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Why Start a Houston LLC?

Houston, Texas, is a top choice for many small business owners, offering plenty of opportunities and incentives. One of the biggest is its lack of personal or corporate income tax, which allows owners to increase profits and channel more funds back into their business. Texas, on the whole, is extremely business-friendly, and you’ll find plenty of state grant opportunities, startup incubators, and funding programs for entrepreneurs.

Houston is the biggest city in the larger-than-life state of Texas, but did you know it’s also the fourth-largest city in the U.S. — coming in just under New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago? It has a booming metropolitan area with a thriving economy. It’s also a global center for healthcare, aerospace research, and culture, and it serves as the headquarters for more Fortune 500 companies than any city except NYC.

If you’re ready to find a business home deep in the heart of Texas, read on to learn how to get your Houston LLC off the ground.

Benefits of Starting a Houston LLC:

  • No state income tax means more profit for your business.

  • Startups are thriving in Houston, with hundreds of millions of dollars being invested.

  • The cost of living in Houston is among the lowest of any major metropolitan city, making your home-based business much more affordable.

  • The city invests in small businesses with plenty of incentives available to those who qualify.

  • Houston offers office and coworking spaces at a much better price than comparably sized cities.

In addition to these factors, Houston is a diverse and forward-thinking city with a deep commitment to culture and arts.

Ready to form your Houston LLC? Here’s how:


How to Form a Houston LLC Yourself in 6 Steps


Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search

You’ll need to choose a business name that’s different from every other business in Houston and all of Texas. When coming up with a business name, it’s important to make sure it’s memorable and not overly complicated. But if you need a little jumpstart for your creativity, use a Business Name Generator to compile a list of ideas.

After you decide on your favorite name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available to use in Houston. That means checking the names of all registered businesses in the state of Texas (no easy feat).

Start your search with the Texas Secretary of State, but be prepared to pay $1 per search. Alternatively, you can use a free Business Name Search Tool to find out if your name is available.

What do you do if your top pick isn’t free to use? Start your search over again in the Name Generator, but input different keywords. Remember to also check for available URLs for your website to make sure it will be as close as possible to your business name.

We can search the Texas company registry for you


Provide an Official Business Address (or Get a Virtual Address)

To form your Houston LLC, you’ll need a legal street address in the state of Texas. That’s not always possible or desirable if you don’t have a physical office space or work from a home-based business. Get a Texas street address and protect your privacy by using a Virtual Address service.

The benefits of this type of service are many. You’ll have a legitimate street address in your state when you file your Articles of Organization, but you’ll also get access to valuable mail management services. Your service provider will compile digital copies of your mail, which you can then check from wherever you are. Need hard copies? A Virtual Address service can forward those to you, while everything else will be shredded and disposed of appropriately.


Assign a Registered Agent

When you’re starting a Texas LLC, you’ll need to name a Registered Agent during the formation process. What’s a Registered Agent? It’s an individual (or service provider) who receives important legal documents for your business.

It’s possible to be your own Registered Agent, though we don’t typically recommend it — even for hardcore DIYers. Why? Because Registered Agents have to be available during all business hours, all through the year. They must also be accessible in your state of formation. This can restrict your ability to travel or go anywhere you won’t be reachable during business hours.

Registered Agents are also served very sensitive documents, so if you work from home, you may not want your neighbors to witness all the comings and goings. Having a dedicated Registered Agent or Registered Agent service protects your privacy and frees up your time.


File Your Certificate of Formation With the Texas Secretary of State

A Certificate of Formation, which you may also hear referred to as Articles of Organization, is the paperwork you file with your state’s business formation agency to make your LLC a legal business entity. In Houston, you’ll file this document with the Texas (SoS).

If you want to file your LLC on your own, you can start by filling out the Certificate of Formation form through the Texas SoS. Before you get started, gather all of the business information you’ll need.

Here’s what you must gather:

  • Your business name and address
  • Your Registered Agent details
  • The purpose of your business
  • Whether the business is perpetual or limited in duration
  • Provisions on how you’ll regulate the internal affairs of the company
  • Names and addresses of all LLC members or managers
  • Name of the LLC organizer

Once completed, you can file online with the Texas SoS. You also have other filing options, including:

By Mail

Texas Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697

In Person

James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos
Austin, TX 78701

By Fax

(512) 463-5709

Certificate of Formation filing only happens once, but every year, you’ll need to file and possibly pay the Texas Franchise Tax.


