Office of Business Opportunity

Four Main Business Requirements for a Business to Legally Operate in Houston

The following are the four main business requirements for a business to legally operate in Houston. Each requirement will list the contact information for the primary office for Houston Businesses. Harris county is this primary county for Houston therefore Harris county information is listed. If your business isn’t located in Harris County but a neighboring county you will need to look up the county office your business will reside in.

  1. Business Name Registration
    1. Sole Proprietorship & General Partnership: A Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership doing business under a name other than the name of the owner requires a DBA (Doing Business As) Certificate with the county in which the business is being conducted. The counties usually have a searchable database of the listed business names used. Filing a DBA does not secure nor protect your business name. All types of business entities (SP, LLC, INC, etc) must file a DBA within the county they are doing business in.

Harris County Clerk, 201 Caroline St., Suite 330, Houston, Texas 77002
Phone: 713-755-6436, 8:00AM - 4:30PM --
www.cclerk.hctx.net

    1. Limited Liability Company, Corporation (INC), Limited Partnership & othersA LLC, INC, LP, LLP, or a Non-Profit business files with the Texas Secretary of State. These business types are independent entities therefore filing of a business name with the Texas Secretary of State protects this name in Texas only therefore no other business can use this name within Texas. This department keeps records of business names in a searchable database. Keep in mind you will still need to file a DBA within the county you are in.

Texas Secretary of State, 1019 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-463-5583, 8:00AM - 5:00PM --
www.sos.state.tx.us

  1. Texas Sales Tax Permit: A business must obtain a Texas Sales & Use Tax permit from the Texas State Comptroller Office if they are engaged in business in Texas and they are selling tangible personal property, leasing personal property, or selling a taxable service in Texas. There is no fee for the Texas Sales and Use Tax permit but a business could be required to post a security bond. A Franchise Tax is a privilege tax imposed on each taxable entity chartered/organized in Texas or doing business in Texas.

Texas State Comptroller, 1919 North Loop West, Suite 510, Houston, TX 77008
Phone: 713-426-8200, 8:00AM - 5:00PM --
www.window.state.tx.us

  1. Federal Tax Identification Number: A Federal Tax Identification Number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), is a nine-digit number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns in the following format: XX-XXXXXXX. An EIN is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain other businesses that have no employees. Generally, businesses need an EIN with a few limited exceptions but there is no fee for filing an EIN with the IRS.

Internal Revenue Service, 1919 Smith St. Houston, Texas 77002
Phone: 281-721-7021, 8:00AM - 4:30PM -- www.irs.gov

  1. Property Tax Rendition: All businesses are required to file a rendition within the county they are in listing business personal property assets (Assets include inventory, raw materials, improvements, machinery and equipment, furniture, fixtures, computer equipment, and vehicles used for business purposes). Property assets must be located in the taxing jurisdiction for more than a temporary period.  If the business’ total value of property assets is $500 or less, then it isn’t required for the business to file a rendition. Filing will be open from January 1st till April 15th.

Harris County Appraisal District, 13013 Northwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77040
Phone: 713-957-7800, 8:00AM - 5:00PM -- www.hcad.org

Spanish Version

Los cuatro (4) principales requisitos mínimos para operar un negocio legalmente en Houston. Por favor, investigue también en caso de la posibilidad de requerimientos adicionales que pueden aplicar en relación a su tipo de negocio.

  1. DBA (Título Temporal) – Se necesita registrar un DBA con todos los condados donde su negocio realizará actividad continua. Dése cuenta que un DBA no protege el nombre de su empresa y que otras empresas todavía pueden asumir el mismo nombre. El DBA es válido por diez (10) años y se registra en persona o por correo.

Harris County Clerk, 201 Caroline St., Suite 330, Houston, Texas 77002
713-755-6436, 8:00AM - 4:30PM -- www.cclerk.hctx.net

  1. State Sales Tax Permit (Permiso Estatal de Impuestos sobre Ventas) – El estado de Texas  impone un impuesto del 6.25% en la venta de bienes personales, y en ciertos tipos de labor/servicios. Un  SALES TAX PERMIT es requerido de todo negocio que esté vendiendo, alquilando,  o suministrando  productos o servicios que sean sujetos a este impuesto. Si está registrado como corporación, un FRANCHISE TAX será recaudado.   Operar un negocio sin un SALE TAX PERMIT es un crimen sancionable con multas de hasta $500 por CADA DIA que se halla operado sin el permiso.

Texas State Comptroller, 1919 North Loop West, Suite 510, Houston, Texas 77008
1-800-252-5555, 8:00AM - 5:00PM --  www.window.state.tx.us/taxpermit/

  1. Employer ID Number (Número de identificación del Empleador) –Employer ID Number (EID) es el equivalente a una identificación para un negocio. Debe registrar un EID si piensa contratar cualquier número o tipo de empleados.  Si usted es propietario único y no tiene empleados puede usar su SSN (Social Security Number). Toda corporación, compañía con coproprietarios, u organización sin fines de lucro debe obtener un EID. Extranjeros sin residencia permanente deben tener una visa valida y un SSN para realizar negocios en los estados unidos.

Internal Revenue Service, 1919 Smith St. Houston, Texas 77002
1-800-829-4933, 8:00AM - 4:30PM -- www.irs.gov

  1. Property Tax Rendition (Listado de Bienes) —Bienes que sean usados por más de un período temporal como parte del proceso para generar ingresos se deben registrar en una declaración de los bienes (pertenencias) “Rendition” al comienzo de cada año.

(Desde el 1ro de enero hasta el 15 de abril) a menos de que el valor total de todo los bienes sean  $500.  o una cantidad menor.

Harris County Appraisal District, 13013 Northwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77040
713-957-7800, 8:00AM - 5:00PM --
www.hcad.org