Start an LLC in Texas and make sure your business is protected. It’s easy with a business formation service that guides you through the process.

Your company name must be unique in your state, and it must end with “LLC.” A good service will help you find a great name that passes the business entity search test.

Choosing a Company Name

When starting an LLC in Texas, it’s important to choose the right company name. Not only does it need to be memorable, but it needs to meet the state’s business entity name guidelines. This means it can’t conflict with any existing business names on the state registry and must be distinguishable from other business entities.

The first thing to do is conduct a search of your chosen name with the state’s business entity registration database. It’s also a good idea to search with domain registrars, as many businesses today have some kind of online presence and will need a matching URL.

You should also check with trademark agencies to make sure the name is available and doesn’t already have a trademark associated with it. It’s also a good idea not to pick words that are restricted in your state, such as “bank”, “insurance”, and “government”. Restricted words typically require approval from the relevant agency before they can be used in an LLC name.

Getting a Registered Agent

A registered agent is a person or business that can receive service of process notices and official government mail for an LLC or corporation. You need to list your registered agent on your Articles of Organization when registering your LLC with the Texas Secretary of State.

A Texas registered agent must have a physical address (no P.O. boxes) in the state of Texas, and someone must be available during normal business hours to sign for documents. A professional registered agent service can accept documents on behalf of your company and then scan and upload them to an online portal that you can access.

Having a Texas registered agent is important because it helps ensure that your personal information stays private. If you’re sued as a business owner, then customers, clients or the Secretary of State can only take your company assets—not your house, car or bank account. A professional registered agent can also help you keep track of filing requirements and provide compliance alerts.

Getting an EIN

An EIN (also called a Federal Employer Identification Number) is a nine-digit number that distinguishes your LLC for tax purposes. Just like a Social Security number identifies individuals, an EIN is unique to your business.

If your LLC has more than two members, it must obtain its own IRS EIN. Otherwise, the state will treat it as a partnership and require you to file additional forms with the IRS.

When applying for an EIN, you must choose whether your LLC will be manager-managed or member-managed. The state also wants to know the company name, the registered agent, and the effective date of the filing.

The effective date is when the LLC becomes officially recognized by the state – think of it as your LLC’s birthday. This can be as soon as the filing is made or later, as long as it's not more than 90 days from when you signed the paperwork. The organizer of the LLC doesn't have to be a member but must be authorized by all members to complete and file the paperwork.

Creating an Operating Agreement

In Texas, LLCs are not required to create an operating agreement, but the document is highly recommended. It sets out internal rules for the company and can help preserve your limited liability by showing that your business is a separate entity from you as an individual. Without the agreement, state law will govern how your LLC operates.

If you're not sure what to include in your LLC operating agreement, a variety of templates are available online through various legal help sites and law libraries. Many of these websites and services also offer interactive forms that ask you a series of questions to generate an agreement tailored to your business's specific needs.

You may choose to have your filing go into effect as soon as it's filed, or you can set a future date (as long as it's not more than 90 days from the time you sign). You will also need to provide an initial mailing address for your LLC and declare its purpose.