Choose a name that is memorable and unique, easy to understand and pronounce, and accurately represents your business. You'll want to search your name choices on the web to quickly find out if they are already taken. It's also best to jot down one or two alternatives, in case the name you settle on is not available for registration in Texas.

There are a few rules that Texas Limited Liability Companies must follow in order to register a name.

  • The name you choose must be unique and not "confusingly similar" to the name of any other Texas business. This is to prevent fraud or misrepresentation and is a common rule in all 50 states. You can find out whether a name is available in Texas by searching the Texas Secretary of State Opens in a new window taxable entity search through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for possible conflicts. Be sure to check variations or alternate spellings as well, otherwise your filing may be rejected.

    In a pinch, you can use MyCorporation's business name search service, where we will conduct a more thorough search on your behalf and report back our findings. Plus, MyCorporation includes a business name search for free when we complete your LLC filings on your behalf!

  • Your business name must include the words "Limited Liability Company," or "LLC."
  • Please note that you do not need to publish a notice before incorporating a business. Filing a Certificate of Publication for an LLC is a common requirement for LLCs in several states throughout the United States. However, the requirement that a business need to publish its intent to incorporate in a local newspaper for four consecutive weeks was repealed in 2003 by the Texas Secretary of State.

You can learn more about business name filing FAQs through SOSDirect Online Searching and Filing provided by the Texas Secretary of State.

Tip: A business name check is included with every one of our business formation packages. We check with the state to determine the availability of your business name automatically. You can also conduct a nationwide business name search here.

There are two options to choose from when it comes to setting up your LLC in Texas. "Member managed" or "manager managed". The first thing you need to know is that owners of any LLC are referred to as "members". A single member LLC has just one owner, while a multi-member LLC is an LLC owned by 2 or more members. Pretty simple, right?

Texas LLCs also must also designate one or more individuals to manage the day to day operations of the business. This can be handled by one of the members of the business (member managed, the most popular choice and the default in most states), or a professional manager appointed by the members to act on their behalf (manager managed).

While the differences are subtle, what you really need to know is that each member in a member managed LLC has the power to make decisions for the business. However, in a manager managed LLC, the members choose who will manage the business and relinquish all of the decision making to the manager chosen. The person chosen can be one of the members of the business as well, or it can be someone else entirely.

Most states require that you designate a registered agent for your business, and Texas is no exception. A registered agent acts as the state's means to communicate with a business and is responsible for receiving legal and official documents related to the business.

A registered agent can be anyone you wish, with one small caveat. The registered agent must have a physical address in Texas Opens in a new window. In other words, a P.O. Box is not allowed as a registered agent address. This means a member of the limited liability company can act as the registered agent if desired, or a third-party registered agent service like MyCorporation can be used.

Why designate a third party to act as my registered agent?

It should be noted that registered agent information is made publicly available. This can cause privacy concerns for business owners who do not wish to list their personal contact information on the internet for everyone to see. It is also common for the registered agent to become a target of spam or robocalls since this private information is relatively easy to obtain.

Another issue that may arise is that in the case of a lawsuit, these documents would be hand delivered directly to the registered agent. In the case that you used your business location for this purpose, this could occur in front of your customers. This is why many business owners opt for a third-party registered agent service such as MyCorporation to act as a registered agent on behalf of their business.

Tip: Our Deluxe and Premium formation packages include a full year of registered agent services for your business. We also offer standalone registered agent services which you can add to your business later.

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You will need to file Articles of Organization in Texas Opens in a new window to order to form an LLC. Articles of Organization may be filed online or by mail. They include basic information about the Texas LLC including the company name, business address, mailing address, registered agent name and address, the LLC's purpose, effective date of the LLC, and signature of at least one individual acting as an authorized representative.

What information should be included in the Articles of Organization?

As noted above, information required in the Articles of Organization covers basic information as it pertains to the Texas LLC. . For more information about fees, please review Form 806 Fee Schedule (PDF)(43.7 KB) for Texas filing fees.

After formation, the state of Texas requires an LLC to create an operating agreement. This agreement needs to be written, and should be kept with the company's records. In order to open a bank account for your business, you will often be required to submit both your operating agreement, and your EIN number.

What kind of information needs to be included in a Texas operating agreement?

