Texas LLC Name Search

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A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Texas LLC name rules.

This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.

How to search an LLC name in Texas

You can search a Texas LLC name 3 ways:

1. Call the State

Call the State Business Information Line at 512-463-5555 and tell them: “Hello, I am forming an LLC and I’d like to check to see if my name is available.

We recommend having 1-2 alternative names ready in case your desired LLC name is not available. This will save you from having to make multiple phone calls.

Tip: For LLC naming tips, check out how to come up with a good business name. It’s a good idea to think of a name you really like, so you don’t have to change it later. While you can change an LLC name later (via a Certificate of Amendment), it costs $150. Additionally, you have to update the IRS, the Texas Comptroller, your bank, and every other agency/registration.

To avoid long hold times, it’s best to call right when they open at 8am.

Their phone hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm Central Time.

It’s important to note, that as per 79.45, if the person on the phone tells you that your LLC name is available, while it’s likely your name will be approved, this isn’t 100% guaranteed. Final LLC name determination is made when the state receives your Certificate of Formation (or if you file a name reservation). Having said that, if your Certificate of Formation is rejected, don’t worry; the state isn’t going to steal your money. They’ll send you a letter or email letting you know to refile with a different LLC name.

2. Send an Email

The Texas Secretary of State replies to emails very fast. You can send them an email and ask them to lookup a few LLC names.

We made an email template for you. Just click this link which generates a ready-to-send email.

Note: If you use Gmail and Chrome, try the Chrome extension called “Send from Gmail (by Google)”.

If the link above doesn’t work for you, you can send an email manually. You can copy and paste the template from this page: TX LLC Name Search Email Template

3. Search the State’s Online Database

While this method isn’t as reliable as #1 and #2, it may still be helpful.

You can search existing businesses in Texas on the Taxable Entity Search page of the Comptroller’s website.

The video below will show you how to search LLC names in Texas.

  • The video starts with an overview of LLC name rules, then at 8 min. 20 sec. you can see searches being completed.
  • The user interface has since been updated, but the same principles still apply.
  • Don’t enter the LLC designator (LLC, L.L.C., etc) while doing searches.
  • Search the singular and plural form of words. For example, if your LLC name has the word “Contractors” in it, also do a search with “Contractor”.
  • Search the first 1-2 words of your LLC name. For example, if your desired LLC name is “Austin Roof Repair Company LLC”, do a search for “austin roof”.
  • The goal is to look for any potential name conflicts and to come up with a unique LLC name.
Texas LLC - Name Search

What LLC designators can I use in Texas?

As per Section 5.056 of the Texas Business Organizations Code, your LLC must have one of the following designators:

  • LC
  • L.C.
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Ltd. Co.
  • Ltd. Company
  • Limited Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Company

Additional notes:

  • The periods in the above examples are optional
  • If you’re not sure which to pick, “LLC” is the most common and easiest to recognize
  • As per 79.37, an LLC can’t only use the word “Limited”, “Ltd.”, “Company”, or “Co.”

Do Texas LLC name lookups cost money?

No, you can search your Texas LLC name for free.

While the state does provide access to information for a $5 fee, that’s only if you’re searching your LLC name by mail or by fax. But who searches their LLC name by mail or fax… what is this, the 1960s? LOL!

Anyway, the three methods at the top of this page are free.

Do I have to file an LLC name reservation?

There’s a lot of incorrect information on the internet that makes it sound like an LLC name reservation is required. This is usually just a waste of most people’s time and money.

The answer is no, an LLC name reservation is not required; it’s optional.

If you run through the 3 methods above, there’s a 95% chance your LLC name is good. If the state rejects your filing because of the name, they’re not going to steal your money. They’ll just send you a letter (or an email) telling you to file again with a different name.

When would an LLC name reservation apply?

If you’ve thought of a phenomenal LLC name months before you’re ready to form an LLC in Texas, you can reserve your LLC name and “lock it up” for 6 months.

Subchapter C (of Title 1, Chapter 5) governs LLC name reservations. In short:

  • a name reservation costs $40
  • it can be filed by mail (Form 501) or online via SOSDirect
  • a name reservation lasts for 120 days
  • it can be renewed for 30 days (no limit to the number of renewals)

For more information, please see the state’s website: name reservations

But aren’t Texas LLC name rules super strict?

They used to be crazy strict. You used to have to think of like 10 LLC names before you contacted the state… since most wouldn’t be available even if they were remotely close to an existing business name.

However, things have changed.

House Bill 2856 was signed and new LLC name availability rules went into effect in the summer of 2018.

