Do you own a business operating in the state of Texas? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.

But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Texas business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.

Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?

First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.

What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Texas?

The state of Texas does not have a general business license that applies statewide to every business entity, as some states do. However, depending on the nature of your business, there could be several licenses and/or permits that you may be required to obtain.

To determine which permits you need to operate a compliant business, we recommend that you pay a visit to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. This website serves as a helpful resource for learning what occupations are regulated, applying for them, paying fees, and more.

Occupational Licenses and Permits

The occupational licenses and permits required by the state of Texas vary widely, from podiatry to sanitation to architecture and many points in between. Depending on the exact nature of your business, you might need more than one of these permits. You can browse the list of regulated professions here.

Which Tax Registrations are Required for Texas Businesses?

In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.

Every Texas business entity must pay the state’s franchise tax. This essentially serves as a substitute for the corporate income tax levied by most states.

There are also many industry-specific tax registrations in the state of Texas, from boat motor taxes, oyster sales taxes, and more. You can browse a full list of the state’s taxes with the Texas Comptroller.

Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Texas?

The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Texas you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Texas localities.

Unlike the state-wide licenses, there is no one-stop resource for local licenses. You’ll have to do some of your own research to determine which counties and cities require licenses and permits. For example, cities like AustinDallas, and San Antonio all require a wide variety.

If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Texas, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.

Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?

If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.

ZenBusiness can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. We’ll then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in. Plus, if you need help with company formation, we can help with that filing as well.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Texas. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.

We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!

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