Whether you have to pay depends on how much revenue your business generates. In Texas, the franchise tax threshold is fairly high, which is favorable to many small businesses.

Let Incfile Handle all the Houston LLC Paperwork for You for $0 + State Fee

What Are the Fees and Requirements to Form a Houston LLC?

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$300 4 Weeks 3 Business Days
State Fee $300
State Filing Time 4 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 3 Business Days

Annual Report



Due Date

Between January 1st and May 15th.

Filing Fee

No charge for the Public Information Report. Franchise Tax Fee is based on business revenue.


Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) From the IRS

An Employer Identification Number, usually referred to as an EIN, is a nine-digit number assigned to your business to identify it to the IRS. Contrary to the name, you don’t have to have employees in your business to need or want an EIN. An EIN is crucial when opening business bank accounts, applying for business loans and funding, and protecting you from identity theft and fraud.

If you want to get an EIN on your own, you can apply directly with the IRS. That service is free to use, but there are a few caveats. In order to get a free EIN, you must apply during the IRS’s dedicated hours and complete the application in a single session. If your session times out, you won’t be able to start another one until the next business day.

This is why many business owners choose to use an EIN service like Incfile. With this service, Incfile files the paperwork for you and gets your EIN back to you within one business day. In addition, you’ll be able to access your EIN from your dashboard, so you can view it whenever you need.


Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a blueprint for your business. It isn’t always required, but it’s extremely helpful to have one for any type of business, as it provides guidance for steps forward in certain situations, like disagreements between members, the death of an owner, or dissolution of the business.

Operating agreements are not required in Texas, so you won’t need to file one with the state. However, we recommend creating one for your own use — you’ll be glad to have it if and when you need it. If you’re wondering what should go into your Houston LLC operating agreement, it can be helpful to use an operating agreement template. A custom operating agreement is included when you form your LLC with Incfile as part of our Gold or Platinum packages.

Get a Custom Operating Agreement Free When You Go With Gold or Platinum Packages From Incfile

Other Houston LLC Types

LLCs are flexible, but they aren’t one-size-fits-all. You might need another type of LLC for your Houston business.

Series LLC

If you’re planning for multiple businesses, you might opt for a series LLC. This type of LLC has one master or parent LLC with multiple LLCs below it. You can’t get a series LLC in every state, but you’re in luck with your Houston business, as SLLCs are permitted in Texas.

To set up a Houston SLLC, follow the process for LLC filing as outlined above. On your Certificate of Formation application, indicate that you’re filing for a series LLC.

Professional LLC

A professional LLC is a specialized LLC used in some states for business owners who are practicing professionals in certain — usually licensed — industries. A Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) functions just like a standard LLC, and it is permitted in Houston and the entire state of Texas. However, you would have to be licensed to operate in an approved PLLC field in order to set it up.

There is a separate PLLC form you must file to form your business.

Foreign LLC

If you live outside of Texas but still want to start a Houston LLC, or if you’re a Houston resident hoping to start a business in another state, you’ll need to apply for foreign qualification. When you secure foreign qualification, you can run a business in a state other than the one it’s based in.

Read More: Texas Foreign LLC registration.

Helpful Resources for Houston, Texas Businesses

Common Questions About Creating an LLC in Houston

Have more questions on the specifics of starting a Houston LLC? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for.

How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Houston?

View the cost here to form an LLC in Houston. This fee is determined by the state’s business formation agency, which, in this case, is the Texas Secretary of State. This cost does not include any fees you might incur for business formation support, nor does it include any business startup costs.

Where Do I Register My LLC in Houston, Texas?

You will register your LLC with the Texas Secretary of State. You can choose how you’d like to do that, whether you register yourself online, in person, or by fax, or if you’d prefer to use a business formation service like Incfile. If that’s the case, simply fill out the form on the service provider’s website — once completed, your paperwork will be immediately turned in to the Texas SoS.

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