How to obtain a business license in Texas

Updated on December 21, 2023


Securing a business license is essential for legal operation in Texas. This guide offers comprehensive insights into licensing requirements, application processes, costs, necessary documents, compliance, and special considerations for various industries in Texas.

Who Needs a Business License in Texas

Nearly all commercial business entities require licensing in TX, including retailers, restaurants, professional service providers, contractors, tradespeople and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines of up to $500 per day of unlicensed operation, potential business closure after repeat violations, and possible criminal prosecution.

Understanding Texas Business Licenses

Common Texas licenses needed:

  • Sales tax permits – To charge, collect, and remit sales taxes
  • Local business licenses – Requirements vary across TX municipalities
  • Professional licenses – For healthcare, legal services, real estate, etc.
  • Industry licenses – Liquor stores, cannabis dispensaries, etc.

Preparing to Apply for a License

Utilize Texas’ License Finder tools and resources to determine necessary permits and registrations. Gather business formation documents, ownership details, lease agreements, and financial statements. Fees vary by license type.

Step-By-Step Guide to Apply

To apply for licenses in Texas, visit the Texas Official Business Portal, use the License Finder, select required licenses, provide business information, pay fees, and await approval.

To apply digitally:

  1. Access Texas Official Business Portal
  2. Utilize License Finder and Application Assistant
  3. Select the required license types
  4. Provide requested business and owner details
  5. Pay fees
  6. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

On average, online submissions are typically processed within 10-15 days after submitting all documentation. Monitor your status via the Business Portal.

Administrators contact applicants by phone or email to resolve concerns if issues arise.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain legally compliant in Texas once licensed:

  • Display licenses visibly on-site
  • Renew licenses annually before expiration dates
  • Remit timely tax and licensing payments
  • Maintain required insurance policies
  • Report changes to ownership, activities, locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Don’t forget federal registrations such as an Employer ID Number (EIN) and trademark protections in Texas.

Special Considerations

Texas regulatory agencies verify specific licensing requirements for businesses like liquor stores, casinos, and healthcare providers.

Registering Your Business Name

File trade name certificates via the Texas Secretary of State if operating under “Doing Business As” names.

Texas Tax Permits

Common tax registrations include Sales Tax Permits, Mixed Beverage Permits, and Motor Vehicle Seller Permits.


Who Needs a Texas Business License?

Most commercial entities in Texas, including retailers, contractors, and hospitality companies, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in Texas?

License fees range from $25 to over $750, depending on the license type. Multiyear discounts are sometimes available.

How long does it take to get business Licenses in Texas?

Online applications for business licenses in Texas are typically processed within 10-15 days after submission of all required documentation. Paper applications may take longer to process.

Final Thoughts

Adhering to licensing protocols in Texas is essential for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize digital registration options for efficient processing.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.