Frequently Asked Questions
One of the State Comptroller's primary duties is to collect a variety of state and local taxes, ranging from the sales and use tax to oil and natural gas production taxes. The agency has offices located in 28 cities throughout the state where taxpayers can obtain tax information and file and pay their tax reports. The State Comptroller also provides numerous educational opportunities for taxpayers to learn more about the state's tax laws, rules, and reporting responsibilities.
- Do I need a permit to conduct business in Texas?
- If you are conducting business in Texas, it is likely you will have to register your business with the State Comptroller. Depending on the type of business you conduct, you may also be required to obtain a permit, collect and or pay tax, and file tax returns. For further information in this regard, please call us toll free or contact us via Texas Tax Help.
The following tax publications may also be helpful in determining your tax responsibilities:
- How do I obtain a permit or register with the state of Texas?
- You can visit our forms page and print a copy of the necessary application. You may also write us, contact us via Texas Tax Help, visit one of our local field offices, or call us toll-free.
- What if I'm buying an existing business?
- Each new legal entity (corporation, partnership, sole proprietor, etc.) must apply for its own permit. The permit cannot be transferred from one entity to another.
Also, if you plan on buying an existing business, you need to make sure that they do not owe the state any taxes. If you are buying an existing business, the inventory of an existing business, or the name and goodwill of an existing business, you may become liable for any taxes still owed the state. To find out if there is an outstanding tax liability, contact the State Comptroller in writing (use address below) and request a Certificate of No Tax Due for the business you are purchasing. Make sure you include the name of the business, the existing tax number, and other pertinent information. Though this service is free, the agency has up to 90 days to respond due to the necessary research.
- How do I qualify for tax-exempt status in Texas?
- To receive a letter of exemption from the State Comptroller, an organization must submit a written statement setting out in detail:
- the nature of the activities conducted or to be conducted;
- a copy of the articles of incorporation (if the organization is a corporation);
- a copy of the bylaws, a copy of any applicable trust agreement, or a copy of its constitution;
- and, a copy of any letter granting exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.
The State Comptroller may also require an organization to furnish additional information including, but not limited to, documentation showing all services performed by the organization and statements of income, assets, and liabilities of the organization.
Responsibilities of Texas Taxpayers
- Do I have to display my permit at my place of business?
- According to state law, the permit must be conspicuously displayed at the business location for which it was issued. However, a business that has traveling sales representatives operating from one central office only needs one permit, which must be displayed at the central office.
All permits of a seller will have the same taxpayer number; however, each business location will have a different outlet number. The assigned outlet numbers will not necessarily correspond to the number of business locations owned by a taxpayer.
- Do I have to get another permit if I have opened a new location?
- Yes, a permit is only valid for transacting business at the address shown on the permit. However, a business that has traveling sales representatives operating from one central office only needs one permit.
- What should I do if I move from my mailing or business address, or change my phone number?
- If your mailing address or business location address changes, you may change the information on our website at http://window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/sales by scrolling down to "WebChange" and click on the appropriate change. As another option, you may send us the new address information and effective date of the change. You may also use the address change block on your sales tax return or notify us by letter. The letter must include your taxpayer number and business name. You may also call our toll-free number.
- How do I notify the State Comptroller's office that I closed my business?
- If you go out of business, mark the appropriate block on your final return, provide the date you went out of business, and send the return back to us. You may also notify us by letter. The letter must include your taxpayer number and business name. You may also call our toll-free number.
- How long do I need to keep my business records?
- You are required to keep applicable records for four (4) years from the original due date of each tax return.
- What do I need to do when I want to add a new business location?
- If a business location address changes or you are adding a new location, send us the new address information and effective date of the change. You may also use the address change block on your sales tax return or notify us by letter. The letter must include your taxpayer number, business name, location address, and indicate if you are in or out of the city limits. You may also visit our Sales Tax web page, email the information via Texas Tax Help, visit one of our local field offices, or call us toll-free.
Where can I get additional help?
- Attend a Tax Seminar
- The State Comptroller offers numerous taxpayer seminars throughout the state each year. New taxpayers are especially encouraged to attend these overviews of tax responsibilities for buyers, sellers, and service providers. Attendees set the pace of these seminars, so bring all of your questions concerning tax rules, updates, forms, and procedures. The schedule for these seminars is updated every month. Check our Seminars web page to see when the next seminar may be scheduled in your area.
The State Comptroller can also provide special seminars for organizations that request them. Just send your request to the local Comptroller's Office in your area.
Visit Your Local Field Office
We have 33 Comptroller locations in 26 cities to provide convenient, courteous tax help near you. Check our field office web page to find an office in your area.
We have numerous toll free phone lines to assist you with your tax needs.
For tax help, contact us via Texas Tax Help. We also have an agency Customer Service Liaison who addresses all customer service complaints related to tax matters. You may contact the Customer Service Liaison directly at CPA Customer Service or by calling toll free 1-888-334-4112.
To contact us in writing, please send a letter to:Comptroller of Public Accounts
P.O. Box 13528
Austin, Texas 78711
Please be sure to include your taxpayer number, if applicable.