The private investigation industry is a fascinating and exciting profession. Each state regulates the private investigators and licensing requirements within their particular state. In Texas, private investigators are regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety/Private Security Bureau (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/psb/) as provided in the Private Security Act (Chapter 1702, Texas Occupations Code).
It is a violation of the Texas Occupations Code to advertise, solicit business, bid on contracts or perform any investigative services without being properly licensed. Violations can result in administrative and civil penalties as well as criminal filings against the violator.
An agency must have a qualified manager who has to have a minimum of 3 years experience (or combination of higher education and experience), pass a written exam and show proof of liability insurance. If the person does not qualify as the manager/owner, they will have to locate an agency that will hire and train them as a private investigator. To be licensed as a PI, you must be 18 years of age or older with no criminal history (see specific requirements). Again, it is like applying for any other job and you must find a licensed agency that will hire and train you as a private investigator if you do not meet the requirements to own your own agency.
To operate in Texas, a PI agency must have a qualifying manager that directly supervises the agency and investigators licensed under their company. This manager must have experience and qualifications that meet one of the following:
After meeting the qualifications for manager, the person must register to take the manager’s exam with the Private Security Bureau. Upon successful completion of the written exam, the person must show proof of liability insurance.
Upon qualifying as the manager/owner of the agency, the manager can hire other individuals that can operate as private investigators under their agency after they meet the manager’s requirements (including the requirements below). To be licensed and employed by a licensed company as a private investigator, a person must meet all the requirements set forth in Texas Occupations Code 1702.1 13, summarized in part (but not in whole) below. The person must
Private Investigators in Texas are required to charge their clients sales tax. The taxes must be collected and paid to the State Comptroller (http://ourcpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/lndex.html) by the 20th of each month. Taxes do not have to be charged to a client if they are a government agency (city, county, state, etc).
Depending on how you decide to set up your business, you may decide to incorporate and this is done through an attorney and/or the Secretary of State (http://www.sos.state.tx.us/).
For additional information, click here to visit the Private Security Bureau of Texas (PSB) Web Site, or contact the PSB by phone: 512-424-7710
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