Are you a business owner in Texas? If so, it’s crucial to understand the franchise tax exemptions available in the state, especially those exempt from franchise taxes in Texas. After all, who doesn’t want to save money on taxes? By meeting with Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC, we will go over various types of exemptions, including those for specific industries, business structures, veteran-owned businesses, and foreign businesses operating in Texas. By the end of our meeting, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the exemptions and how they could potentially benefit your business.

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But why should you care about franchise tax exemptions? Well, they can significantly impact your bottom line, allowing you to allocate more resources toward growing your business. Plus, understanding these exemptions and knowing who is exempt from franchise taxes in Texas will help you stay compliant with Texas tax laws. Our team at Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has in-depth knowledge of Texas tax laws and we can assist you in identifying applicable exemptions. By leveraging these exemptions effectively, you can optimize your financial resources for business growth. Give us a call at 1 512-257-0570 for a consultation, and let us help you understand and utilize franchise tax exemptions to your advantage.

Texas Franchise Tax Exemptions

Businesses operating in Texas need to consider the franchise tax exemptions as they can be crucial. These exemptions are aimed at reducing the tax burden on certain types of organizations and industries, allowing them to thrive and contribute to the state’s economy. However, not all businesses qualify for these exemptions. Business owners should familiarize themselves with their eligibility for any tax exemptions, along with the application process.

In Texas, franchise tax exemptions are available for non-taxable entities and certain industries, such as agriculture and public utilities. Being aware of the available tax credits and how to claim them is beneficial as these exemptions can significantly reduce your tax liability.

Non-Taxable Entities

One of the most common exemptions from Texas franchise tax is for non-taxable entities. These include nonprofit organizations and government entities, which are exempt due to the nature of the services they provide and their contribution to society. For example, organizations with an exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under Section 501(c)(3), (4), (8), (10), or (19) of the Internal Revenue Code are exempt from the Texas Franchise Tax.

However, to qualify for this exemption, an organization must meet specific criteria. For instance, an organization must have an exemption determination letter issued by the IRS, with the name on the letter matching its legal name as indicated in the Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Formation, or governing document. The exemption is based on the compensation total revenue of the organization.

Agriculture, Public Utilities, and Other Industries

Certain industries also qualify for franchise tax exemptions in Texas. For instance, the agriculture industry, which is vital to the state’s economy, is eligible for specific exemptions. This includes certain types of farm and ranch land, as well as nonprofit corporations organized to hold agricultural fairs and promote agricultural pursuits. However, the exemption does not include items such as barns, office furniture, clothing, and computers, or any mechanical or chemical device used in the business.

Another industry that benefits from exemptions is public utilities, which often involve electrical or mechanical power, but one of the most interesting exemptions pertains to solar energy. Corporations in Texas exclusively engaging in the manufacture, sale, or installation of solar energy devices, including the solar energy device itself, are exempt from the franchise tax. This exemption promotes the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar-generated energy, and contributes to a more sustainable future for Texas by encouraging businesses to store solar-generated energy and transfer solar-generated energy efficiently.

Types of Business Structures and Their Exemptions

The type of business structure you choose can significantly impact your eligibility for franchise tax exemptions in Texas. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Sole proprietorships and certain types of general partnerships are exempt from the tax.
  • Corporations and LLCs are subject to the tax.
  • Businesses with revenue under $1,230,000 qualify for an exemption, which acts as one of the available tax credits for qualifying businesses.

Understanding the different business structures and their exemptions can help you make informed decisions about your business’s future and ensure compliance with Texas tax laws.

Sole Proprietorships

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Sole proprietorships are the most prevalent and uncomplicated form of business in Texas, and they are generally not subject to franchise tax. This is because they are owned and operated by a single individual, without the requirement of formal organization. However, if you plan to hire employees as a sole proprietor, you may need to register your business name and obtain the applicable licenses and permits.

While sole proprietorships enjoy an exemption from franchise tax, it is important to remember that they do not provide personal liability protection. This means that the owner is personally responsible for the business’s debts and liabilities, which can be a significant drawback for some entrepreneurs.


Partnerships are another type of business structure in Texas and can be subject to franchise tax depending on their nature and annual revenue. Texas recognizes three types of partnerships: General Partnership, Limited Partnership, and Limited Liability Partnership. Different types of partnerships are subject to the Texas Franchise Tax, which is based on the taxable entity’s margin unless the entity qualifies and elects to file using the EZ computation.

Understanding the taxation requirements for the various types of partnerships in Texas is important for compliance and avoiding any penalties. If your partnership meets the criteria for exemption, you must file a Franchise Tax Report and an Information Report to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.


Corporations in Texas are subject to franchise tax, with exemptions available for small businesses with gross receipts below $1,180,000 for the 2020 tax year. Additionally, the franchise tax rate for S corporations is based on the business’s annual revenue and shall not exceed 1%.

Keep in mind that individual shareholders in a Texas S corporation are not obligated to pay state taxes on their portions of the company’s income. This can be an advantage for corporations seeking to minimize their tax burden in Texas.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in Texas are subject to franchise tax, but they offer some benefits that can help minimize their tax liability. One of these benefits is pass-through taxation, which means that:

  • The business itself is not taxed
  • The income of the LLC passes through to the owners
  • The owners are liable for taxes on their proportional share of the income

Another advantage of establishing an LLC in Texas is the ability to select your tax status to potentially pay fewer taxes. Texas also presents no income taxes and minimal annual fees, making it an appealing state for entrepreneurs.

Veteran-Owned Businesses and Franchise Tax Exemptions

Supporting veteran-owned businesses is a priority in Texas, and the state offers tax exemptions for new businesses owned by veterans. These exemptions can significantly help these businesses during their initial years of operation, allowing them to grow and contribute to the Texas economy. The exemption applies to the first five years of the business’s existence and requires the business to meet specific criteria and file a No Tax Due report.

