Last Updated: March 1, 2024, 3:51 pm by TRUiC Team

How to Start an S Corp in Texas

With no personal or corporate income tax, Texas can help you save a significant amount come tax season if you opt to form an S corporation (S corp). With the state’s supportive small business community and the ability to save more of your S corp income, you can reinvest in your business to drive its growth. 

This guide will walk you through the process of forming your Texas S corp and everything you need to do to keep it compliant with state laws and regulations.

Want to form an S corp elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start an S Corp guides to learn more.

Recommended: If you have at least $60,000 in net earnings, an S corp may offer tax advantages. Let Northwest start your S corp today.

Learn how to start an S corporation in Texas

Factors to Consider Before Starting an S Corp in Texas

Before forming an S corp, you have to consider the following factors:

  • Is an S corporation the best strategy for your business?
  • S corporation restrictions
  • Are S corp tax advantages right for you?

Is an S Corporation the Best Strategy for Your Business?

For help with choosing the right structure for your business, visit our Choosing a Business Structure guide.

S Corporation Restrictions

S corps have several restrictions, such as being limited to one class of stock and 100 shareholders. Read our What Is an S Corporation guide for full details.

Are S Corp Tax Advantages Right for You?

An S corporation is a tax designation that can be elected by a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. With an S corp, business owners are considered employees of the company and must receive a reasonable salary. Since all S corps technically have employees, the s corp must run payroll. 

In order to benefit from a Texas S corp tax designation, your business needs to make enough money to offset payroll expenses. Furthermore, S corps are beneficial for business owners who take large distributions in addition to their salary.

To learn more about the tax advantages of an S corp, read our LLC vs. S corp guide and take a look at our S Corp tax calculator.

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For a Free Consultation with a Tax Professional 

Call (801) 790-0473 or schedule a meeting here.

How to Form a Texas S Corp

There are two main ways to start an S corp:

  • By forming an LLC and electing S corp tax status from the IRS when you request your employee identification number (EIN)
  • By forming a corporation and electing S corp status from the IRS

We recommend forming an LLC because it’s simpler and more cost-effective.

Recommended: If you have an existing LLC, visit our How to Convert an LLC to S Corp guide.

Steps for Forming an LLC and Electing S Corp Status in Texas

Starting a Texas LLC and electing S corp tax status is easy. You can use our guides to start an LLC with the S corp status yourself, or you can hire a service provider like Northwest to guide you through this process.

There are five basic steps to start an LLC and elect S corp status:

Step 1: Name Your LLC

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Step 3: File the Certificate of Formation

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Step 5: Get an EIN and File Form 2553 to Elect S Corp Tax Status

Step 1: Name Your LLC

Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your LLC in Texas.

Be sure to choose a name that complies with Texas naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.

1. Follow the naming guidelines for a Texas LLC:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations or words: “LLC, L.L.C., Limited, Ltd., Company or Co.
  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
  • For a list of naming rules in Texas, you can read the Texas Secretary of State's guidelines.

You can also read the Texas state statute about LLC naming guidelines for more information.

2. Is the name available in Texas? You can use the taxable entity search on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to see if your desired LLC name is available.

3. Is the URL available? We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

Find a Domain Now

Step 2: Choose Your Texas Registered Agent

You must elect a registered agent for your Texas LLC.

An LLC registered agent will accept legal documents and tax notices on your LLC's behalf. You will list your registered agent when you file your LLC's Certificate of Formation.

Many business owners choose to hire a registered agent service. Many of these services will form your LLC for a small fee and include the first year of registered agent services for free.

Texas Registered Agent Consent to Appointment

Registered agents in Texas must consent to their appointment in written or electronic form. The statement of consent should include:

  • The name of your LLC
  • An express statement that the person designated consents to serve as the LLC’s registered agent
  • The name of the person designated as registered agent
  • The signature of the registered agent
  • The date of execution

The consent statement doesn’t have to be filed with the Secretary of State. For in-depth information on this requirement, as well as a fillable consent form, view the Acceptance of Consent Form 401-A.

Step 3: File the Texas LLC Certificate of Formation

The Texas Certificate of Formation is used to officially register an LLC.

File Your Texas Certificate of Formation

OPTION 1: File Online With Texas SOSDirect

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form 205 by Mail, by Fax, or in Person

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $300, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Mailing Address:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711

Office Address:
James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos
Austin, TX 78701

Fax: (512) 463-5709

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement, known in Texas as a company agreement, is a legal document that outlines the ownership and member duties of your LLC.

For more information, read our Texas LLC Operating Agreement guide.

Our operating agreement tool is a free resource for business owners.

Step 5: Get an EIN and Complete Form 2553 on the IRS Website

An EIN is a number that is used by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify and tax businesses. It is essentially a Social Security number for a business.

EINs are free when you apply directly with the IRS.

Elect S Corp Tax Status
During the online EIN application, the IRS will provide a link to Form 2553, the Election By a Small Business form.

Visit our Form 2553 Instructions guide for detailed help with completing the form.

This is the form to elect S corp tax status for your LLC:

Screenshot of IRS online EIN application.

Ready to start saving on your taxes?

We recommend using a formation service to start your Texas S corp for you, so you can focus on the things that matter most — growing your business.

