Getting Started

Naming the LLC

Naming Guidelines in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, an LLC must publicly showcase its status by including one of the following phrases as part of the official company name: “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Corporation.” If there are any restricted words in the name of the company, additional paperwork will be required. If a word is already being used by a federal or a state agency, that word is fully prohibited, not just restricted, in Pennsylvania.

Is the Name for the LLC Available in Pennsylvania? (How Does a Company Search for Name Availability?)

Companies can find the availability of a certain name using the name search feature at the following web address: https://www.corporations.pa.gov/Search/CorpSearch

Is the Domain Name Available?

Companies should check with a domain name registrar to see if a domain name is available. It is not a formal requirement to format a domain name in a certain way; no iteration of “LLC” in the URL is necessary in order to remain in compliance.

Select a Registered/Statutory Agent

What is a Registered Agent?

Pennsylvania wants to be able to get in touch with businesses in its jurisdiction. Having a P. O. Box as a business address is not good enough for the state. The state also wants to keep up with incorporated business entities for tax purposes and separate them from independent contractors and self employed individuals. The registered agent helps the state accomplish these goals.

The registered agent is a person or a company that will receive any service of process correspondence [read: official mail] if a business is involved in any legal action. Registered agents also serve as a permanent address for the state of Pennsylvania to send paperwork to a company.

A registered agent may also be known as a ‘resident agent’ or a ‘statutory agent.’

Who Can be a Registered Agent in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, companies may have a company employee or an outside individual or company serve as the registered agent. However, if the agent is a corporation, it must be duly authorized to operate in the state. If the registered agent is an individual, that person must be a resident of Pennsylvania.

Filing the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement

Link to Download

Companies may download the Certificate of Organization here.

Companies may download the Docketing Statement here.

Is There a Fee?

Pennsylvania requires a nonrefundable fee of $250 to file the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement.

Creating Operating Agreement

Does Pennsylvania Require an Operating Agreement to Form an LLC?

Pennsylvania does not require an Operating Agreement to form an LLC.

Running Your Business

Getting Your EIN

What’s an EIN?

An EIN is an employee identification number, issued by the Internal Revenue service. Sometimes it is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. It’s a unique number issued to each business.

You’ll need an EIN to

  1. Open a business bank account.
  2. File Federal and State Taxes
  3. Hire employees.

Before you get your EIN:

  1. Make sure your new business has been properly formed before applying.
  2. Be wary of paid sites. EINs are free direct from the IRS.

How do I get an EIN?

  1. Apply online: The easiest way is to apply online for an EIN. Note, the IRS website has office hours, and is only available Monday through Friday, 7am to 10pm. Yes, we also agree this is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen.
  2. Call: You can call 1-800-829-4933, between 7am to 7pm of your time zone, Monday to Friday.
  3. Snail Mail – You can download the form and mail it in.

Keep Business and Personal Accounts Separate

  1. Get a business bank account for your business. This will help you protect your personal assets from potential creditors and lawsuits, and will also make life A LOT easier come tax time.
  2. Get a business credit or debit card. This will help you keep your expenses separate and easier to track.

Accounting

No matter what business you run, accounting software and processes is a must for any small business. If you have an accountant, ask them which software they work with and recommend.

A good accounting system is necessary to:

  1. Track income and expenses, so you can easily see if you’re making money
  2. Makes filing income taxes so much easier.

Always try and find something that will:

  1. Sync with all of your bank and credit card accounts automatically – not just downloads, but auto sync.
  2. Automatch vendors, customers and other accounts.
  3. Let you accept credit cards and ach drafts with ease.

If a business has employees, Pennsylvania requires registration for Unemployment Insurance Tax  and Employee Withholding Tax ().

How to Register for Sales and Use Tax in Pennsylvania

If a business is selling taxable goods or services, it must register for the State Sales Tax here: http://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/Tax%20Types%20and%20Information/Pages/Sales-Use-and-Hotel-Occupancy-Tax.aspx#.WLb9jTvyuUk

Specific Industries

There are special industry taxes for businesses within some industries. You can find the industries and the tax forms here: http://www.revenue.pa.gov/FormsandPublications/FormsforBusinesses/Pages/default.aspx#.WAZrb5MrJTY

Licenses and Permits

Depending on the industry, a business may need to register for other federal, state and local permits.

Insurance and Workmen’s Comp in Pennsylvania

All companies must register for Workers Compensation and General Liability insurance.

Keeping the LLC Compliant

Annual Report

Companies in Pennsylvania are required to file a decennial with the Secretary of State.

Cost

It costs $70 to file an Annual Report in Pennsylvania.

Links

The link to file the Annual Report is here: http://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Business/RegistrationForms/Documents/RegForms/54-503%20Decennial%20Rpt%20of%20Assn%20Cont%20Exist.pdf

Deadlines

All Annual Reports are due in years ending with the number “1.”

Late Filings

If a filing is late, then a business will need to request a Certificate of Good Standing. The Certificate can be requested online, by email, by fax or in person. The website link is here: https://www.corporations.pa.gov/search/corpsearch

How to File a Foreign LLC in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania accepts LLCs from outside of the state boundaries. There is a $250 fee associated with filing a foreign LLC with the state. There are two documents required – the Docketing Statement (http://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Business/RegistrationForms/Documents/Updated%202017%20Registration%20Forms/Docketing%20Statements/15-134A%20Docketing%20statement%20creation.pdf) and the Foreign Registration (http://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Business/RegistrationForms/Documents/Updated%202017%20Registration%20Forms/Foreign%20Associations/15-412%20Foreign%20Registration%20Statement.pdf).