How To Register a Foreign LLC in Texas

To register a foreign LLC in Texas you’ll need to file an Application for Registration of a Foreign Limited Liability Company (Form 304) with the Secretary of State. The application comes with a filing fee of $750, and online filing is available through SOSDirect, the Secretary of State’s business portal. Most online applications are processed in 2 working days.

If you want to avoid late fees, you’ll need to register your company with the Texas S.O.S. within 90 days from when you first begin transacting business in Texas.

What is a Foreign LLC in Texas? 

The phrase “foreign LLC” might conjure up images of a multinational company, but this is actually just a way of describing an LLC from a different U.S. state. For example, an LLC originally formed in California (that expands into Texas) is a foreign LLC in Texas. If your LLC was organized under the laws of a state other than Texas, you’ll need to register your company as a foreign Texas LLC in order to legally transact business here.

Steps To Register a Foreign LLC in Texas

While filing your Application for Registration is the biggest step of setting up your foreign Texas LLC, there are a few additional tasks you’ll need to complete on either side of the application process. Here’s a quick DIY guide to the ins and outs of expanding your foreign LLC into Texas. (You can also hire our experienced team to complete your foreign registration if you’d rather not take on the paperwork). Read on to learn more.

1. Check Entity Name Availability

If you want your Texas foreign LLC registration to go smoothly, it would be prudent to see if your desired entity name is available before you move ahead with the paperwork. There are three different ways to check for name availability:

  • Call the Texas Secretary of States’ business and public filings clerks at (512) 463-5555.
  • Email your desired name and ask for availability to the clerks at 
  • Use Texas’ SOSDirect Web Portal to do a search for your desired name (note that each search costs $1).

If you discover that your entity’s legal name is too similar to a business name already in use in Texas, you’ll need to choose an “assumed name” to operate under in the state. In addition to stating your assumed name on your Application for Registration, you’ll need to file an assumed name certificate (Form 503) with the Secretary of State.

2. Designate a Texas Registered Agent 

Every entity in our state needs a Texas registered agent, so your next step will be choosing an individual or business with a Texas street address that can accept service of process on behalf of your business. In addition to accepting official mail and legal papers, your Texas registered agent will be a valuable local contact, offering compliance support, sending reminders and assisting with any necessary business filings.

Our foreign Texas LLC package includes one year of our local registered agent service, so you get everything you need right off the bat. Along with our Texas registered agent service you receive a local business address to protect your privacy, free Texas mail forwarding, compliance tracking and more.

3. Fill out your Texas Application for Registration

You’ve verified that your business name is available and chosen a Texas registered agent—which means you’re ready to complete your Application for Registration (Form 304). If you elect to file it through the mail, keep in mind that the Secretary of State will need two copies mailed in to them. Applying through the SOSDirect Web Portal is the fastest method, but note that there is a 2.7% credit card processing fee that will bring your end total to $770.25.

To accurately complete the Texas Application for Registration, you will need to provide the following information:

  • The name of your LLC. 
  • Your LLC’s federal tax identification number (if you don’t have one, simply note this fact on your form).
  • The state and date in which your LLC was initially formed.
  • Your LLC’s principle business address (in its home state). 
  • The name and address of your Texas registered agent. 
  • The name and address of each member of your LLC (list your registered agent’s address in place of personal addresses to protect member privacy).
  • Your signature or e-signature, if you file online.

4. Send In Your Documents and Await Processing

Once you have completed your documents, it’s time to play the waiting game! If you e-file, you should receive a .zip file with a scan of your approved documents in around 2 business days. If you filed through the mail, you should receive the approved Application for Registration documents back in the mail in 5-10 business days. If your Texas Foreign LLC documents are denied for any reason, they will be mailed back to you with an explanation regarding why they were rejected.

If you file via mail, the Application for Registration (along with a copy, and a check or money order for $750) should be mailed to:

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

If you file via fax, the Application for Registration (along with a copy) should be sent to (512)-463-570. You’ll also need to include credit card information with your documents (Payment Form 807).

5. Secure Any Necessary Business Licenses & Register For State Taxes

Once your Texas Foreign LLC is set up, the Secretary of State makes it simple to obtain the required licenses for your business. Most business licenses, as well as the permit for collecting sales tax, can be filed for online.