Operating agreements are required in Texas and are important to laying the foundation of a properly run business. An operating agreement sets guidelines for the way your business operates now and into the future. Common details in an operating agreement include the following:

  • Basic contact details: The name of the LLC, the address of the principal business location and often, the registered agent address.
  • The business purpose: This is a basic one sentence description of what kind of business your LLC will do, and is often a very general description, which creates a bit more flexibility as the business matures.
  • Tax structure: Often this indicates the way the LLC will choose to be taxed. The main options are to be taxed as a sole proprietor or a partnership ( both pass through options ) or to be taxed as a corporation ( which requires an S Corp Election to be filed )
  • Ownership and management: This section lays out the general rules about how the business will operate day to day. This refers to step 3, where you determined whether your business would be "manager managed" or "member managed". As mentioned before, member managed is the default and the most common choice. If you are unsure, member managed is a pretty safe bet.
Tip: All of our formation packages include a sample operating agreement you can use directly, or modify to fit your needs. Start Now

In Texas, most small businesses require a combination of business licenses and permits at the federal and agency levels. The SBA outlines the process for how to apply for licenses and permits in the state of Texas Opens in a new window. Additionally, consider checking in with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Opens in a new window. This website provides a thorough look into types of licenses businesses may need to obtain and file with the county or state.

You can learn more about the specific licenses applicable to your business by checking with the city offices where you will conduct business, or by using MyCorporation's business license compliance package. Our skilled professionals will do the work for you. We identify all of the licenses required by your business and provide you with the information you need in order to file.

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MyCorporation® takes the guess work out of starting your business. Answer a few simple questions, and our filing experts will take care of the rest.

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An EIN (also called a Federal Tax Id) is a nine-digit number that is issued by the IRS and used to uniquely identify your business for tax purposes. Think of it as a Social Security Number (SSN) for your business, except an EIN is far less sensitive. It is important to wait until the LLC has been approved by the state before applying, and for that reason, filing for an EIN is one of the last things to do when you are setting up a business.

Like a social security number, the EIN allows you to:

  • Open business checking, savings, or investment accounts
  • File taxes for the business
  • Complete payroll for employees if applicable
  • Obtain lines of credit and credit cards, as well as "build credit" for your business
  • Apply for applicable business licenses when required.

You only need a few pieces of information to file including your mailing address and legal business name. You can apply online with the IRS by downloading IRS Form SS-4 (PDF)(116 KB), or work alongside a third party organization like MyCorporation to complete an EIN application.

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  • Articles of Organization
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  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
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  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
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  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
  • Registered Agent services
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Texas LLC Frequently Asked Questions

In Texas, if your profession requires state licensing, you would incorporate your business as a Professional Service Limited Liability Company (PLLC). This often includes doctors, lawyers, therapists, and other professions where state licensure is required.

A PLLC is different than a Professional Corporation (PC), which consists of shareholders that own company stock and has different tax implications. Texas allows licensed professionals the opportunity to form both a PLLC and PC, if desired. PLLCs are usually more popular, as they require less effort to build and operate.

Generally, this can include the following professions:

  • Accounting
  • Acupuncture
  • Architecture
  • Chiropractic
  • Clinical social work
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Marriage, family, and child counseling
  • Medicine
  • Speech-language pathology and audiology
  • Nursing
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Shorthand court reporters

According to the Texas Secretary of State, LLC filing documents are processed in the order received when filed online and by mail. Typically, an LLC is processed within 4-6 weeks. Check in with the Texas Secretary of State for further details on processing and expedited processing dates.

An index of report forms Opens in a new window filed by professional associations, partnerships, and nonprofit corporations may be found through Texas Secretary of State's SOSDirect Online Searching and Filing search page. Generally, Texas LLCs are required to file annual reports. Check in with the Secretary of State for the specific deadline and filing fees.

In order to form a limited liability company in Texas, you will be required to pay various fees for services. The breakdown of the required fees for a domestic LLC are as follows:

  • Certificate of Formation - $300
  • Reservation of Entity Name - $40
  • Articles/Certificate of Amendment - $150

In total, expect to set aside at least $490 to form an LLC in Texas. Please note that the fees for filing domestic and foreign for-profit corporations are the same as they are for Texas LLCs.

According to the Texas Business Organizations Code, foreign entities must file an application for registration for foreign or out-of-State entities Opens in a new window with the Texas Secretary of State. This includes LLC entity formations if the business transacts business in Texas. Entities that do not register may face severe penalties including late filing fees.

Helpful Texas Resources

See Our How To Startup Guides for Texas

Are you looking for another entity type? We offer several other guides to help you start your business in the state of Texas.

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