In short, the bill loosened the rules around how strict name availability was previously. While your desired LLC name still needs to be “distinguishable”, the examiners (those reviewing incoming LLC filings) don’t have to follow such rigid guidelines.

This also helped make Texas’ LLC name laws more uniform with other states.

Do I need a DBA name for my LLC, too?

No, you don’t have to to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your Texas LLC.

A DBA (officially known as an Assumed Name in Texas) lets your LLC do business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name in the Certificate of Formation).

If you want your LLC to do business under a name that’s different than its true and legal name, you have to file with the Secretary of State (Form 503).

For more information, please see does my LLC need an Assumed Name?

What’s an example of when an LLC would use an Assumed Name?

Let’s say you form an LLC called “Jane’s Imports and Exports LLC”, but you also want to sell via a small retail shop. You’re thinking a friendlier, customer-facing name would be good, like “Jane’s Shop”. In this case, your LLC would need to file an Assumed Name called “Jane’s Shop”.

In another example, let’s say you have the same LLC, but you want to do business without the letters “LLC” in the name. In this case, your LLC would need to file an Assumed Name called “Jane’s Imports and Exports”.

Note: There is no limit to the number of Assumed Names an LLC can have.

The other nitty-gritty Texas LLC name rules

In addition to the LLC name guidelines in the Texas Business Organizations Code (BOC), you can find further details in Subchapter C (Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 79) of the Texas Administrative Code.

We’ve highlighted some important rules and guidelines below.

Letters, characters, numbers, and symbols

Your LLC name can include the following:

  • letters of the Roman alphabet
  • numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9)
  • the following symbols: ! ” $ % ‘ ( ) * ? # = @ [] / + & –

Keep in mind:

  • All LLC names will appear in exactly the same font in the database (this is how the state “normalizes” their records)
  • Subscript and superscript characters are not recognized (CO2 will be input as CO2 in the database)
  • Letters can be UPPERCASE, lowercase, and/or Capitalized

Corporate designators

Different “endings” don’t make names distinguishable.

  • “Mike’s Bikes LLC” and “Mike’s Bikes Inc.” are not distinguishable

Articles of speech (a, an, the) and conjunctions (and)

The use of articles of speech and conjunctions usually don’t make name distinguishable.

  • “A Pizza Shop”, “Pizza Shop”, and “The Pizza Shop” (regardless of designator) are not distinguishable
  • “Mountains Climbing” and “Mountains and Climbing” (regardless of designator) are not distinguishable

Words you can’t use and things you can’t do

  • You can’t imply your LLC is a part of the federal or state government
  • Unless you have authorization, your LLC name can’t imply that it issues insurance
  • Unless you have authorization, your LLC name can’t imply that it is a bank
  • The word “bail bond” can’t be used in an LLC name
  • An LLC name can’t imply it engages in illegal activities
  • You cannot use a name which is grossly offensive

Olympic

Unless you have written authorization from the U.S. Olympic Committee, you can’t use the words Olympic, Olympiad, or Citius Altius Fortius in your LLC name.

Banking

Unless you have written authorization from the Texas Banking Commissioner, you can’t use the words Bank, Bank and Trust, Trust, Trust Company, or any similar words or terms in your LLC name.

College/School

Unless you have written authorization from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, you can’t use the words College, University, School of Medicine, Medical School, Health Science Center, School of Law, Law Center, or Law School in your LLC name.

For the benefit of war veterans

Unless you have written authorization from the appropriate veterans organization (pursuant to Section 5.062), you can’t use the words Veteran, Legion, Foreign, Spanish, Disabled, War, or World War in your LLC name.

Use of Spanish or different language

You can use Spanish words or words from different languages, as long as the characters utilize the Roman alphabet. The Texas Secretary of State will not translate the words, so if your LLC name (expressed in Spanish) has the same meaning as an LLC name expressed in English, you’ll be allowed to use it.

  • “Lápiz Azul” and “Blue Pen” are distinguishable
  • “Inteligente Solutions” and “Intelligent Solutions” are distinguishable

Further distinguishability details

While there are far more details about LLC name distinguishability (79.38, 79.39, 79.40, 79.43, and 79.44), their examples are too long to list out here.

Feel free to browse through to learn more about LLC name distinguishability. However, the fastest and easiest way to check your LLC name is to call or email the state (see top of page).

Questions? Secretary of State contact info

If you are having technical difficulties with the online search, or you are still not sure if your desired LLC name is available for use, you can call the Texas Business Information Line at 512-463-5555.

Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm Central Time.