Procuring these licenses and being prepared for your initial franchise tax report will be necessities going forward if you wish to proactively maintain and manage your Texas Foreign LLC.

Annual Franchise Tax 

In lieu of an LLC tax or an annual report, Texas applies a franchise tax to all for-profit business entities. Generally speaking, unless your LLC grosses over $1,180,000 in revenue, you will not have any annual franchise taxes due. If your LLC grosses over that threshold, your overall tax due is based on numerous factors such as the nature of your business and your Texas Foreign LLC’s overall revenue. More information on the annual franchise tax can be found at the Texas Comptroller’s website or on our Texas Franchise Tax page.

Business Licensing

The need for a business license to operate in the State of Texas is dependent on the location and nature of your foreign LLC in Texas. If you provide goods or services to customers, you will more than likely need a business license, and you will need to check with the Municipal government of the city that your Texas foreign LLC is based in. After your Texas foreign LLC is formed you can easily discern if you need to apply for a Texas Business License from Texas’ state website.

Sales Tax Permit

If your foreign Texas LLC leases, sells/rents tangible personal property, or renders services to customers, you will need to get a sales tax license. A permit for withholding sales tax is obtained from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website and your Texas foreign LLC’s file number will be needed to get it, so make sure to have your approved Application for Registration handy. You should allow 2-3 weeks for your permit to arrive and if your Texas foreign LLC has a dedicated retail space, it should be posted there at all times.

With Us, Texas Foreign LLC Registration Couldn’t Be Easier!

At Lone Star Registered Agent, our mission is to expertly handle every aspect of your foreign registration so you can focus on growing your business. We’re a proud Texas Business and nothing makes us happier than helping others bring their services to the Lone Star State.

For just $150 plus your state fees, we set you up with everything you need to start doing business in Texas today. Here’s what’s included with our feature-packed foreign registration service:

  • Same Day Submission of Your Documents
    We get to work on your order immediately and submit your Application for Registration to the Secretary of State within one business day.
  • One Year of Texas Registered Agent Service
    We provide clients with secure, online accounts; document tracking; Texas mail forwarding; access to pre-populated state forms; and the best Texas registered agent service around.
  • Exceptional Customer Support
    We’re here to help your business at every turn! Our customer service team can guide you through all the ins and outs of doing business in Texas.
  • Privacy Protection
    There’s no need to add your personal address (or any other member addresses) to your public formation documents. We include a local Texas business address for every client to list on their state forms.

Foreign Texas LLC FAQ

Want to learn more? Here are a few of the most common questions we hear about registering a foreign LLC in Texas.

+ What Does It Mean to “Transact Business” in Texas?

The Texas Business Organizations Code (B.O.C.) doesn’t exactly give a straight answer to this question. Instead, the statutes provide a list of activities that do not qualify as “transacting business.” These activities include defending a lawsuit, maintaining a bank account or conducting a one-time business transaction.

But in general: if your company has an office, storefront, warehouse or sales representative in Texas, then your company is transacting business in Texas. It will be subject to the same state regulations, taxes and fees as a domestic Texas entity.

+ When Should I File My Paperwork?

Before the end of your entity’s 90-day grace period. If your LLC has been conducting business in Texas for more than 90 days and you have yet to file for a Texas Application for Registration, you’ll likely pay a late fee. This fee is at the discretion of the Secretary of State, and if assessed can be equal to the registration fee ($750). To avoid the risk entirely, you’ll want to get your LLC’s state paperwork submitted well before the 90-day deadline.

+ How Much Are the Texas Foreign LLC Fees?

$750 if you file in person, by mail or by fax; $770.25 if you file online. Expanding your business into Texas doesn’t come cheap. But the payoff—in the form of a low-tax environment and strong state economy—is big too.

Sign Up With Lone Star For Complete Peace of Mind

Taking your business across state lines is a lot easier with a team of business specialists in your corner. From submitting your documents in one day, to providing Texas registered agent service you can trust, Lone Star is here to support you on your business journey. Sign up for our foreign LLC or Texas registered agent service today.

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