How to Start a Pennsylvania LLC
Pennsylvania is a great place to start a business and is among the top 10 most prosperous states in the country. Located in the eastern U.S., it has a rich history as one of the original 13 colonies and is where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were drafted. Pennsylvania is home to some of the biggest insurance and financial businesses in addition to 50 Fortune 500 companies.
For most business owners, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Pennsylvania is by creating a Pennsylvania 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.
Briefly, the benefits of starting a Pennsylvania LLC include:
- Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
- Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Pennsylvania LLC
- Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
Six Quick Steps to Forming an LLC in PA
This guide has plenty of information on how to form your Pennsylvania LLC, but you can break down the basics of forming a business in PA into just a few simple steps.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Pennsylvania LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in Pennsylvania. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a business entity name search on the PA Department of State website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Pennsylvania LLC.
Learn about Pennsylvania LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for your PA LLC
Every Pennsylvania LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Pennsylvania, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Pennsylvania LLC
Every PA LLC must have a “Registered Agent,” known in Pennsylvania as a “Commercial Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your PA Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Pennsylvania and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Pennsylvania Registered Agents
STEP 5: Get an Employee 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. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Pennsylvania LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File A Certificate of Organization With the Pennsylvania Department of State
Once you've gathered all the information together for your Pennsylvania LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the PA Department of State. This document is known as your “Certificate of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Pennsylvania LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your Registered Agent
- Names of organizers of the LLC at the time of filing
You can file your Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Pennsylvania. You only need to file your Certificate of Organization once.
Form Your LLC Now
Review Information From the Pennsylvania Department of State
The PA Department of State has plenty of additional information on forming and running a business in Pennsylvania.
Special Types of Pennsylvania LLCs
A regular Pennsylvania LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Form a Professional Pennsylvania LLC
Some states, including Pennsylvania, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of business typically have specialized requirements and licensing. Here are the occupations that the PA Department of State allows to form Pennsylvania professional LLCs.
- Medicine and surgery
- Osteopathic medicine and surgery
- Podiatric medicine
- Public accounting
- Veterinary medicine
Form a Foreign LLC in Pennsylvania
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Pennsylvania, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on Pennsylvania filing and licensing requirements here
Detailed Information for Your Pennsylvania LLC
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the Pennsylvania business registry of the PA Department of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Pennsylvania LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Pennsylvania Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Pennsylvania Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Pennsylvania rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Pennsylvania and federal business licenses, Pennsylvania annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Pennsylvania government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment and Pennsylvania taxes like sales tax and income tax.