Next Step: Texas Registered Agent

After you’ve found a Texas LLC name that’s available, you can proceed to the next lesson: Texas Registered Agent.

And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.

Matt Horwitz


Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

15 comments on “Texas Name Search”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. We want to reserve the names:
    Asante Design
    Asante Industries

    We were told recently that they are available. I cannot find where I can reserve these names. We were told it would cost about 49.00 each. Please send link to where I can pay to reserve. Thank you.

    Sousanne Miller

    • Hi Sousanne, you’ll want to file Form 501 (“Application for Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of an Entity Name“). The filing fee is $40 per name. However, before sending this form in, I strongly recommend calling the Texas Corporation Section at 512-463-5555 and asking them to do a preliminary LLC name check for clearance. Call shortly after 8am (if you can) to avoid longer hold times. Texas has very strict rules regarding LLC name distinguishability. If you’re ready to form your Texas LLC right away, you don’t have to file a Name Reservation ahead of time. You can just go ahead and file Form 205 (“Certificate of Formation“). However, if you’re not ready to form your LLC just yet, then of course you can reserve the names for use at a later date. Your LLC Name Reservation will be good for 120 days. Hope that helps!

  2. We are ready to file for an LLC named ‘Petrodecks’ operating in the oil and gas industry but there is another entity named ‘Petrodex USA’ that manufactures dental products for animals/pets. What is your opinion on the distinguishability of these names? Thank you.

    • Hi Spencer, Texas has recently adjusted their name distinguishability laws this year (making them more relaxed), so the best thing to do is call the Texas Corporations Section and ask them. They run searches by phone and will let you know. Hope that helps.

  3. Hi Matt,
    If there is an existing entity, as an example, in the database as “Blue Frogs, Inc.”, is at allowable for me to get the name “Blue Frogs, LLC” or “Blue Frog Interests, LLC”?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Stuart, “Blue Frogs, LLC” is not distinguishable. “Blue Frogs Interests, LLC” likely is, however, we recommend calling the Texas Corporations Section to double-check. The state also loosened some of their name distinguishability rules earlier in 2018. Hope that helps.

  4. Am I required to file an Application for Reservation of an Entity Name?

    Or can I just file the Certificate of Formation if I have verified my business name is available?

    • Hi Jonathan, LLC name reservations are not required. You can just file the Certificate of Formation. Hope that helps.

  5. Hello Matt,

    Thanks for such a helpful and easy to digest information source, it made my life easy, and I finally filed my LLC application yesterday.

    I have some questions related to DBA.

    I operate business in business services related to business analysis reports & business training programs, digital marketing and bookkeeping. I have separate websites for marketing and bookkeeping services, and I am using different names for to marketing these services. This even helps with SEO by having different websites.

    I want to have only one bank account and one EIN to keep everything simple, easy and faster.

    Do I need to file DBA for these different services which I am marketing with different names? ( I have mentioned on these websites that these are our brands of my LLC)
    I am even planing to jump in e-commerce and have some websites for on-line selling. These will be only on-line selling stores. I will market these websites with different names but will display that these are products/brands of my LLC. Do I need to file DBA for these websites?

    Thanks.

    • HI Victor, it’s challenging to say for sure. Some would say it’s necessary since the LLC is doing business under multiple names, and others would say it’s overkill, especially since it sounds like you have a lot of sites and are testing a lot of things. If you make it clear that people are doing business with the LLC, you likely don’t need to register all those DBAs. However, to be on the safe side, you may need to register the DBA if the LLC is doing business under a name other than its true and legal name. Hope that helps a bit.

  6. Hi Matt, thanks for being super informative. I have 2 different real-estate businesses first one is fix & flips and the second is Airbnb. Do I have to get a separate LLC or can they both operate under same LLC?

    • Hi Menachem, you’re very welcome. You don’t have to form 2 LLCs. It’s up to you. You can if you want to, but no rule forces you to do so. You can operate multiple business activities under one LLC. We have some more details here: two businesses under one LLC. Hope that helps!

  7. Hi, I am wondering your thoughts if I were to want one “umbrella” LLC. In this umbrella company I’d like to have 1 consumer product brand with the potential to launch another down the road. What would you recommend? Would I have to do something specific for each brand that I would launch under the “umbrella” company?

    • Hi Charlie, what do you mean by umbrella company? Some people use that term to refer to a holding company, meaning a company that doesn’t transact any business, but rather, it simply owns other companies. Those child companies (aka subsidiaries) transact business. Is that what you mean, or something different? Also, what are you trying to accomplish with this structure?

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