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Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website has the information you are looking for.
The Comptroller of Public Accounts Business Entity Database provides information on corporations and LLCs registered in Texas. The names of sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not centralized. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Taxpayer Number
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Active means the entity is in good standing and can conduct business in the state. Other results include “Forfeited, “Not Established”, “Franchise Tax Ended”, and “Franchise Tax Involuntarily Ended”. The names of these inactive results may be available to register.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Texas Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Registered Office Street Address – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored.
How to do a Texas Business Name Search
Visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Sew What” and click “Name Availability Check”.
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Superior Lawncare”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Texas, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Details” link for the name you are interested in to see a detailed report.
While the name “Superior Lawncare” by itself may not be available, other variants are such as “Superior Lawncare of Texas”. Searching for this business name brings a result that says the business name was not found. Even if the name looks like it is available the Comptroller of Public Accounts will do their own search to avoid confusing potential customers with a business name that sounds like someone else’s. Typically words that sound alike but are spelled differently and even abbreviations will make names show up as available but won’t be approved.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Texas. Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the Comptroller of Public Accounts will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Texas LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Certificate of Formation.
While not required in Texas, an Operating Agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Texas business licenses and permits may still be necessary.