Pennsylvania LLC

How to Form an LLC
in PA (Pennsylvania)

Quick Start Guide ← you are here
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Pennsylvania.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Pennsylvania LLC Costs:
Pennsylvania state fee: $125

Need help?
Hire a reliable service to form your LLC:
IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

How to Form an LLC in PennsylvaniaA Pennsylvania Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a legal business structure used to protect your personal assets (home, car, 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).

If you’d like to form an LLC in Pennsylvania yourself, follow our Quick Start Guide below (the brief overview), or click on the detailed lessons above.

Need to save time? Hire a reliable service to form your LLC:
IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

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 for the following: LLC (most common), L.L.C., LTD, Ltd., Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Co., Ltd. Liability Company, Ltd. Liability Co., Limited, Company, or Co.

Tip: Secure your domain name ahead of time:

GoDaddy Domain Search:

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. PO Boxes are not allowed.

Your options: home address, office address, friend’s address, family member’s address, 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: IncFile (for $99/year) or Northwest Registered Agent (for $125/year). IncFile is cheaper, but their support is not as good as Northwest Registered Agent.

3. Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement

Official PA LLC forms: Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement

PA LLC filing fee: $125

Filing methods: by mail, online (recommended), or walk-in.

File online: https://www.corporations.pa.gov/Account/Register_account

File by mail:

PA Department of State
Bureau of Corporations
PO Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

LLC approval time: 7-10 business days.

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.

Need to save time? Hire a reliable service to form your LLC:
IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

4. LLC Operating Agreement

• Your LLC’s Operating Agreement is an “internal document”. It does not get mailed to the state, or any other agency. Just keep it with your LLC business records.

• The Operating Agreement is where the owners (called 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.

Free Operating Agreement download: PDF | Google Doc | Microsoft Word

5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

• An 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. They are all the same thing.

Wait for LLC approval: Only apply for an EIN after your LLC is approved.

Fee: $0. EINs are free from the IRS. You can obtain an EIN by mail (Form SS-4), fax (855-641-6935), or online (recommended).

• 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, Pennsylvania just has a Decennial Report. This report is due once every 10 years, in years ending with a “1” (2021, 2031, etc.).

Purpose: to keep the state updated with your LLC’s contact information.

Reminders: the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations will mail reminders 2 months before the due date.

Penalty if not filed: forfeiting the rights to your LLC name.

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.

Need to save time? If you’d rather rather not do the research to determine your business license and permit requirements, we recommend hiring IncFile. They’ll take care of everything for $99.

8. Taxes

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 (city, town, county, etc.).

Recommendation: hire an accountant after your LLC is formed. Read our how to find a great accountant guide, or check out Thumbtack.

9. LLC Bank Account

Maintain liability protection: open a bank account for your LLC to keep business finances separate from personal finances.

Items needed: Approved Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization, EIN, and Driver’s License.

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.

Pennsylvania State Agency

PA Department of State
PA Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
717-787-1057 (8:00am – 4:45pm M-F)

(online filings)

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University

Forming an LLC shouldn’t be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.


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18 Comments

  1. Brett Boulin March 23, 2017

    I can’t thank you enough for this site. I went from paying $250+ to form my llc to paying $0 ( I’m a veteran). This site could not have made it easier and I will promote it any chance I get. Thank you so much Matt. You are the man!!!!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 23, 2017

      Hi Brett, thanks so much man!! Really appreciate the kind words :) Happy to hear that we could really help and serve you. Best wishes with the business my friend!!

      reply
  2. VW June 21, 2017

    Thanks so much for posting this very helpful information!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 23, 2017

      You’re very welcome!

      reply
  3. Kim August 7, 2017

    I already applied for EIN and business name, we aslo drafted papers to do business as a general partnership. I want to change to an LLC. Do i need to withdraw or cancel the business name I already have? Can I use the EIN I already have?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 7, 2017

      I recommend cancelling the name registration since it won’t be needed. And you’ll need a new EIN after the new LLC is formed.

      reply
  4. Ross Connard October 4, 2017

    Bumped into your video on YouTube about why NOT to open a business in Delaware and made my way to your site. Great information, well presented. Thank you very much for saving us a bunch of trouble, Matt.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 4, 2017

      Hi Ross, thank you for the kind words! I’m very happy to hear we were able to save you the time and hassle :)

      reply
  5. Ashley Acornley November 6, 2017

    What if you have an LLC established in one state, but you are moving and need to establish the LLC in a new state? Is there specific paperwork that I need to file or a particular office I need to contact?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 8, 2017

      Hey Ashley, there are usually 3 ways to “move” an LLC. 1) Dissolve existing LLC and form a new LLC in the new state. This means new EIN, new bank account, etc. 2) File a Foreign LLC registration in the new state. This keeps the existing LLC in place (same EIN, same bank account, etc.), but gives it authority to do business in the new state. 3) If the incoming state allows, you can convert/re-domesticate/move your LLC to the new state. This “converts” the LLC to the new state and then you can dissolve the hold one. This allows you to keep the same EIN and bank account. You can call the Secretary of State of the incoming state and see if they have this option. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any followup questions.

      reply
  6. Tom Lemon November 15, 2017

    Hi Matt,

    I filed both the “Application for Registration of Fictitious Name” and the “Certificate of Organization-Domestic Limited Liability Company” (in that order) for my new LLC. I fear filing both of these forms has created a conflict for naming the LLC. Can you tell me if these forms are at odds with each other? Do you know if there is a way to fix it if so?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 15, 2017

      Hey Tom, yes, this will cause an issue. I’d call the state (717-787-1057) and see if they can cancel the Fictitious Name registration. You want your Fictitious Name owned by your LLC, correct? What is the reason you are filing a Fictitious Name? Would you be able to provide the name of both your LLC and Fictitious Name? Feel free to send an email if that’s better for you.

      reply
      • Tom Lemon November 15, 2017

        I thought that I had to request the name as a separate step prior to getting the LLC certification…but, realized too late that was incorrect. I called and they said I should wait for the requests to be processed and hopefully we could sort it out afterwards. I sent email to potentially help too. Thanks for your assistance. Your website is a great resource.

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz November 15, 2017

          Hey Tom, I understand. A lot of people think they need to do that (reserve a name ahead of time). That’s not the case and it’s unfortunate that there are a lot of websites that mislead people on that step (it mostly has to do with them trying to charge for unnecessary services). Keep me posted once you hear back. They’ll likely reject one of the filings and give you your money back. But do just reach back out once you hear from them. I’ll help you straighten it out.

          reply
          • Tom Lemon November 20, 2017

            Hi Matt,

            Not sure it was through correspondence or luck but, the Fictitious Name request was rejected while the LLC request was accepted. Looks like I’m down the $70 fee but, the end result was good. Thanks for your help.

            reply
            • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2017

              Hey Tom, that’s great news! Try calling the state after the Thanksgiving holiday and ask for a refund for the $70 filing fee.

              reply
  7. susan November 28, 2017

    Hi Matt,
    I filed for a LLC. I have not received conformation yet. But today, I received a paper from labor poster services telling me I need to purchase a poster for compliance. This is a dog training, and I will not be hiring employees. It will just be me. Do I need to purchase this?
    Thank you in advance.
    Susan

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 29, 2017

      Hi Susan, the short answer is that it’s a bogus letter and you can throw it away. If you flip over the letter and look at the fine print, it’ll say somewhere that the letter is a solicitation and that the company is not affiliated with the actual state government. These letters are borderline scams as they trick people into purchasing something that they don’t need, and that they can actually get for free in most instances.

      reply

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