Texas Corporation Search: Everything You Need to Know
When searching for existing LLC names, visit the website of the Texas Secretary of State. 4 min read
2. Corporate Name Reservation
3. LLC Search and Lookup in Texas Secretary of State Website
4. Online Database Searching
5. LLC Tax and Permit Considerations
6. Registering a Fictitious Business Name
A Texas corporation search, which gives you a list of limited liability companies and other business registered in the state, can be performed on the Texas Secretary of State's database. This system offers three search options:
- Call the state business information line at 512-463-5555 and request that the representative check if the LLC name is available.
- Tip: Have a couple of backup names for your LLC ready, in case the LLC name you want is already taken. Doing so will prevent you from making multiple phone calls.
- This phone line can have long wait times for callers. Try to call early in the morning, between 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. CST, or just before the office closes, between 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. CST, to lessen wait times.
- Email your request to email@example.com.
- Use the Texas Secretary of State database to perform a search.
Entity Search in Texas Secretary of State Website
If you perform your search online at the Texas Secretary of State's website, you can search for an existing entity by tax ID number, name, or file number. If you are searching by name, use multiple keywords to generate more results. When you use a generic term, you could get hundreds or thousands of search results. You will see all terms that match within the database.
All of your search results will be visible on the preview page. You can also see the list of entities, including the name, zip code of the main office address, and tax ID number, on the results pages. This helps you identify specific corporations in your search. If you'd like more information, click on the highlighted blue text link of the company name.
You need to be able to see all the information for each corporation filed with the Secretary of State, including:
- Tax ID number
- Principal mailing address
- State of incorporation
- Texas SOS file number
- Registered agent name
- Registered agent office street address
Click the link located at the bottom of the page to view the corporation's officers and directors.
Corporate Name Reservation
Reserving a name for your cooperative association, corporation, limited liability company, professional association, limited partnership, or other filing entity falls under regulations in Sections 5.101 to 5.106 of the Texas Business Organizations Code (BOC). You may reserve a name for your entity for up to 120 days. A 30-day grace period applies prior to the expiration of the registration that you can renew by filing another application.
The application form to register the name is available on the Texas Secretary of State's website. Fill out the form and send it with the required $40 filing fee to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
LLC Search and Lookup in Texas Secretary of State Website
To search for existing LLCs, visit the Secretary of State's website. Search options include file number, tax ID, and name. Searching by name is preferred, but you should use as many terms as possible to find the maximum number of results. If you use a broad term, you could get hundreds or thousands of results from the database. The results page will include previews of all matching listings.
The previews include the names of the businesses, zip codes of principal office addresses, and taxpayer ID numbers. When you click on the name's blue text link, you can see additional information about the business. If you can see the principal mailing address, state of formation, taxpayer ID number, status, registered agent name and address, and Texas file number, your search is complete. The link at the bottom of the page will show the corporation's managers and members.
Online Database Searching
When you perform a search online, do not include “L.L.C.” or “LLC” at the end. Start by searching the first one or two words of the name you want to use. Make sure to look up singular and plural forms of words in your proposed name. For example, if you want to name your LLC “Cherry Cupcake Factory LLC,” your search should include words like “cherry,” "cherries," “cupcake,” and “cupcakes."
LLC Tax and Permit Considerations
All businesses that have employees must file Form SS-4 with the IRS to receive a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Texas LLCs may also need other permits, licenses, or ID numbers. Specific examples of these include sellers' permits, income tax withholding forms, and unemployment insurance tax forms. Complete the Texas Online Tax Registration Application to learn more about required taxes for your business.
If you pay employees, you must keep employment tax records for at least four years. Consult the IRS Employer Tax Guide to understand your responsibility to withhold federal tax from employee paychecks.
Each worker must complete a Form W-4 before starting employment. This is submitted to the IRS for verification. The amount of wages and taxes withheld must be reported to the IRS annually on Form W-2. The due date is January 31 each year.
As an employer, you must also complete the I-9 for each employee to verify that he or she is eligible for work in the U.S. This must be submitted to the state's New Hire Reporting Program within 20 days of the employee's start date.
Regulations for permits vary by municipality. Common types of permits used in Texas include:
- Alarm permit
- Building permit
- Business license
- Health license
- Occupational permit
- Sign permit
- Zoning permit
Registering a Fictitious Business Name
You may want to register a Doing Business As, or DBA, if you plan to do business under a name other than the legal name of your business. In Texas, this requires completion of the Assumed Name Certificate for every name you plan to use.
If you need help with a Texas corporation search, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.