There are various options when it comes to forming a business in Pennsylvania. From a legal perspective, there are three main types of Pennsylvania for-profit business entities: LLCs, S Corporations or C Corporations. For many entrepreneurs, we believe an LLC provides the right blend of liability protection and ease of administration.
In order to form an LLC in the state of Pennsylvania, there are some minimum requirements you must meet. These are a completed Certificate of Organization, a business name and a fee you pay to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. We recommend taking some other steps before formally starting your LLC:
- Research your target market to make sure there’s a demand for the products and services you provide.
- Read industry guides to give you a starting point in your niche.
- Create a comprehensive business plan that defines the most important aspects of your Pennsylvania business.
- Write an Operating Agreement that covers how you will run your LLC.
After you’ve formed your Pennsylvania LLC, you will also need to review your business license requirements, understand ongoing filing needs, set up a separate business bank account and get an accountant.
In Pennsylvania, you register a business by completing and filing your Certificate of Organization with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. You will need to gather information about your business, fill out the form and send it to the Department of State with your filing fee. This will formally create your LLC in Pennsylvania.
You can file your Certificate of Organization on the Department of State website or mail it in. Alternatively, Incfile can guide you through every step of the process by getting details from you and filing the form on your behalf — for free! There’s no additional charge for our basic LLC filing service, so all you need to do is pay the Pennsylvania state filing fee.
At the time of writing the fee charged by the Pennsylvania Department of State is $125. You can always check the latest Pennsylvania filing fees here. You can also pay an additional fee for expedited filing if you file the forms in person, which will create your LLC faster. The amount of the expedited fee is dependent on how quickly you want your filing processed. Some LLC filing services do charge you extra to prepare and submit your filing documents, but at Incfile, we do this for free — so you only pay the state fee.
Once you’ve gathered all of your information together and filed your Certificate of Organization (or had Incfile do it for you), it can take up to 15 business days for the Pennsylvania Department of State to legally create your LLC. If you pay an additional expedited fee, your LLC can be formed as quickly as the same day, within 3 hours, or within 1 hour.
If you wish to have expedited service, you must submit a form in person, along with your documents and an expedited filing fee. The fee is $100 for the same day service, $300 for 3-hour service, and $1000 for 1-hour service.
Important: As this expedited service form must be submitted in person, Incfile cannot expedite your filing for you.
There are a few ways to register your Pennsylvania LLC name.
- If you’re forming a new business and your business name is unique in Pennsylvania and meets state naming rules, you simply include it in your Certificate of Organization.
- If you want to change the legal name of your business, file a Certificate of Amendment with the Department of State.
- If you just want to do business under a different name, file a Registration of Fictitious Name with the Pennsylvania Department of State, or we can do that on your behalf.
If you want to prevent people from using your business name across the U.S., you can file a trademark for the name. We can help.
In other states, the formal documents that you file to form a corporation or LLC might be known as Articles of Incorporation. In Pennsylvania, this document is called your Certificate of Organization, and it performs the same functions as the Articles of Incorporation.
Yes, when you file your Certificate of Organization with the PA Department of State, you're also required to fill out and submit a Docketing Statement which provides the state with your business tax information.
No, although it recognizes foreign series LLCs, the State of Pennsylvania does not have a Series LLC offering. A Series LLC is a special type of LLC where you create one “overall” business and then have individual, series LLCs within it, each counted as separate legal entities.
If you wish to change your Pennsylvania Registered Agent you can do so by filing a Change of Registered Office form with the Department of State. Here at Incfile, we provide a free Pennsylvania Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us. If you’ve been using a different Registered Agent and want to switch to us, we’ll file the form on your behalf.
If you need to know the Registered Agent of a specific Pennsylvania business, you can perform a Pennsylvania Registered Agent search within the state's business database.
As an LLC, any business profits you earn will be reported on your personal 1040 filing and reported and taxed as “pass-through” income. You will typically need to pay:
- Self-employment or payroll tax on all business profits
- Federal income tax on profits after you meet your tax-free allowance
- Sales tax for selling taxable products and services
Pennsylvania charges a 6 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods. You will also need to pay sales tax if you provide a taxable service. You can find a full list of taxable services here.
You will need to register for a sales tax license with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. You can complete this process online.
The base rate for Pennsylvania sales tax is 6 percent, and there may be additional sales tax depending on your region, county or city. Once you know your overall sales tax amount, calculate the value of all your taxable products and services. Then, multiply that by your sales tax rate to understand how much you will need to pay.
Once your LLC’s sales tax application is approved, you will receive a letter with instructions on how often you must file a sales tax return and pay sales taxes. Returns and payments may be due monthly, quarterly or annually.
No, the State of Pennsylvania does not levy a franchise tax on business. A franchise tax is a tax that is imposed on businesses simply for the privilege of doing business within a state. Several states have a franchise tax, however an LLC is usually not subject to it unless your LLC is treated as a C Corporation for tax purposes.
If you're starting a business anywhere in the country, chances are you'll need a business license of some kind. The types of business licenses you need will vary depending on your type of business, industry, location and various other factors. We can research the types of business licenses you might need for you.