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Pennsylvania Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Pennsylvania

To start a Pennsylvania corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations and pay a $125 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Pennsylvania corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in the Keystone State are as follows:

  1. File Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation and Docketing Statement
  2. Pay the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations $125
  3. Wait to receive an approved copy of your Articles
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Pennsylvania corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Pennsylvania corporate bank account
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Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation

To form a Pennsylvania corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 3 Decide how many shares of stock to authorize
Step 4 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 5 Decide when you want your corporation to begin
Step 6 Drop off your filing and payment at 401 North St, 206 North Office Building, Harrisburg PA 17120, file online and pay with a credit card, or mail to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organization, PO Box 8722, Harrisburg PA 17105-8722 with a check or money order

How Long Does it Take to Start a Pennsylvania Corporation?


Fastest: 1 Day

Expediting is 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.


Pretty Fast: 5 Days

A much easier (and cheaper) option is to submit your filing online. You can do it yourself or save yourself some headache and hire Northwest—just answer a few questions about your business, sit back, and let our Corporate Guides do the rest.


Not Too Shabby: 1-2 Weeks

If you mail your Articles, add on a few extra days. In addition to postal times, you’ll have to wait for someone to process your filing by hand.

What is the Cost of 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 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.

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What is the 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.

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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%).

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Is a Registered Office Required for a Pennsylvania Corporation?

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.

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Pennsylvania Corporation Versus Pennsylvania LLC:

Generally speaking, costs are pretty comparable. State filing fees for both corporations and LLCs are the same. Taxes for corporations and LLCs have a lot of variables, but taxes can be similar. While many people assume a Pennsylvania LLC will save on taxes (particularly since the corporate income tax rate is so high), it’s not always the case. Both entities have tax election options—for instance, both could choose to be taxed as S corps, which would make their tax obligations the same. Also, Pennsylvania has numerous local level taxes that people often fail to take into consideration. For instance, Philadelphia has a net profits tax that targets businesses taxed as partnerships (like standard LLCs).

Costs aren’t the only consideration for choosing your entity. Corporations and LLCs operate a bit differently. For example, corporations have stock, which can make it easier to raise capital or attract investors. Corporations have also been around much longer than LLCs. Years of court precedents means corporations have more guidance for making complex legal decisions. LLCs, on the other hand, tend to be better for businesses that value simplicity, as they’re a bit easier to operate. Considering an LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Pennsylvania.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Pennsylvania Corporation?

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.

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Does a 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).

Are There Publishing Requirements for a Pennsylvania Corporation?

Yes. 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.

Does a Pennsylvania Corporation 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.

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.

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.

What is the Pennsylvania Corporation Statute?

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes – Title 15, Part 2 Corporations

Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Docketing Statement

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.

Corporation Type

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.

Business Name

Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” “Company” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations go with “Corp” or “Inc.”

Registered Office or Provider

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.

Authorized Shares

List the total number of shares you’re creating. You must create at least one share.

Pennsylvania Incorporator

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.

Effective Date

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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®