GETTING STARTED

Naming the LLC

  • 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? 

  • 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

  • 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.’
  • 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 Articles of Organization

  • Companies may download the Certificate of Organization here. Companies may download the Docketing Statement here. Pennsylvania requires a nonrefundable fee of $250 to file the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement.

Create Operating Agreement

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

RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS

Getting Your 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 open a business bank account; file Federal and State Taxes; and hire employees.
  • Before you get your EIN make sure your new business has been properly formed before applying and be wary of paid sites. EINs are free direct from the IRS.
  • 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. You can call 1-800-829-4933, between 7am to 7pm of your time zone, Monday to Friday. Snail mail: You can download the form and mail it in.

Keeping Business and Personal Accounts Separate

  • 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. 
  • 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 track income and expenses, so you can easily see if you’re making money and make filing income taxes so much easier.
  • Always try and find something that will: sync with all of your bank and credit card accounts automatically – not just downloads, but auto sync; auto-match vendors, customers and other accounts; and let you accept credit cards and ACH drafts with ease. This can be applied for online, as can unemployment

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

Specific Industries

There are special industry taxes for businesses within some industries. You can find the industries and the tax forms here

  • 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 YOUR 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:

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

FILING 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 and the Foreign Registration.

ABOUT HOW TO START AN LLC

I'm an entrepreneur myself. When talking to others who want to start their own business, they often get wrapped up in the nitty gritty of paperwork and forming the company. They forget that what really matters is customers, sales, and profit. That's why I created How to Start an LLC.org: a simple resource and guide so you can spend less time on forming your company, and more time on building it.

My lawyers want me to remind you that I'm not a lawyer and that I'm completely unqualified to offer legal advice. This site is meant to serve as a reference for you on your journey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a qualified lawyer (or accountant) to help you. Also, as a general rule, never take random legal advice on the internet.