How To Start An LLC In Pennsylvania
To start an LLC in Pennsylvania, you must file a Certificate of Organization with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The Certificate of Organization costs $125 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Pennsylvania LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Pennsylvania LLC Guide:
- Choose your Pennsylvania LLC filing option
- Submit the PA LLC Certificate of Organization
- Create a PA LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Federal EIN from the IRS
- Open a Pennsylvania LLC bank account
- Obtain any required business licenses
- File the Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report
- Pay taxes on the LLC income
Pennsylvania LLC Filing Options
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Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization Requirements
To form a Pennsylvania LLC, you must complete and file the Certificate of Organization with the Pennsylvania 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.
Your name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited,” “Company” or an abbreviation. Tip: Most businesses keep it short and sweet with “LLC.”
You must list the Pennsylvania street address where someone will be available to accept legal notifications. This address becomes part of the permanent public record of your LLC. If you have a commercial office provider like Northwest, you just need to list their name and the county they’re in. Tip: Northwest offers expert commercial office provider service.
Your organizer is the person you authorize to form and file your Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization. It doesn’t have to be a member, manager, or anyone in the LLC. Tip: Hire Northwest, and we’ll be your organizer.
You can choose whether your Pennsylvania LLC will begin immediately or at a later date. You can choose an effective date up to 90 days in the future (so if the next tax period is creeping up, you could wait to start until then). Tip: Most businesses begin right away.
Tick this box if you’re a professional company. While you’re probably perfectly professional, a Professional LLC offers licensed medical, law or accounting services and has additional filing requirements. Tip: Most LLCs are not professional.
Benefit companies are kind of a cross between a profit and a non-profit. They are created for general public benefit (such as education). Like Professional LLCs, benefit companies have additional filing requirements. Tip: Most LLCs aren’t benefit companies either.
In addition to the Certificate of Organization, filers 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. It is a short form that requests 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 your FEIN (which you can get later).
How much does it cost to start a Pennsylvania LLC?
The Commonwealth’s filing fee for a Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization is $125. Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $350, including filing fees, registered agent service, and loads of useful forms and tools to help your Pennsylvania LLC get up and running.
How long does it take to start a Pennsylvania LLC?
About 10 days if you submit online. About 15 days if you submit by mail. The only way to expedite your filing in Pennsylvania is to drive to Harrisburg, wait in line, and submit your Certificate in person. Expediting is a THOUSAND dollars for 1-hour processing (which makes the $300 for 3 hours and $100 for same-day service look like a bargain).
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Pennsylvania LLC formed within 10 business days.
Does a Pennsylvania LLC need a registered agent?
Yes, your Pennsylvania LLC is required to maintain a Pennsylvania registered office where legal notifications are accepted. The address you decide to list becomes a part of the public record of your LLC. Since public data is a goldmine for data sellers, if you put your own address, you’ll likely end up with fat stacks of junk mail. Another issue with listing your own address or office is that someone has to be there during business hours in case a process server pops by. For small or single-member LLCs (or just businesses that don’t keep the standard 9-5), this can be particularly hard. Running a business is already tough enough without being stuck in the office.
Instead, you could hire a commercial office provider, like Northwest Registered Agent. When you hire Northwest, we list our office address instead of yours. We’re in the business of being available, so you never have to worry about missing a legal notice. We’ll even scan and send you any service of process the same day.
Create the Pennsylvania LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Will your LLC be dissolved, revoked or lose its good standing if you don’t have an operating agreement? No. Is an operating agreement really necessary for your Pennsylvania LLC? Absolutely.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Your operating agreement is your Pennsylvania LLC’s most important internal document because it defines the terms of your business. It puts in writing who owns the business and how much each person invested. It spells out how profits and losses will be allocated and what happens if you end up shutting the whole thing down. This information is the core of your business—and shouldn’t be decided on a whim. Members will want you to have a solid operating agreement. So will your bank when you go to open a bank account or take on debt. Trying to lure investors or partners? They’ll be very interested in your operating agreement.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
You don’t have to start from scratch. At Northwest, we know that your operating agreement is critical for your business. That’s why we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style, when you hire Northwest to form your Pennsylvania LLC. We’ve been giving out free operating agreements and other key forms (resolutions, membership certificates, etc.) for years. We were the first website to hand out free LLC forms and we’ve spent the years since refining and improving them to ensure your business starts out right. And we’re proud to say that over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get a Pennsylvania LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
You’re required to get an EIN if you plan to hire employees or file certain federal excise taxes like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. You’ll also be asked for your EIN for plenty of regular business activities too, like opening a bank account, establishing credit with vendors, applying for local permits or licenses, or filing state or municipal tax forms. In some cases, you can use your personal social security number instead—but constantly handing out your SS# can put your data privacy at risk. EINs are free from the IRS, and you can fill out an application on the IRS website. Rather pass this task off to us? You can add on EIN service when you hire Northwest to form your Pennsylvania LLC.
Open a Bank Account for Your Pennsylvania LLC
To open a bank account for your Pennsylvania LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Pennsylvania LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business 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 a Pennsylvania LLC need a business license?
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a general business license, but some cities and counties have local business licensing requirements. For example, if you engage in business in Philadelphia, you’ll need a free Commercial Activity License. In Harrisburg, you’ll fork over at least $50 a year for their mandatory Business Privilege and Mercantile License.
File Pennsylvania LLC Reports
What is a Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report?
Basically, your Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report is a form you file every ten years to let the state know that your LLC still exists. Reports are due by the end of each year ending in “1” (2021, 2031, 2041, etc.). The filing fee is $70. Forget to file? You lose exclusive rights to your company’s name—meaning other businesses can request it. Ten years is a long, long time between filings, but Northwest can help you remember to submit your report. When you sign up for our services, we’ll send you report reminders. Better yet, cross this task off your list entirely and hire Northwest to submit your Decennial Report for you.
How much does an LLC in Pennsylvania cost each year?
The Commonwealth’s filing fee for a Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization is $125. Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $350, including Pennsylvania fees.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Pennsylvania LLC taxes?
The Pennsylvania personal net income tax rate is a flat 3.07%. Pennsylvania sales tax is 6%. Counties can add up to 2% more to the sales tax, so the total sales tax is as much as 8% in areas like Philadelphia. The average total sales tax, however, is only 6.14%–pretty close to the Commonwealth rate.