Understanding the criteria and filing requirements for veteran-owned businesses can help these entrepreneurs save on taxes and allocate more resources toward growing their businesses.

Criteria for Exemption

To qualify for the franchise tax exemption, a veteran-owned business must be 100% owned by a veteran and have less than $1 million in annual revenue. The Texas definition of annual revenue for franchise tax exemptions is the total revenue reported for federal income tax, minus statutory exclusions, and is considered franchise tax based.

Awareness of the specific criteria for exemption and ensuring your veteran-owned business meets these requirements is key. Failing to meet the criteria can result in the loss of the tax exemption, which can significantly impact your business’s bottom line.

Filing Requirements

To claim the franchise tax exemption, veteran-owned businesses must follow these steps:

  1. File a No Tax Due report.
  2. Complete a Certification of New Veteran-Owned Business (Form 05-904) obtained from the Comptroller of Public Accounts.
  3. Submit the form alongside any additional documentation required by the Comptroller.

Being familiar with the filing requirements and deadlines for veteran-owned businesses can help avoid any penalties. A qualifying veteran-owned business that fails to file a No Tax Due report may be liable for a penalty of $50.

Foreign Businesses and Texas Franchise Taxes

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Foreign businesses operating in Texas may also be subject to franchise tax if they meet the definition of a taxable entity. This includes:

  • Corporations
  • LLCs
  • Partnerships
  • Other business structures with a presence in the state

Understanding the criteria for foreign businesses to be considered taxable entities can help ensure compliance with Texas tax laws and avoid any penalties.

Foreign businesses should understand the filing requirements and deadlines for the Texas franchise tax to maintain their good standing in the state and avoid any penalties.

Taxable Entity Definition

Taxable legal entities in Texas include:

  • Corporations
  • LLCs
  • Partnerships
  • Other legal entities with a presence in the state

This means that if your foreign business falls under one of these categories and operates in Texas, you may be subject to franchise tax and must comply with the associated filing requirements.

Foreign businesses need to comprehend the different business structures that are considered taxable entities in Texas and see if their business falls under one of these categories. This can help ensure compliance with Texas tax laws and avoid any penalties.

Filing Requirements

Foreign businesses that meet the definition of a taxable entity in Texas must file a franchise tax report and pay the franchise tax. This involves submitting an application for registration to the Texas Secretary of State and completing the Foreign Registered Franchise Tax Questionnaire. The filing deadline for Texas Franchise Tax is May 15th each year, and penalties for late filing can be significant.

Foreign businesses operating in Texas must grasp the filing requirements and deadlines to maintain compliance with state tax laws. Failure to comply can result in penalties and damage to your business’s reputation and standing in the state.

How to Apply for a Franchise Tax Exemption in Texas

If your business is eligible for a franchise tax exemption in Texas, knowing how to apply is crucial. The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Submitting specific forms and documentation to the Texas Comptroller’s office.
  2. The Texas Comptroller’s office will review your application.
  3. The Texas Comptroller’s office will determine whether your business qualifies for the exemption.

Applying for a franchise tax exemption can be a complex process, but with the right guidance from Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC and an understanding of the necessary forms and documentation, it can be a smooth experience.

Required Forms and Documentation

Applying for a franchise tax exemption in Texas requires completing the AP-204 application and submitting supporting documents, such as an exemption determination letter for nonprofits. The AP-204 application, officially titled the ‘Application for Exemption – Federal and All Others,’ can be accessed on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.

Gathering all the necessary forms and documentation before submitting your application can ensure a smooth process and avoid any delays. Be sure to refer to the guidelines included with the application form or contact the pertinent authority for precise and up-to-date information on required documents.

Submission Process

Once you have completed the required forms and gathered the necessary documentation, you must submit your application to the Texas Comptroller’s office for review and approval. The estimated processing duration for a franchise tax exemption application is approximately three months, and there is no fee associated with the submission.

Following up with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to confirm the receipt and processing of your application is a good practice after submission. This can help ensure that your application is being reviewed and increase your chances of obtaining the franchise tax exemption for your business.

How Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC Can Help You

Navigating the complexities of Texas franchise tax exemptions can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. With 26 years of litigation experience, Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC is here to assist businesses in understanding and applying for tax exemptions and other tax-related matters. As an experienced tax attorney in Austin, Texas, Mr. Stearns personally handles every case, ensuring that you receive the experienced guidance and personalized solutions your business deserves.

If franchise tax exemptions seem overwhelming, get in touch with Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC at 1 512-257-0570 for guidance and personalized solutions. Let us help you navigate the complexities of Texas tax laws and make the most of the available exemptions, so you can focus on what matters most: growing your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is exempt from franchise tax in Texas?

Nonprofit corporations organized solely to promote the public interest of a city, county, town, or other area within Texas, as well as insurance, surety, guaranty, fidelity, and title insurance companies authorized to engage in insurance business in the state, are exempt from franchise tax.

Who is required to pay Texas franchise tax?

Texas requires all taxable entities formed in the state or doing business there to pay a franchise tax ranging from 0.375% to 0.75%, depending on their annual receipts. Entities subject to tax include corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and more.

What is the no tax due threshold for Texas franchise tax?

The No Tax Due Threshold for Texas Franchise Tax is $1,230,000; entities meeting this threshold may file a No Tax Due Report (Form 05-163).

Are there any tax exemptions available for nonprofit organizations in Texas?

Yes, there are tax exemptions available for nonprofit organizations in Texas, as certain organizations are exempt from the state’s Franchise Tax.

What industries may be eligible for franchise tax exemptions in Texas?

Agricultural and public utility businesses may be eligible for franchise tax exemptions in Texas.