Keep Your Texas S Corp Compliant

Unlike most states, Texas has a statewide franchise tax that S corps may need to pay if they earn more than a certain threshold. Even if you don’t owe money in Texas franchise taxes, your Texas S corp must still file an annual franchise tax report to remain in good standing.

Texas S Corp Franchise Tax Report

Your Texas S corp must file an annual franchise tax report with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts by May 15 each year. 

Even though you elected to have the IRS tax your business as an S corp, it’s still technically structured as a Texas LLC. Therefore, you must file this report with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts just like any other LLC.

Texas Franchise Tax Threshold

Your S corp may qualify for “no tax due,” which means you won’t have to pay any money in franchise taxes. To determine this, check if either of the below statements are true:

  • Your S corp’s annual revenue falls below the “no tax due” threshold of $1,230,000.
  • Your S corp’s calculated franchise tax liability is less than $1,000.

Even if you don’t owe any franchise taxes, you must still file an annual franchise tax report consisting of a Texas Franchise Tax Public Information Report (Form 05-102) and a Texas Franchise Tax No Tax Due Report (Form 05-163).

What if I Have to Pay the Texas Franchise Tax?

If you fail to meet the “no tax due” criteria and owe Texas franchise taxes, you must file an annual franchise tax report. This consists of the Texas Franchise Tax Public Information Report (Form 05-102) and a Long-Form Texas Franchise Tax Report (Forms 05-158-A and 05-158-B) or a Texas Franchise Tax EZ Computation Report (Form 05-169).

Texas Franchise Tax Rate

In order to calculate how much you’ll owe in Texas franchise taxes, use the following criteria:

  • 0.375% of taxable margins for businesses that focus on retail or wholesale
  • 0.75% of taxable margins for all other companies (not retail or wholesale)
  • 0.331% of total revenue for companies using the EZ computation method

Visit our step-by-step Texas Annual Report guide for more help with the filing process. 

NOTE: If your Texas S corp is a C corporation (C corp) instead of an LLC, you’ll still need to file an annual franchise tax report with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Texas S Corp Taxes

S corporations benefit from pass-through taxation, meaning the business’s profits pass-through to S corp owners’ individual tax returns. S corp owners make money from their reasonable salary and distributions, and Texas S corp owners can expect to pay the following taxes:

Federal Self-Employment Taxes

Self-employment taxes cover social security and medicare. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3%, and money you take as salary will be subjected to the self-employment tax. However, distributions are not subjected to this tax.

Federal Income Taxes

Your federal income taxes will depend on your tax bracket, and the cutoffs for individual tax brackets as well as the percent owed will change each year. Both your salary and distributions are subjected to federal income tax.

Texas Income Taxes

Texas has no personal income tax. Only seven states have no income tax while some have income tax rates that exceed 10%. The lack of a personal income tax makes Texas a great place to start a business and likely contributes to the state’s booming economy.

Texas Franchise Tax

As mentioned above, your S corp is, technically, structured as an LLC or C corp. As such, it may be responsible for paying Texas franchise taxes.

Texas Sales and Use Tax

If you sell taxable services in Texas — or sell or lease tangible personal property in the state — you must collect sales tax. Texas has a state sales tax rate of 6.25%, but many Texas cities charge an additional sales tax on top of that. 

To register for sales tax with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, use the state’s eSystems platform. 

Additional State Taxes

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts collects more than 60 different state-specific taxes. We recommend you consult with a professional lawyer and/or accountant to ensure you pay all the taxes required for your business. 

Some examples of additional taxes and fees Texas small businesses may have to pay include:

  • Coastal Protection Fee
  • Motor Vehicle Taxes
  • Natural Gas Production Tax
  • Tobacco, Cigarette, and E-Cigarette Taxes and Fees

Visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website for more information about state taxes.

Texas Local Taxes

From Austin to Dallas, each city and municipality may have its own local rules that can affect how your business operates. Check with your local government to learn more.

Start a Texas S Corp FAQ

An S corporation (S corp) is a tax designation that an LLC or a corporation can elect.

No. The default taxes for an LLC and taxes for an S corp are not the same.

With an S corp, owners pay personal income tax and self-employment tax on a predetermined salary. They may then withdraw any remaining profits from the business as a “distribution,” which isn’t subject to self-employment tax.

With an LLC, all company profits pass through to the owners’ personal tax returns, and then the owners must pay personal income tax and self-employment tax on the entire amount.

S corp owners are required to earn a “reasonable” salary, which basically means a fair market rate based on the individual’s qualifications as well as their duties and responsibilities at the company. The purpose of this requirement is to prevent S corp owners from paying themselves an artificially low salary in order to pay less self-employment tax.

A distribution is a dividend that a shareholder/owner can take from the business profits that remain after a company pays all of its employee salaries. Shareholders must pay personal income tax on distributions, but distributions aren’t subject to self-employment tax.

LLCs and corporations that operate under a “doing business as” (DBA) name can choose the S corp election.

Texas has a robust economy that’s home to many industries beyond agriculture, including a growing technology industry, oil and natural gas companies, manufacturing firms, and more. Whether you plan to start a local restaurant, open a boutique retail shop, or offer a specialty service, your business can exist as an S corp if you meet the IRS’s requirements for an S corp.

Given its supportive business landscape, low taxes, and business incentives, Texas is a great state in which to start a business and form an S corp.

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