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The City of Dallas helps business owners by providing them with the information they need to succeed. Faced with an ever-expanding business community and so many opportunities, managers may not know where to turn. The City of Dallas Office of Economic Development can guide the way, offering shortcuts to the multitude of business resources the city holds.

Operating a Business in Dallas
Business Registration
Certificates of Occupancy
Tax Information
Operations in the Development Process

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Operating a Business in Dallas
Dallas earned high praise from Fortune Magazine in December 1999, when it was selected as the #1 Best City for Business in the U.S. to balance work and family. Government and citizens have labored to improve upon a good thing by creating an inviting business climate, encouraging retail and residential development, keeping the streets safe and attractive and promoting cultural preservation and expression. The Dallas economy is booming, and the area remains a favorite for long-term development.

This page is dedicated to helping the small business owner and/or developer make the most of city services and information. We've included data on taxes, as well as pertinent guidance on obtaining the proper permits. The information included on this page is to be used as a general guide ONLY. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions section for further information on operating a business in Dallas, or contact the appropriate department if you have specific circumstances and/or needs.

Business Registration
To open a commercial business account, a business must be registered with the county. There is a nominal fee (about $12 in most instances) for the registration. When submitting an application in Dallas County, the owner must take responsibility for checking the register in the county clerk's office to determine if any other business is currently operating under that name. The name registration, unless cancelled, is valid for 10 years. For more information call Dallas County, Assumed Name Division at 214.653.7177. You may also visit their frequently asked questions page.

Certificates of Occupancy
Except for private residences, the occupant of any building, structure or portion thereof within Dallas city limits is required to display a Certificate of Occupancy, which can be obtained through the City's Development Services/Building Inspection. This certificate is necessary to have utilities turned on and assures that the facility complies with building codes. You may also call 214.948.4173 to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy.

One-Stop Permit Center
The One-Stop Permit Center is conveniently located at the City's Oak Cliff Municipal Center and offers an efficient process to obtain and expedite development and construction permits and licenses. This center was created to simplify the construction and development application and review processes and allow people to conduct most of their transactions at one location. Helpful advisors are available from the Building Inspection, Consumer Protection, Water Utilities and Planning departments.

Permits to perform the following types of work may be obtained at the One-Stop Permit Center:

  • building
  • electrical
  • plumbing
  • mechanical
  • tent
  • fencing
  • paving (sidewalk & drive approach)
  • tree removal
  • sign (attached)
  • flammable liquid
  • liquid petroleum
  • fire extinguishing system
  • septic tank
  • demolition
  • barricade
  • excavation
  • lawn sprinkler
  • swimming pool
  • moving
  • fire alarms (commercial only)
  • alcohol measurement
  • secured entry -- low voltage

Additional services available include:

  • Code book sales
  • Consumer protection information
  • Plat and addressing information
  • Residential plan review
  • Zoning verification letters
  • Water and wastewater permits
  • Food permits
  • City approval for Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) License.

You do NOT need a permit for items on this list.

For additional information, call 214.948.4352.

The state of Texas does not have a personal income tax, corporate income tax nor state unitary tax. The backbone of the state's revenue structure is the state sales tax of 6.25 percent, which applies to the sale of tangible personal property with exemptions for items such as grocery food, utilities, raw materials and manufacturing equipment.

In conjunction with the state sales tax, municipalities in Texas may levy a city sales tax of 1 percent. Certain mass transit authorities, including Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), may levy a sales tax not to exceed 1 percent. Additionally, cities that are not part of a mass transit authority (MTA) may opt to levy up to a .5 percent sales tax for property tax relief and/or economic development. There is another optional sales tax of up to .5 percent to help cities meet their infrastructure needs or for new and expanding business enterprises.

Breakdown of City of Dallas Sales Tax

State Sales Tax
City of Dallas

Corporate Franchise Tax
The Corporate Franchise Tax, also referred to as the Capital Values Tax, is the state's general business tax. Corporations are taxed on the greater of $2.50 per $1,000 of net taxable capital or 4.5 percent of net taxable earned surplus. Learn more about about it here.

Unemployment Insurance Tax
Texas has one of the nation's lowest unemployment insurance tax liabilities. The average liability per employee in Texas is $173 compared to the nationwide average of $224. Employers must have a minimum payroll of $1,500 in a calendar quarter or 20 weeks of employment to be liable as an "employer" for taxes. Once liable, a report must be filed regardless of the amount of wages paid. For more detailed information, please visit the Texas Workforce Commission website.

Property Tax
Although there is no state property or unitary tax in Texas, there are local property taxes levied by counties, municipalities, independent school districts and special districts. The total tax rate for a particular location is calculated by combining applicable tax rates for each taxing entity that has jurisdiction over the area. Rates are assessed at 100 percent of the market value. Most school districts and some counties overlap city boundaries. These political subdivisions may impose ad valorem taxes on real and personal property.

Of interest to international businesses, a freeport exemption for inventory that remains in Texas less than 175 days has been elected by several taxing entities in the area. You may obtain more information on this freeport exemption by visiting the North Texas Commission's page on freeport exemptions.

Additional information is available concerning state taxes from the Texas Comptroller's Office webpage, or by calling 800.252.5555. For local property tax information, visit the Dallas County Tax Assessor's Office webpage, or call 214.653.7805.





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