Starting a Business in Texas

Starting a business in the Lone Star state? Here’s everything you need to take your business from “bright idea” to bustling business.

Route 66 Texas Road Sign

Essential Steps When Starting a Small Business

Creating a successful small business requires equal parts inspiration and perspiration. Once you’ve decided on the type of business you want to start, it requires some paperwork to make your dreams a reality. Understanding Texas’s requirements for small businesses will help ensure you don’t miss a thing.

Happy Small Business Owner opens store

Filing a Business Entity

In order to make your business official in the eyes of Texas, you need to form your business as an entity. The Texas Secretary of State can help you navigate common questions and concerns around filing, and they make it easy to file a certificate of formation online.

  • Get more help selecting your business structure
  • File online through SOSDirect
  • For minority-owned businesses: If you would like your business official certified as a “historically underutilized business,” call the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at (888)863-5881 or (512)463-5872.

If you have more questions regarding filing a business entity, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s FAQ page.

Woman signing documents in restaurant

Tax Registration

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

All employers who have employees must be assigned an EIN (or Employer Tax ID) from the Internal Revenue Service.

Apply Online
Texas Tax Registration

Businesses operating in Texas must register for additional identification numbers, licenses, or permits for tax purposes, outlined in the Texas Comptroller’s General Tax Information and Forms.

Apply Online

Business Licenses & Permits

General Business Licenses

You’ll need to determine and apply for the required licenses and permits for your specific business. Businesses that sell/rent goods or provide taxable services will need a Sales Tax Permit. Because permit requirements vary so widely by industry, the Texas Business Permit Office has put together a guide outlining the requirements for each industry—from 1-900 numbers to construction to bingo parlors (and everything in between).

  • Sales Tax Permit/Use Tax Permit: Most businesses that plan to operate in Texas will need a Sales Tax Permit. This can be obtained by visiting the website for the Comptroller of Public Accounts. You can also call (512)463-4600 or (800)252-5555.
  • Permits by Industry: View the guide for your business’s requirements.

Local Permits

The permits required in your local government area may vary. You’ll want to check with your local city, county, and/or municipality for any additional required permits. Some of the most common required permits include:

  • Business License and/or Tax Permit
  • Building Permit
  • Health Permit
  • Occupational Permit
  • Zoning Permit
  • Signage Permit
  • Alarm Permit

Hiring Laws in Texas

In addition to the national laws barring discrimination, Texas has 2 additional anti-discrimination statutes.

Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21

Protects against discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, and disability for employers with more than 15 employees.

Texas Workers’ Compensation Act

Protects against discrimination based on workers’ compensation claim history, applies to employees and not applicants.

Two People at table going over a contract

Employer Requirements

You’re almost there! The final step in setting up your business is to determine the federal and state employer requirements.

Federal Requirements

State Requirements for Texas

Not Required in Texas

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