Conducting a Texas Secretary of State LLC search is one of the first things you need to do when setting up your LLC. Even if you're just checking the status of an existing business entity, the Texas Secretary of State website can provide you with all the information you need.

When you're considering forming a Texas LLC, you would start with a name availability search. You can use the “name availability” tool to verify whether the name you want is available. You should also check to verify whether a URL is available, even if you don't plan to build a website immediately. Buying the domain keeps someone else from purchasing it.

Checking a Business Name

If a business plans to be active in Texas, they must be registered and listed with the Secretary of State's office. There are several methods to check for an active business or to check your desired LLC name. You can search the database online, email for information, mail a request, or even call.

When you search the online database:

  • Only enter the first one or two words of the name
  • Search all forms, both singular and plural
  • Do not add “LLC” or “L.L.C.” to your search

People search for an existing business to verify or obtain the following information:

It doesn't matter whether the business is an LLC, LC, LLP, LP, or a corporation—all business types are searchable through the Texas Secretary of State. You need to have at least one of the following to search:

  • Business name
  • File Number
  • Tax ID

For Tax ID or File Number, the search criteria must be exact, while the name must be specific.

  • Start by visiting the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website and choose your search method.
  • After you hit search, the results page will display any results. For more information on any of the listed names, click the “details” button.

FAQs on Name Filings

When preparing your LLC name, it's imperative to understand that no business entity can have a name that is the same or deceptively similar to one already on file. This applies to a filing entity (domestic or foreign), name reservation, or name registration. The only way to get a similar name approved is if the one already on file consents to the use in writing.

In Texas, requests for name reservations are generic and can be used for any type of business filing. This means if you're filing Jack's Apples as an LLC, and there is already a Jack's Apples, Inc. you cannot use the name. The name registration doesn't give a business the authority to transact business in the state, however. You would need to complete the remainder of the process. Name registrations are valid for one year and can be renewed.

If a filing entity needs to change its name, it must follow the procedures set forth in its own governing documents as well as the Texas Business Organizations Code. You will need to file a Certificate of Amendment with the Secretary of State's office.

If the business plans to keep its legal name, but wants to do business under a different one, it needs to file for a “DBA” with an assumed name certificate. The assumed name certificate details information about the business's legal name and location. It does not grant the business the right to infringe on the rightful use by others nor from filing for the same assumed name. This means there can be multiple assumed name certificates filed with the exact same DBA.

Background Information About the Texas Secretary of State

There are six members of the Executive Department, one of which is the Secretary of State. This position is appointed by the Governor and then confirmed by the State Senate. He or she serves as the chief election officer and protocol officer for both state and international matters and acts as a liaison for matters dealing with Mexico and the US-Mexican border.

The Secretary of State is also the custodian of the Great Seal of the State of Texas and he or she is authorized to authenticate and certify official government documents. Their position handles public affairs, is the guardian of public records and all archives, and handles all business filings and related statutory documents.

If you have questions regarding a Texas Secretary of State LLC search, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel only accepts 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.