Texas Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Texas Comptroller’s Office and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris’ and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the county.

Sole proprietors and general partners should start with a business name search through their local county clerk’s office. Search the county records for your exact business name in the County’s Assumed Name books or online. If the name has been abandoned, it can be legally used again. Many county clerk offices will provide a name search service for a nominal fee. The whole search process can often be taken care of through the mail. Contact the local county clerk for more information.  Find a County Clerk in Texas.

Finally, if the company name is available, fill out the Assumed Name form and have it notarized. Then file it with the county clerk’s office. The county clerk will keep the original Assumed Name Certificate, so be sure to request two certified copies, one for the bank and one for your business records.

Sole proprietors and general partners should register for an Assumed Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) for their business with county clerks in all counties where they plan to conduct business.

In the state of Texas, filing an Assumed Name Certificate does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same Assumed Name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their Assumed Names.

Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a business license with the state of Texas. House cleaning businesses must apply for a business license at their city and county clerk’s office.  Find a County Clerk in Texas.

In Texas, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. General partners are not required to file any documents with the Secretary of State. It is advisable for general partners to file an Assumed Name or DBA in the county where the business is based. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft. You can apply for an EIN online. In addition, some business registration forms will require a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Residential house cleaning services are taxable in Texas. Cleaning services must collect and send sales taxes to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.  Get more information about cleaning services and sales taxes.

Apply for a Sales Tax Permit through the Texas Comptroller’s WebFile eSystems Portal.

Texas has no personal income tax. Sole proprietors and general partners do not owe tax on business income through a state income tax. Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to pay estimated self-employment income taxes in Texas similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Sole proprietors and general partners also do not have to pay the Business Franchise tax if their business revenue is less than $1.3 million per year.

Texas general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file a state partnership tax form. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file that return.

Selected Texas City Licenses

Arlington Business License: http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/county-clerk/vital-records/assumed-names.html

Austin Business License: http://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/Content.do?code=R.13

Corpus Christi Business License: http://www.nuecesco.com/county-services/county-clerk/filing-department/assumed-name

Dallas Business License: https://www.dallascounty.org/government/county-clerk/assumed-names.php

El Paso Business License: https://apps.epcounty.com/publicrecords/AssumedNames (link to the form is on the same page)

Fort Worth Business License: https://www.tarrantcounty.com/en/county-clerk/vital-records/assumed-names.html

Houston Business License: https://www.houstontx.gov/obo/solutionscenter/four_main_business_requirements.html

San Antonio Business License: https://www.bexar.org/2355/Obtain-a-DBA

 

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