How to Look up an LLC in Texas? (Most Effective Method)
Before establishing an LLC in Texas, it is crucial to perform an LLC lookup to ensure that your desired business name is available for use. This initial step is essential before delving into the details of branding and marketing your business.
With extensive experience in business research and a thorough understanding of the LLC registration process, I’ve prepared an in-depth guide to look up an LLC in Texas.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to look up an LLC in Texas, along with some helpful tips.
- To look up an LLC in Texas, use the Texas Business Entity Search provided by the Texas Secretary of State.
- The SOSDirect portal requires users to create an account and charges a $1 fee for each search.
- The Texas Secretary of State website maintains a registry of all active and defunct business names, ensuring comprehensive search results.
- Regularly checking the availability of business names is crucial for startups to avoid potential legal complications.
How Do I Look Up an LLC in Texas?
The SOSDirect portal of the Texas Secretary of State allows you to look for corporate entities and see if a name is available. You must generate a username and password to create an account. Additionally, there is a $1 legally permitted cost for each search.
The best way to do an LLC name search is to enter the desired name, leaving off identifiers like "LLC" and all other boxes empty. This way, your search will return all entities with the same or comparable names.
You can also email the Texas Secretary of States and request them to look up various LLC names. They respond to emails pretty fast.
Information For Texas LLC Look Up
Once your business name search is complete for the LLC lookup, you'll be able to access the following entity information:
- The Tax ID: The tax ID or EIN is essential for businesses to file LLC taxes in Texas, open a bank account, or get business licenses.
- Status: Under the status section, see if an LLC is active and has good standing with the Texas Secretary of State. It indicates that a given company has submitted the necessary paperwork and paid taxes and fees to the Texas state authority. This certification also attests to the LLC's legal ability to operate in Texas.
- SOS Number: This is a file number assigned to any business by the Texas Secretary of State after filing their article of incorporation by that office. This means that if an LLC is up and running, you should be able to see its SOS number during a search.
- Mailing Address: Here, you'll get details of the LLC's primary business entity place and its physical location in Texas. This is also the primary address where business formation documents for a given company are delivered.
- State of Incorporation: If you're doing a multi-national business name search, this information narrows down to the specific state that an LLC was incorporated and is allowed to transact business activities.
- Office Address of the Registered Agent: Basically, this is the principal office address of the registered agent that works together with a given limited liability company.
Texas Search Options
Startups in Texas can search for a business entity in three ways:
1. Name Search
The Texas Secretary of State website keeps a registry of all active and defunct business names since every limited liability company must submit a form with them.
Once you've chosen a name for your LLC, you do a business entity search for it to see whether it's already taken or needs to be tweaked a little so you have a unique name.
2. Entity Number
An entity number is given to each recognized corporate entity in Texas. You may search by entity number to locate a firm's formally registered name under which it does business in Texas.
3. Executive Name
Executives must be listed in the records of business companies. You may search for a company using the executive's name to discover whether they are also listed as executives for other companies.
If you try these options and nothing shows up, it's likely the name you seek is available. It's wise to double-check whether a possible name is available for usage.
Contact the Texas Secretary of State's office by phone or email for assistance. If they give you the go-ahead, your desired name will be available to secure.
If you need to change your current LLC name, read our article and learn the easiest way to rename an LLC in Texas.
Checking If A Name Is Trademarked
I learned the hard way that just because a name is available doesn't mean it's not trademarked. After my initial Texas search, I made sure to check for trademarks to avoid any legal issues later on.
Before authorizing an LLC name, the state doesn't look for trademarks.
Luckily, you can do a trademark search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website . You’ll download and fill out a trademark search application form from the website.
You may contact the office through a call to the state business information line, email, or pay to search the SOSDirect site.
Once you find that your name isn't trademarked yet, you can download and fill out form 901—Trademark Application—to register a trademark for your LLC name in Texas .
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Reserving Your Business Name
Sections 5.101 through 5.106 of the Texas Administrative Code allow the reservation of the names of :
- Limited liability companies
- Limited partnership corporations
- Corporations cooperative associations
- Other business entities
Your LLC name will be held for 120 days as per the Texas business organizations code. By filing a renewal application, you can renew it within 30 days of its expiration date.
Steps to reserving your company name:
- Download and fill in the application.
- Include a $40 fee and mail directly to the Texas Secretary of State.
How Much Do Online Texas LLC Lookups Cost?
Online Texas LLC lookups cost nothing, as searching your LLC name is free. But if you're searching your name by fax or mail, then it'll cost you $5.
When Do I Need to File a Name Reservation for My Texas LLC?
You must file an LLC name reservation for your Texas LLC as soon as possible, especially if you have a unique business name and must trademark or protect it. Otherwise, filing a name reservation is entirely optional.
Can I Name My Texas LLC After Myself?
You can name your Texas LLC after yourself as long as you do so per the LLC naming guidelines.