Quick Start Guide ← you are here
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania LLC Costs:
Pennsylvania state fee: $125
Starting a Pennsylvania LLC
A Pennsylvania Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a legal business structure used to protect your personal assets (like your home, car, and personal bank account) in the event your company is sued.
A Pennsylvania LLC can be used to operate a business, or an LLC can be used to hold assets (such as real estate, vehicles, boats, and aircraft).
1. LLC Name
Search your desired LLC name to make sure it’s available for use.
Your name must be unique among the existing businesses registered in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania LLC name search: https://www.corporations.pa.gov/search/corpsearch
Designator: Your LLC name must include a designator at the end. Pennsylvania law allows the following designators:
- LLC (most common)
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Co.
- Ltd. Liability Company
- Limited Liability Company
2. Registered Office
A Registered Office is an official address on file with the state that is used for legal mail (called Service of Process).
Your Registered Office Address must be located in Pennsylvania. It must be a street address. You can’t use a PO Box. Your Registered Office Address could be:
- home address
- office address
- friend or family member’s address, with their permission
- or the address of a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP).
Benefit of using a CROP: your address will remain off public records for privacy.
CROP Recommendations: If you want to hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
3. Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement
PA LLC filing fee: $125
Filing methods: by mail, online (recommended), or
Walk-in filings are not available: As of late-2020, walk-in filings are no longer available. We’ll update this page once the state re-opens walk-in LLC filings.
File online: PA Business One-Stop Hub (Keystone Login required)
Update: Prior to Keystone Login, the old method of online filing was to just have a PENN File account. Since May 29, 2020, Pennsylvania now requires everyone to create a Keystone Login.
File by mail: Send your Articles of Organization and filing fee to:
PA Department of State
Bureau of Corporations
PO Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
LLC approval time: 7-10 business days.
Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. Please see how long does it take to get an LLC in Pennsylvania.
What you get: Stamped and approved Certificate of Organization and Welcome Letter.
Expedited filing: $100 extra for same-day approval. Must be filed in-person in Harrisburg. Use expedited service request form.
4. LLC Operating Agreement
Your LLC’s Operating Agreement is an “internal document”. It doesn’t get mailed to the state or any other agency. Just keep it with your LLC business records.
The Operating Agreement is where the owners (Members) of the LLC are listed. This document governs how much each member owns, how profits are split, how taxes are paid, and more.
If you have a single-member LLC, it’s still best practice to have an Operating Agreement for your LLC.
5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is used for opening bank accounts, filing taxes, and employee payroll, if applicable.
Think of the EIN as a “social security number” for your LLC.
Common names: Federal Tax Number, Federal Employer Number, FEIN, Federal Tax ID Number, EIN, Employer Identification Number. These all mean the same thing.
Wait for LLC approval: Only apply for an EIN after your LLC is approved.
- If you are a non-US resident or don’t have a social security number, you cannot obtain an EIN online. Mail or fax Form SS-4 and write “Foreign” on line 7b.
- If your LLC is owned by another LLC, you cannot obtain an EIN online. Mail or fax Form SS-4.
6. Decennial Report
Unlike most states which require an Annual Report, regular Pennsylvania LLCs don’t file an Annual Report. However, they may need to file a Decennial Report.
- Exception: Restricted Professional LLCs. If you have a Restricted Professional Limited Liability Company (which is what Pennsylvania calls a PLLC), it needs to file an Annual Report called the Certificate of Annual Registration. The Certificate of Annual Registration must be received by the state by April 15th every year (beginning the year after your Restricted Professional LLC is approved). Restricted Professional LLCs don’t need to file a Decennial Report.
Every 10 years (in years ending in “1”), the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations looks back over the past decade to see if your LLC has filed anything with their office. If it has, the LLC doesn’t owe a Decennial Report. If it hasn’t, the LLC owes a Decennial Report.
2021 is a Decennial Report year. The Decennial Report costs $70.
LLCs formed on or after 1/1/2012 don’t have to file a 2021 Decennial Report.
LLCs formed before 1/1/2012 may have to file a 2021 Decennial Report. It depends on whether or not any subsequent filings were made between 1/1/2012 and 12/31/2021. For more details, please see Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report.
Purpose: The purpose of the Pennsylvania Decennial Report is to keep the state updated with your LLC’s contact information.
Reminders: A reminder postcard for the 2021 Decennial Report was mailed out to LLCs that need to file in January 2021. However, this is a courtesy reminder. Meaning, even if your LLC doesn’t receive a reminder, if it needs to file a 2021 Decennial Report, it’s your responsibility to make sure it gets filed.
Penalty if not filed: If a Decennial Report isn’t filed by 12/31/2021, the LLC loses its name rights. There is no financial penalty for not filing a Decennial Report. If an LLC late-files a Decennial Report (files after 12/31/2021), the fee is still $70 and the LLC’s name rights will be restored.
7. Business Licenses and/or Permits
You need to contact the city, county, township or borough where your LLC is located to determine if you need a business license and/or permit. These requirements vary widely, depending on where the business is located, and what industry you are in.
If you want to save time, we recommend hiring a professional license company to do the research for you and prepare your applications. Our favorite company is IncFile. They will provide you with a comprehensive package of all license and permit requirements for your Pennsylvania LLC. Just fill out their 1-minute questionnaire to get started.
Federal taxes: LLCs have “pass through” taxation. Profits or losses flow through to your personal tax return and are usually listed on a Schedule C.
State and local taxes: Pennsylvania LLCs must register and pay taxes with the PA Department of Revenue, as well as your local municipality (ex: city, town, county, etc.).
9. LLC Bank Account
Open a bank account for your LLC to keep business finances separate from personal finances and maintain liability protection.
Items needed: Approved Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization, EIN for your LLC, and your Driver’s License.
Recommendation: Shop around. Some banks charge monthly fees for an LLC bank account. Others don’t. Call a few banks in PA to compare your options.
Debit card: Your bank will issue a debit card after you open the account.
Credit card: Start building business credit. Shop business credit cards here.
10. Business Phone Number
Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your Pennsylvania LLC. You can set this virtual business phone up to forward to your cell phone, go through voice prompts, or configure it any way you’d like.
We recommend using Phone.com as they have the cheapest plans and their customer service is excellent.
They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily setup call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.
Getting a separate business phone number for your Pennsylvania LLC is also a good idea in order to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.
Pennsylvania Department of State Contact Info
PA Department of State
PA Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
717-787-1057 (8:00am – 4:45pm Monday to Friday)
email@example.com (online filings)