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How To Do A Texas Business Name Search

How To Do A Texas Business Name Search

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How To Do A Texas Business Name Search

Starting a business in Texas involves several steps, but one of the first is choosing a business name. This step is a little more complicated when setting up an LLC or corporation in Texas because these entities must have a unique name. 

To help you verify that your corporation or LLC is available to use, our step-by-step guide will show you how to quickly do a Texas business name search using the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts business name database.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Texas

Step 1: Visit the Texas Business Name Database

Go to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field.  In this example, we will do a Texas LLC name search by looking up “Sew What.” Enter your name and then click “Name Availability Check.”

How to do a Texas Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

When we search the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Superior Lawncare.” To register a corporation or LLC name in Texas, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.

Texas Business Entity Search

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. 

Texas LLC Name Search Details

While the name “Superior Lawncare” by itself may not be available, other variants 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.

Texas Business Name Availability

 

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. 

Also, keep in mind that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

What information can be looked up in the business entity database?

The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Taxpayer Number: State business entity ID 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 Information: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, so their home address isn’t listed.  
  • Registered Office Street Address: This could be the business’s physical address or the address where business records are stored.

Texas Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find a name for a Texas sole proprietorship?

Unlike corporations and LLCs in Texas, the names of Texas sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not listed on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts name database. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

Registering a name for a sole proprietorship or general partnership requires filing a Texas Assumed Name Certificate (often referred to as a DBA or Doing Business As name) with the County Clerk.

What are the requirements to name an LLC in Texas?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved?

If you want a name but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Name Reservation Form (Form 501). The name reservation will hold a business name for up to 120 days.

How do I form a Texas 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, read our step-by-step guide on forming a Texas LLC.

While not required in Texas, an LLC operating agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for Texas business licenses and permits and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to ensure the business is legal to operate.

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

How To Do A Texas Business Name Search

How To Do A Texas Business Name Search

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