Pennsylvania Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Pennsylvania, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The Articles of Incorporation cost $125 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Pennsylvania corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Pennsylvania Corporation Guide:
- Choose your PA corporation filing option
- Submit the PA Articles of Incorporation
- Publish your Notice of Intent to Incorporate
- Create Pennsylvania corporate bylaws
- Get a Federal EIN from the IRS
- Open a corporate bank account
- Obtain any required business licenses
- File the Pennsylvania Decennial Report
- Pay taxes on the corporation’s income
Pennsylvania Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Pennsylvania corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Pennsylvania corporation today. Includes Pennsylvania incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Pennsylvania corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Pennsylvania corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
The state uses one form for 8 different kinds of corporations: stock, nonstock, statutory, management, professional, insurance, benefit and cooperative. Each type is subject to different sections of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Note that cooperative and benefit corporations have additional sections to complete on the Articles of Incorporation form. Tip: Most corporations are stock corporations.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” “Company” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations go with “Corp” or “Inc.”
Your registered office must be a Pennsylvania street address where someone will be available to accept legal notifications. This address becomes part of the permanent public record of your corporation. If you have a commercial office provider (like Northwest), their info is already on file with the state and you just need to list their name and county. Tip: We recommend Northwest as your registered office provider.
List the total number of shares you’re creating. You must create at least one share.
Your incorporator signs your Articles of Incorporation. Incorporators have to list their names and addresses. You must have at least one incorporator, but it doesn’t have to be anyone in your corporation—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Pennsylvania corporation.
Want your business to start on a specific date (or even hour)? You can list a date and time up to 90 days in the future. If you don’t enter any information here, your corporation will begin upon filing. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
Along with your Articles, your corporation must also submit a Docketing Statement. Online, this form is included, but if filing with a paper form, you’ll have to download the Docketing Statement separately. The statement is brief. You enter your corporation’s name, the name and mailing address of the person responsible for tax reports, a brief description of business activity, your tax or fiscal year end date, and federal tax ID.
How much does it cost to start a Pennsylvania corporation?
$125. This is the fee the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations charges for filing Articles of Incorporation.
Hire Northwest to form your Pennsylvania corporation and your total out-the-door cost is $350. This includes state fees, a full year of registered agent services and plenty of tools and forms to help you launch and maintain your corporation.
How long does it take to start a Pennsylvania corporation?
10 days online and about 15 days by mail. Expediting is available but really expensive—its starts at $100 for same-day service and climbs to $1,000 for 1-hour processing. Even worse, expediting is only available if you drop off your filing in person. In Harrisburg. During business hours.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Pennsylvania corporation formed within 10 business days.
Does a Pennsylvania corporation need a registered office?
Yes, Pennsylvania requires that corporations list either their registered office address or commercial registered office provider in their Articles of Incorporation. So which one should you list? A registered office is where legal notifications (like a court summons) are accepted. If you choose to list an address instead of a provider, there are a few points to take into consideration.
Addresses must be Pennsylvania street addresses (no PO boxes) where someone will be regularly available. In other words, you don’t want to list an address unless you actually plan to be there during business hours. The address you list also becomes part of the permanent public record of your corporation. It’s not uncommon to end up on lots of mailing lists, as public records are common sources for data sellers.
The other option is to hire a Pennsylvania commercial registered office provider like Northwest. Our address is already on file with the state. We’re ready and waiting to scan and send you any legal notifications the same day. Instead of being tied to the office, you can stay on top of your business wherever you choose to be—whether that’s in a board meeting or on a bike in the Alleghenies.
Publish a Notice to Incorporate in Two Newspapers
What are the publishing requirements for a Pennsylvania corporation?
After you incorporate in Pennsylvania, you must fulfill the state’s publishing requirement by publishing a notice of intent to incorporate or notice that you have incorporated. The publication must run in two separate newspapers, one of which must be a legal newspaper. The state provides a list of Pennsylvania legal publications.
Publishing fees for newspapers and journals vary widely, but your total will likely be over $100. For instance, the Lehigh Law Journal charges $92 to run a notice of incorporation and give you an affidavit. Note that you don’t have to send your affidavits to the state—you file them with the minutes of your corporation. Learn how to publish your notice with our Pennsylvania Corporation Public Notice guide.
Create Bylaws for Your Pennsylvania Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Absolutely. You put your ideas, your effort—and your money—into building a business. And while you’re likely focused on your business plan or marketing strategy, it’s important to take the time to carefully plan and develop your corporation’s internal powers and procedures: your bylaws.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your bylaws spell out how decisions in your corporation are made and who gets to make those decisions. Your bylaws state who is on the board of directors, how long they’ll stay, how they’ll be replaced, and how many members are needed to pass a resolution. Your bylaws note who your officers are and what they’re responsible for. Your bylaws list rights and restrictions for any classes or series of shares, including voting rights. Essentially, your bylaws determine how your corporation actually runs—and who runs it. As a result, you’ll need your bylaws for everything from opening a corporate bank account to taking on a new business partner.
Do I have to write bylaws?
At Northwest, we know bylaws are critical for organizing your new corporation. That’s why we give our clients free corporate bylaws when they hire us to form their Pennsylvania corporations. We also give our clients other free business forms and templates for everything from resolutions to meeting minutes. We’ve spent years refining and improving our docs to ensure our clients have exactly what they need. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Pennsylvania Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, your Pennsylvania corporation will need an EIN. You’re required to use this ID for your federal tax filings. Odds are you’ll need your EIN for other common paperwork as well, such as filing local taxes, applying for licenses or permits, and opening a corporate bank account.
To get an EIN, you can fill out the IRS’s application for no cost. Or, avoid yet another form and hire us to get your EIN for you—just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our Pennsylvania incorporation services.
Open a Bank Account for Your PA Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Pennsylvania corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Pennsylvania corporation’s bylaws
- The Pennsylvania corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does an Pennsylvania corporation need a business license?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t have a general license for all businesses, but some local areas do. If you operate in Harrisburg, for instance, you’re required to obtain a Business Privilege and Mercantile License ($50/year).
File Pennsylvania Corporation Reports
What is a Pennsylvania Decennial Report?
This unusual report is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s way of poking your corporation and saying “hey, you still around?” The report and $70 filing fee are only due every 10 years in years ending in “1” (2021, 2031, etc.). The report is only required if you don’t submit any other filings to the Pennsylvania Department of State in the meantime. The report requires very little information—mostly just your corporation’s name and registered office.
Ten years is a long time between filings, so this report can be easy to forget. When you hire Northwest as your registered officer provider, we’ll send you reminders to ensure you don’t miss your filing. You can even hire us to file your Pennsylvania Decennial Report for your corporation.
How much does a corporation in Pennsylvania cost each year?
There isn’t a yearly fee for Pennsylvania business corporations. Instead, there’s a Decennial Report, which is filed every 10 years. The Decennial Report filing fee is $70.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Pennsylvania corporation?
The Pennsylvania corporate net income tax rate is a steep 9.99%—one of the highest in the nation. The personal net income tax rate is a much more reasonable 3.07%.
Local taxes are pretty common as well. For example, Philadelphia has a Business Income and Receipts Tax (a tax on both gross receipts and income) that applies to all entities doing business in the city.
Pennsylvania’s sales tax rate is 6% across the board, except in Allegheny County (where it’s 7%) and Philadelphia (where it’s 8%).