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Start a Business in Pennsylvania

Starting a business in Pennsylvania is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Pennsylvania Department of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Pennsylvania business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Pennsylvania LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • PA registered agent service

  • Pennsylvania business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Pennsylvania Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.6 / 5 stars by 427 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Pennsylvania

File Your Articles

You file articles of incorporation for a Pennsylvania corporation or certificate of organization for a Pennsylvania LLC with the PA Department of State.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Pennsylvania showing your approved Pennsylvania business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Pennsylvania business name should be easy with these two items.

Register with the Dept of Revenue

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the PA department of revenue. We provide all these links in your online account.

Apply for Licenses

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.  These quick links and contact details are in your online account. Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Online Business Registration

You may choose to register your business in PA via the “Open for Business Online Business Registration.” This tool allows you to register your business with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Department of Revenue, and Department of Labor & Industry in one stop.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Pennsylvania yourself, you can just hire us as your Pennsylvania registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Pennsylvania LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Pennsylvania corporation or form a Pennsylvania LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Pennsylvania registered agent service.


Pennsylvania LLC vs Corporation

LLCs are popular for small businesses. Because they have fewer annual requirements, LLCs are easier to maintain over long periods. Corporations are often preferred by large business owners. Having the option to sell stock helps attract top investors.

But, what about Pennsylvania? Any pros and cons for a Pennsylvania LLC vs a PA corporation?

Pennsylvania corporations have slightly higher initial costs. All Pennsylvania corporations must publish an intention to file. This needs to be circulated in two separate newspapers, and can easily cost $100 or more in publishing fees. Although there’s no time requirement, it’s one step LLCs don’t have to worry about.

Regarding other filing requirements, there aren’t any significant advantages to starting a Pennsylvania LLC versus a Pennsylvania corporation. For example, the filing fee for the Articles of Incorporation and Certificate of Organization is $125. In addition, if no other state filings are submitted during the time period, both entities must file a decennial report ($70) every ten years with the Pennsylvania Department of State.

During tax season, LLCs and corporations will both get hit fairly hard. Although Pennsylvania’s income tax rate is a fixed 3.07%, most cities assess their own local income tax that could significantly raise your total taxes due. The state also imposes a property tax that, depending on your location, can run fairly high—between 0.90% and 2.47%. Also, Pennsylvania C corporations are subject to a corporate net income tax of 9.99%.

If you want a corporation, you file Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation:

The Pennsylvania articles of incorporation cost $125 with the Pennsylvania Department of State by mail, in person, or online. We custom draft your Pennsylvania articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Pennsylvania business. The basic requirements of Pennsylvania corporations are:

  • An incorporating Pennsylvania ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated
  • A statement that the corporation is organized under the provisions of the Business Corporation law of 1988
  • The corporation is perpetual unless the articles state a term
  • The amount of Pennsylvania corporation shares you would like to authorize
  • The articles are effective when filed unless you specify a later date
  • The name, address, and signature of the Pennsylvania incorporator
  • The registered agent of the proposed Pennsylvania corporation
  • Attach a Docketing Statement to your PA articles of incorporation

Pennsylvania does not require original signatures on new PA corporation filings. The filing confirmation is sent to the address on the PA articles of incorporation.

Start Your Pennsylvania Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization:

To form a Pennsylvania LLC, file a certificate of organization and pay the $125 fee. The basic requirements of Pennsylvania LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it.
  • New Pennsylvania LLCs name must be different than already registered Pennsylvania companies.
  • The address of the LLCs registered office, or the name of the commercial registered agent
  • The names, address, and signature of each organizer
  • Whether members interest is evidenced by a certificate of membership interest
  • Whether the LLC is manager managed
  • The effective date of the certificate of organization
  • If it is a professional LLC, state the service to be provided
  • Docketing Statement must be attached

Pennsylvania does not require original signatures on new PA LLC filings. PA will send the filing confirmation to the address you list on the PA certificate of organization.

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