What is a business entity, how do I choose one and where do I file?

The answer depends on the balance you seek between complexity of the firm, liability limits, tax implications, the need to raise capital, the need for the business to continue after a death, the number of owners, and so on. If your business is a fairly risk-free "mom and pop" operation then a sole proprietorship or general partnership may be appropriate. For most businesses who plan to grow or engage in activities with risk, limiting their liability will be important. For these companies, an LLC, an LLP, or a Corporation are probably good choices.

Once the legal structure of the business has been determined, and if a separate business name will be used, the business name must be registered with the county clerk's office and/or the Secretary of State. If the business will operate as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, an Assumed Name Certificate or d.b.a. (doing business as) must be on file with the county clerk in each county where a business premise will be maintained.  The McLennan County Clerk's Office may be contacted at:

McLennan County Records Bldg.

215 N 5th St #223-A, Waco, TX 76701

Phone: (254) 757-5078

Fax: (254) 757-5146

Website: http://www.co.mclennan.tx.us/167/Assumed-Names

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1727
Waco, Texas 76703

Hours:    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

All businesses operating in Texas as limited partnerships, registered limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, professional corporations, nonprofit corporations, and professional associations must register with the Secretary of State. General information and business name searches are available at the Texas Secretary of State website or by phone at (512) 463-5555.

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