How to File a Texas LLC Certificate of Formation
Filing the Texas Certificate of Formation Is Easy!
We'll take you through three easy steps for filing the Texas LLC Certificate of Formation.
- Get Your Certificate of Formation
- Fill out the Certificate of Formation
- File the Certificate of Formation
Step 1: Get Your Certificate of Formation
You can download and submit a hard copy of your Texas Certificate of Formation OR you can create an account and file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
Get Your Certificate of Formation
OPTION 1: Create an account to file your Certificate of Formation on the Texas Secretary of State website. Login and choose "Business Organizations" from the main toolbar. Select "Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)" under the "Reservation*Formation*Registration Documents" dropdown.Create Online Account
- OR -
OPTION 2: Access the Certificate of Formation PDF from the Texas Secretary of State. This form will need to be mailed or delivered in person.Download PDF
Step 2: Fill Out the Certificate of Formation
In this step, we will help you complete the Texas Certificate of Formation. There are 4 main “Articles”.
You will need to know the following information to complete each Article:
- Entity Name and Type
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Governing Authority Type
- Business Purpose
Article 1: Entity Name and Type
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- Meets Texas naming guidelines.
- Is not already in use by another business in Texas.
Follow the Texas Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).
- Your name cannot imply that the LLC is organized for an unlawful purpose.
- Your name cannot include the words “lotto” or “lottery.”
- Your name cannot imply that the LLC was created by or for the benefit of war veterans or their families. The following words are expressly prohibited: veteran, legion, foreign, Spanish, disabled, war; and world war.
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Texas reserved names. We will help with this step in the search for your business name section below.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Texas? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Texas guide.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Find a Domain Now
Article 2: Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your Texas LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office.
Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in Texas. Your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during normal business hours.
To learn more about choosing a Texas registered agent, read our How To Choose a Texas Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
Article 3: Governing Authority
When filing the Certificate of Formation you will need to decide if your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Before you file, read our Management by Members or Managers article to determine the best structure for your LLC.
Article 4: Purpose
In Texas, you can form a limited liability company for any legal or non-prohibited activity. You can state “General Purpose” under Article 4.
Keep in mind that a business purpose that involves licensing, tax-exemption, or tax-deductible status requires special language from the IRS or a professional license.
Step 3: File the Texas Certificate of Formation
To register your LLC in Texas, you will need to file the Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State.
There are two ways to file your Certificate of Formation:
- Complete the forms online.
- Submit a hard copy by mail or in person.
File the Texas Certificate of Formation
OPTION 1: Create an account or log in to file your Certificate of Formation on the Texas SOSDirect website. Choose "Business Organizations" from the main toolbar. Select "Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)" under the "Reservation*Formation*Registration Documents" dropdown.File Online
- OR -
OPTION 2: File Form 205 by mail or in person with the Texas Secretary of State's downloadable form.Download PDF
State Filing Cost: $300
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711
James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
Fax: (512) 463-5709
Turnaround Time: Three business days online and five to seven days by mail.
Steps After Your LLC Is Officially Formed
Once you’ve filed your Certificate of Formation, you should take the following steps:
Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement, known in Texas as a company agreement, is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your Texas LLC.
In Texas, you aren’t required to have an operating agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Certificate of Formation.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC’s private business records; you do not file it with the state.
Use our free operating agreement tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.
You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.
For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our Best Banks for Small Business review.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits in order to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses and/or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with the State of Texas' Business Permit Office.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
State of Texas Quick Links
Brand Your Business
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.