Another important step in getting a business ready for opening day involves securing a business name, registering the business with the appropriate authorities, and getting tax identiﬁcation numbers from the federal, state, and/or local government. It is important to take care of these issues early in the process, as this information may be needed to secure permits, licenses, and potentially ﬁnancing.
Many of these services are provided by the Texas Secretary of State through its online service, SOS Direct.
Naming Your Business
Naming your business requires more than creativity and good spelling skills. After determining the name you would like to use for your business, do a preliminary check of the name’s availability through the secretary of state’s commercial database. This can be done in a matter of minutes. Preliminary checks may be made online.
Corporations and LLCs must secure their names through the secretary of state’s office. This can be done at the time of incorporation or a name may be reserved for sixty days if you are not ready to incorporate. Reserving a name costs $40.
Do not rely on a preliminary check of a name’s availability. Formally reserve the name and wait for conﬁrmation from the secretary of state’s office before obtaining stationery, business cards, phone listings, bank accounts, etc. For the secretary of state’s name filings FAQs, go here.
Registering Your Business
Where you register your business depends on your business structure. Corporations, LLCs, and LLPs need to register at the secretary of state’s office. Forms for registering a business can be found on the secretary of state’s website. Corporations will need to ﬁle articles of incorporation at the time of registration. Professional assistance from an attorney is recommended for this process.
Companies that are not incorporated, such as sole proprietorships, register at the county clerk’s office in the county where the entity is doing business. To register your business with the county clerk, you will need to submit an assumed name certificate. You may access the form and the corresponding instructions here.
The completed form will need to be notarized prior to filing it in person at the county clerk’s office. The cost of filing a form in this manner is $18, with an incremental increase for additional owner names. If you wish to complete the form in person at the county clerk’s office, one of the deputies can acknowledge your signature. Plan to bring a state issued picture ID. The cost for filing the form in this manner is $23.
The Williamson County Clerk’s office is located in the Williamson County Justice Center at 405 Martin Luther King St., Georgetown, TX 78626-4901. You may also reach the county clerk’s office at 512.943.1100.
Getting Your Tax ID
Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for assistance with:
- Federal tax ID number
- Federal income tax withholding
- Federal unemployment insurance tax
An Employer Identiﬁcation Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identiﬁcation Number and is assigned to businesses for the purpose of tax filing and reporting. To determine if you need an EIN and to apply for an EIN online, visit the IRS Internet EIN. You may also download and complete the Form SS-4 then mail or fax the Form SS-4 to the appropriate IRS office as specified here.
For questions about this process or to apply over the phone, call 800.829.4933 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday.
The local IRS office is located at:
Internal Revenue Service
825 East Rundberg Lane
Austin, TX 78753
Many of these same services are provided by the Texas Secretary of State through the SOSDirect online business service.
If you are doing businesses in Texas and you are selling or leasing “tangible personal property” or selling “taxable services,” you must contact the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to apply for a Texas Sales Tax permit. If you are a taxable entity formed in Texas or doing business in the state, you must file for a Texas Franchise Tax permit. Entities that must secure a franchise tax permit include corporations, LLCs, S corporations, and others. To see a complete list of entities that are subject to the state franchise tax, go here.
Upon submitting the appropriate application form via the Texas Comptroller eSystems or in person at the address below, you will be issued a state tax payer ID. The comptroller’s office estimated a two to three week processing period.
Texas State Comptroller – Field Office
Taxpayer Services and Collections
Central Services Building
1711 San Jacinto Blvd., Suite 180
Austin, Texas 78701-1416
Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST)
For more information about the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, visit the website at www.comptroller.texas.gov/.
Local taxes are also collected through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.