Start A Business


Without properly registering, you cannot operate your business. Here is some useful information to help guide you through this process.

Startup Guide
Use the Startup Guide for a list of general requirements to start a business in the City of Houston.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)
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.

Doing Business As (DBA) Form
If your business is structured as a a sole proprietorship or general partnership an "Doing Business As" form will need to be on file with the county clerk of each county where the business premise will be maintained. If no business premise will be maintained, it must be file in each county where the business will be conducted. filing a DBA does not protect your name from use by other businesses.

Harris County Clerk's Office

201 Caroline St
Houston, TX 77002

Fort Bend County Clerk's Office
301 Jackson St
Richmond, TX 77469
Montgomery County Clerk's Office
210 West Davis St
Conroe, TX 77301

Corporation, Limited Partnerships, or Limited Liability Companies must file their DBA forms with the Secretary of State AND each county where the business will have a principal office. Similar to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, filing a DBA with the county or Secretary of State does not protect you name from use by other businesses.

Business Incorporation
A Limited Liability Company, Corporation, Limited Liability Partnership must file a "Certificate of Formation" 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 the state. This department also keeps records of business names in a searchable database.

Seller's 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. Operating without a sales tax permit is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each day a business operates without a permit.