Legal Structure, Licensing and Permits

Types of Business Legal Structures

The first step in starting a business is to determine the basic legal structure of the business. There are several options to consider, and all have different legal, financial and tax considerations.

Step 1: Business Structure and Name
There are several legal structures available for businesses operating in Texas. Each structure is listed with a brief description of the entity.

Selecting a Business Structure The decision regarding business structure is a decision that a person should make, in consultation with an attorney and accountant, and taking into consideration issues regarding tax, liability, management, continuity, transferability of ownership interests, and formality of operation.

Incorporating Your Business When you’re starting a business, one of the first decisions you have to make is the type of business you want to create. This decision is important, because the type of business you create determines the types of applications you’ll need to submit.

Register Your Business Name

Once the legal structure of the business has been determined, and if a separate business name will be used, the business name must be registered with the county clerk’s office and for corporations with the Secretary of State.

County Clerk Offices: In addition to recording an assumed name/DBA, services provided by the County Clerk’s Office typically include but are not limited to Real Property Records and Recording; Registrar and issuance of Birth, Death and Marriage Records; Civil Records; Misdemeanor Records; Probate Records; Commissioner Court Records; and Elections.

Ellis County Clerk: Cindy Polley
109 S. Jackson St.
2nd Floor (ground floor)
Waxahachie, TX 75165
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 250
Waxahachie, TX 75168
Ph: (972) 825-5070
Fx: (972) 825-5075

Freestone County Clerk: Linda Jarvis
103 E Main
P O Box 1010
Fairfield, TX 75840
Phone: 903-389-2635

Limestone County Clerk: Peggy Beck
200 W State St, Ste 102 / PO Box 350
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone 254.729.5504 / Fax 254.729.2951

Navarro County Clerk: Sherry Dowd
300 West 3rd Avenue, Suite 101
Corsicana, Texas 75110
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 423
Corsicana, Texas
Phone: 903-654-3035

Texas Secretary of State The SOS Corporations Section is responsible for the receipt, filing and permanent maintenance and retention of documents that create or affect business organizations and non-profit entities. In addition to information on selecting a business structure, this section includes forms designed to meet statutory requirements and facilitate filings with the office.


After choosing a legal structure and filing your business name, determine your federal, state, and local tax obligations.

Step 2: Business Tax Responsibilities The second step for starting a business is to determine the federal, state, and local tax obligations. The following sections briefly discuss each of these areas.

Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center When you’re running a business, you don’t need to be a tax expert, too. But you do need some tax basics. IRS Small Business Advantage gives you the information you need to stay tax compliant so your business can thrive.

Texas Workforce Commission: Tax Information and Transactions Establish a tax account in Texas, file and pay taxes, update tax account or learn more about tax.

Licensing and Permits

Determine necessary licenses, permits, certifications, registrations, and/or authorizations for a specific business on the federal, state, and local levels. Occupational Licenses and Permits View a list of professional licenses that can be applied for or renewed online.

Sales Tax and Your New Business Apply for a sales tax permit using our Texas Online Sales Tax Registration System. An application can also be downloaded from our Tax Forms Online page. You can also obtain an application by calling (800) 252-5555 or by visiting one of our enforcement field offices.

Obtaining Business Licenses and Permits Every business needs to be licensed to legally operate. Depending on your business, you may need to be licensed at the federal, state and/or local level. Beyond a basic operating license, you may need specific permits, such as an environmental permit.

Search for Business Licenses and Permits’s Business Licenses and Permits Search Tool allows you to get a listing of federal, state and local permits, licenses, and registrations you’ll need to run a business.

CareerOneStop: Licensed occupation search Use the Licensed Occupations tool to find contact information about licenses for careers in your state. States provide this data, therefore CareerOneStop cannot guarantee that this information is comprehensive or accurate. Contact the license agency to verify any information provided here.