Why Create a Pennsylvania LLC?
The state offers a wide variety of business incentives and tax credits to help business owners start and grow their businesses. For example, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program is available to certain businesses that contribute to educational improvement organizations and scholarship organizations (including pre-kindergarten) to offer educational opportunities to Pennsylvania students.
For most aspiring business owners, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Pennsylvania is by creating an LLC. A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business entity that’s ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. You get the advantages and protections of larger Pennsylvania corporations but with much simpler rules and regulations.
Benefits of starting a Pennsylvania LLC:
No franchise tax
Low cost to file ($125)
Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Lenient decennial report filing rules
Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulation and administration of your Pennsylvania LLC
Protecting your personal assets from your business liability and debts
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
In this guide, you’ll find information on searching for and naming your PA LLC, getting a Pennsylvania Registered Agent (also called a Commercial Registered Office Provider), the fees you’ll need to pay, filing business taxes and much more. We also cover the various ways you’ll interact with the Pennsylvania Department of State, filing your LLC and your registration needs.
How to Form a Pennsylvania LLC Yourself in 6 Steps
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a Pennsylvania LLC Search
You will need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in PA, whether it's in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try out Incfile’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas.
There are also a few naming rules you’ll need to follow, which you can read about in detail on our Pennsylvania Business Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Pennsylvania. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, use Incfile’s fast and easy Business Name Search tool below. Alternatively, you can carry out a search on the PA Department of State website.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Whether it’s an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence) or any other physical location, every LLC in Pennsylvania must have a designated street address. It can be outside the state, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
However, Incfile can provide you with a Pennsylvania virtual mailbox to use as your business address. We'll receive your mail and scan it for your online review. This can be especially desirable if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address to become public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Every LLC in the state is required to have a Registered Agent, known in the state as a Commercial Registered Office Provider. We use these terms interchangeably. This is an official position. This is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the PA Department of State.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your agent is a person, they must reside in and have a physical street address in Pennsylvania, and they must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours. You designate your Registered Agent when you file your Certificate of Organization and formally create your business.
All of Incfile’s packages include Commercial Registered Office Provider service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also log in to our dashboard and easily view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Certificate of Organization with the PA Department of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your Pennsylvania LLC, you’ll need to file a form with the PA Department of State to create your Certificate of Organization. Filing it officially creates your LLC.
File by Mail
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
You'll also need to file a docketing statement, which provides the state with your business tax information.
Both of these forms can be filed via the state's online portal, Penn File. You can also mail the forms to the Office of the Department of State or have Incfile do it on your behalf. The Pennsylvania LLC filing fee is $125 fee, plus $3 per page if you file paper copies.
You only need to file your Certificate of Organization once. You'll also need to file what is considered an annual report in most states. However, Pennsylvania only requires this report to be submitted on a decennial basis (every 10 years), in years ending with "1," e.g., 2021, 2031, etc. That decennial report is only necessary if no other filings have been submitted during that time, such as agent changes, business amendments, etc.
This is something Incfile can remind you to do, or we can do it for you if you have us complete the paperwork.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Pennsylvania?
State Filing Time
Expedited Filing Time
3 Business Days
Decennially in years ending with the number “1” (2021,2031, etc.)
Any time during the reporting year.
*The decennial filing is only required if no other filing (agent changes, amendments, etc.) have been submitted to the state during that 10 year period.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Pennsylvania LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
A kind of "instruction manual" that details how you'll run your business, an LLC Operating Agreement outlines how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Some states require that a company have this document in place. It isn’t legally required in Pennsylvania, but it’s a good idea to have one nonetheless.
Other Pennsylvania LLC Types
Restricted Professional Company
Some states allow certain occupations to form Professional LLCs. These types of businesses typically have specialized requirements and licensing.
Pennsylvania calls these entities Restricted Professional Companies and defines them as follows:
Restricted professional companies – 15 Pa.C.S. §§ 8995-8998 and 19 Pa. Code Chapter 71
"Limited liability companies rendering certain professional services must form as a restricted professional company. If a limited liability company is a restricted professional company, its certificate of organization or foreign registration statement must contain a statement to that effect, including a brief description of the restricted professional service or services to be rendered by the company. Restricted professional services are defined as the following professional services: chiropractic, dentistry, law, medicine and surgery, optometry, osteopathic medicine and surgery, podiatric medicine, public accounting, psychology or veterinary medicine.
Any domestic or foreign restricted professional company in existence on December 31 of any year is required to file a Certificate of Annual Registration (DSCB:15-8221/8998). This form and the corresponding annual registration fee must be filed on or before April 15 of the following year. Failure to file the annual registration will result in additional fees, penalties and interest. A Uniform Commercial Code lien will also be placed against the business until all fees have been satisfied."
If your business operates in another state and you want to expand to Pennsylvania — or vice versa — you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about Pennsylvania Foreign LLC registration.