Information on corporations, LLCs, or other business entities in the state is available through a Texas Business Entity Search. This is useful for several purposes, including finding information on a business, managing the filings for your own business, and for checking name availability.
Checking for name availability before you file for the Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State significantly increases the chances of your LLC/business formation going through easily. Simple as it sounds, finding the right name can often be a difficult task, and many filings are rejected because of naming issues.
Some due diligence on your part, like checking for name availability and going through Texas business entity search can make things easier.
Texas SOS Business Search
Texas SOS Business Search takes a slightly different approach than most states. Information about a business entity or name availability may be accessed through several channels. Each of these channels has a different approach and associated fee.
Interestingly, the Texas Secretary of State doesn’t provide a freely available, customer-facing database for information. Instead, the relevant information may be accessed through various channels.
You can do a business search or name availability check by calling the office of the Secretary of State at 512-463-5555. There is no fee for this service and the relevant information will be provided by a team of public information specialists.
Information on business entities or name availability is available through Fax. The number is 512-463-5709. This service carries a charge of $5 for each request/business entity.
You may request information through email. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for this service.
Through Postal Mail
Information can be requested through postal mail. This service too costs $5 for information on each business entity. The mailing address is:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, Texas 78711-3697
Texas LLC name search and conventional business information is available online through the SOS Direct website. However, this service isn’t free. There is a charge of $1 per search.
Moreover, you’ll need to set up an SOS Direct account to access this service. For the purpose of Texas Business Entity Search, it is possible to use a Temporary Login Form. While you can conduct searches with this account, it doesn’t allow users to submit filings. Those can only be done with an actual SOS Direct Account.
LLC And TX Corporations Search Through Texas Comptroller
Every Texas LLC (and business entities in general) must file Texas Franchise Tax and Public Information Report (PIR) annually. These documents are filed with the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
Thankfully, the Texas Comptroller maintains a freely accessible database for business entity search. You can access this database directly through the Taxable Entity Search. There are three options for conducting this search:
- Tax ID – This is the 11 digit Comptroller’s Taxpayer Number in Texas. Alternatively, a 9-digit Federal Tax ID (EIN) may be used as well.
- Entity Name – The name of the business entity you’re searching for.
- File Number – Use the unique file number assigned by the Texas Secretary of State. This number is assigned when the SOS approves the formation of a business entity.
Note, you can use any one of the options listed above. They cannot be used in a combination. The Comptroller’s site presents a form with all three options listed in order. However, you only need to enter information in one of the sections listed.
Once you’re done, simply click on the “Search” button. If information relevant to your search is available, it will be displayed.
Although this is a fairly popular and easily available option, this is best used for LLC and TX Corporations search. It provides the Public Information Report and relevant documents. That said, it doesn’t have much use as a tool for name availability.
For that purpose, you should consider the options offered by the Texas Secretary of State (listed above), rather than the Comptroller.
How To Reserve A Business Name In Texas
In Texas, it is possible to reserve a name for your business entity (LLC, corporation, etc.) without actually forming the business entity. For this purpose, you can file a request for business name reservation with the Texas SOS.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Business Name In Texas?
No, Texas doesn’t require a reservation of a business name. You can file documents like the Certificate of Formation without reserving a name. However, a name reservation is a good idea if you have a great name in mind but aren’t prepared to start your business yet.
A business name is very important. It is how your customers and people will see your business and perhaps even form an opinion about it. If you have a good business name in mind (and it is available) it makes good sense to reserve the name.
If you have a business name in mind that you think isn’t in threat of being snatched by someone else, it might be a good idea to skip name reservation. If you can choose a name whenever you’re ready to file, it makes better sense to not spend your time, money, and resources in securing a name reservation.
How Long Does A Name Reservation In Texas Last And What Does It Cost?
Once a name reservation request is accepted, the state of Texas reserves the name for 120 days. You can renew your name reservation by filing for renewal up to 30 days before the reservation period runs out. The cost of filing for name reservation and reservation renewal is $40.
You can make payment via check or money order made payable to the secretary of state. LegalEase debit cards, or American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards can also be used for payment (online or via fax).
The state charges an extra 2.7% of the total fee on payments made through credit cards. Requests submitted through fax should include payment information using Form 807.
Reserving A Business Name In Texas
When you file for name reservation, you can check for availability by contacting the Texas SOS using the options listed above. Additionally, it is a good idea to ensure that the name you choose is up to Texas naming guidelines for entities.
For reserving a name for your business, you’ll need to file Form 501 (Application for Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of an Entity Name). This form is available on the Business And Nonprofit Forms section of the Texas SOS Website.
Once you’ve completed the form, you can submit it to the Texas SOS through postal mail. The mailing address is:
P.O. Box 13697,
Do remember to include the filing fee with your form.
You can also submit the form via fax. The number is (512) 463-5709.
Texas also accepts walk-in drop-off for the form. The address is:
James Earl Rudder Office Building,
Austin, Texas 78701
Filing Name Reservation Application Online
Online filing is often the more convenient way to submit most forms, including Name Reservation Application. You can file Form 501, or Application For Reservation of Entity Name by using the SOS Direct website.
As previously mentioned in the Texas business entity search section for the SOS website, creating an account for login is mandatory to submit filings online.