How to Obtain a Business License in Texas

Learn how to obtain a business license in Texas by checking with local government offices in your county or city. Find out what license is needed for your business and how to apply for them.

How to Obtain a Business License in Texas

The Lone Star state is a vast area, and each city and county in Texas can have its own licensing requirements, both general and specific. At the state level, Texas does not require a general business license. However, individual cities within Texas may require a general license. You will need to check with your local government to confirm that you are obtaining the correct local licenses and permits to perform the work you want to do.

In addition, if your company serves food or offers accommodations, it may be subject to specific requirements from the health department. Local government in your area, such as that of your city or county, may require specific permits and licenses. Contact government offices in your county or city to find out what license is needed or if other permits or additional requirements are needed to operate your business. For example, many Texas cities, such as Dallas, require special licenses for any commercial activity traditionally considered “vice” or “immoral”, such as entertainment centers, dance halls, alcoholic beverages, or “sexually oriented” activities.

All types of businesses, including LLCs, may require a city or county business license, as well as certain state tax permits or licenses for regulated industries. All Texas-based businesses must obtain a sales, use and tax permit, sometimes known as a seller's permit, if they conduct business in Texas and sell, rent, or rent property in Texas or sell taxable goods or services within the state. In Texas, if the company is going to operate as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, an assumed name certificate or DBA for each name the company will use must be on file with the county clerk of each county in which a business premises will be maintained. Different Texas agencies and municipalities handle business licenses in a variety of renewal programs, but most require licenses to be renewed annually or biennially. It's important to securely store your license and permit numbers, and to know when they need to be renewed.

Determine the potential tax liabilities of the new company with federal, state, and local tax authorities. It can be difficult to determine exactly what licenses you may need to do business in your region or industry. There are more than 250 professional, occupational and commercial facility licenses available in Texas that are obtained from the state. Most Texas businesses need at least a sales tax collection permit if they are engaged in business activities. For information on what special licenses and permits your company may have, see the Texas Business License & Permit Guide from the Texas Business Permit Office or directly to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website to apply for them.

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