How to Form an LLC in Pennsylvania

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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 to save time?
Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom

Starting a Pennsylvania LLC

How to Form an LLC in PennsylvaniaA 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).

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

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:

Designator: Your LLC name must include a designator at the end. Pennsylvania law allows the following designators:

  • Co.
  • Ltd.
  • LTD
  • LLC (most common)
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited
  • Company
  • 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

Official PA LLC forms: Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement

PA LLC filing fee: $125

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

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.

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

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.

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

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.

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, 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.

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 (ex: 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

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 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) (online filings)

Matt Horwitz

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

94 comments on “Pennsylvania LLC”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. 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!!!!

    • 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!!

        • Hi Crystal, are you referring to a Philadelphia commercial activity license? If so, we don’t cover that. Thanks for your understanding.

      • Hello, Matt,
        We have Education Exchange, LLC in 3 years in PA. Could we also run a travel business? Just like Liberty Travel Inc. Is there special travel agency certification in PA ?

        • Hi Chelsea, yes, you can also run travel business activities through your LLC. There are a few states where a license is required, but Pennsylvania isn’t one of them. Hope that helps.

    • Is there a question that asks if you are a veteran when applying for LLC that changes the fee to $0? Just trying to figure this out!

  2. Thanks so much for posting this very helpful information!

  3. 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?

    • 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.

  4. 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.

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

  5. 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?

    • 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.

  6. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

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

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. I applied for an EIN October, 2017, with a name I want to use for an LLC.
    I am looking to do an online clothing with 4 brand names; when I did the EIN, one of the brand name I will be using as the trade name. Will this confuse things when I a) file for the LLC, and then I am assuming the name
    that I put on the EIN as the trading name, I will need to do a ficitious name for that is the other three once the LLC is approved?

    • Hey Aaron, you’re supposed to form the LLC first, then obtain an EIN. I’ll help you straighten things out, but have some questions. Do you want to do business under one, or all of your brand names, or will you simply just have 4 brands/clothing lines owned by your LLC? You only need to file a Fictitious Name registration if you’ll be doing business under a name different than your LLC name.

  9. Hi Matt, just found your website today while researching to set up an LLC in PA. What a great resource! I already have a federal EIN/Tax ID that I’ve used as a freelancer/on my personal taxes for several years, and my accountant said if I create a new LLC (for a film production), I would not need a new EIN, and would just use my existing one. But reading through the comments here, I noticed new EIN’s are sometimes required. I don’t want to have a misstep while creating the LLC, is it possible you could verify if my current EIN would work for the new LLC (operating as a passthrough)? Also, would I then be able to create a separate bank account for the business with this existing EIN? Thanks for your time! Jason

    • Hi Jason, apologies for the slow reply. Yes, your accountant is correct. You can use the existing EIN (which you obtained as a Sole Proprietorship) if you will be operating as a single-member LLC, which that seems to be the case. Also, you can only use this EIN if you do not have employees. You will need to mail a letter to the IRS though letting them know about the reassignment. Some people find it easier to cancel your EIN then get a new one for the LLC. Either way works though. Hope that helps!

  10. Matt, just wanted to thank you for this wonderful website. You helped me make my decision to not choose DE/NV/WY as states to incorporate since I will be operating in a different state and paying extra fees and keeping track of other state requirements are totally not worth the basic income my LLC will potentially make. The other popular websites had totally confused me. Regards!

    • Hey GB! Apologies for my slow reply. That is great to hear. So happy we were able to help :)

  11. Hi Matt!
    I have filed and received my LLC, but I don’t yet have a bank account for the business. Is the fictitious name paperwork necessary to open a business bank account? Is that different from a DBA? Being a small business is associated with so many costs and I don’t want to put out money I don’t have to because I’m not clear on things. My business name is Wilkins Realty LLC. I filed through legal zoom but didn’t check the fictitious name box. Will I have to do the additional $70 paperwork or can I just open the bank account in the business name?

    • Hi Tezarah, apologies for the slow reply. Yes, a DBA is called a Fictitious Name in Pennsylvania. But no, it’s not required to open a bank account, unless you wanted to do business under a different name besides Wilkins Realty LLC. Since you will just operate under the name Wilkins Realty LLC and open your bank account in that same name, the DBA is unnecessary. Hope that helps!

  12. Hey after hours of searching on the web, your website was the best. I found the information I needed quick and easy to understand thank you!!

    • Thank you so much for the awesome comment Alex!! It means a lot. Happy to hear we were able to help :)

  13. Sincerely Appreciate the info! How can someone support your endeavors?

    • Ron, you’re welcome!! Thank you so much. That’s very kind of you. Best form of repayment is word of mouth. The next time you hear of someone forming an LLC, just tell them about LLC University :) Thank you again!

  14. Hi, My son and daughter are preparing to start an LLC, however my daughter is apprehensive about putting her name on documents because her 6yr old son receives disability SSI, and she also works a job. She’s afraid they will remove him because she will be making too much extra money.

    What can I tell her?

    They you for your excellent information, I have told many about your University.

    • Hi Jack, quite easy in PA actually, since LLC Members are not listed on the Certificate of Organization. Have your son be the LLC Organizer, so just his name will be on the Certificate of Organization. Then have him sign a Statement of LLC Organizer appointing himself and your daughter as the LLC Members. Also have both of them sign an LLC Operating Agreement. Both the Statement of LLC Organizer and the Operating Agreement are “internal documents”, meaning, they are not sent to the state. Hope that helps. And thanks for spreading the good news!

  15. Matt, me and my partner have an LLC in PA. We are the only 2 members. Our LLC has no expenses or profits since beginning in 2014. My partner and I no longer work together, and I would like to amend the LLC so that I am the sole remaining member. Is this possible, and how would I do this?

    • Hi David, you can certainly do so, but you should have a contract drawn up showing your partner stepping down and selling their interest to you. We don’t have something like this available yet. You’ll also need to have him go to the bank and remove himself as a signer (if applicable). You’ll also need to send a letter to the IRS requesting your LLC no longer be taxed as a Partnership and be taxed as a Sole Proprietorship. You may also need to contact the PA Department of Revenue regarding the change. Let me suggest an easier route. Form a new LLC for yourself and then dissolve the old LLC. Things will be “cleaner” this way.

  16. Thanks for your advice, Matt! Sounds reasonable.

    However, the 2nd new LLC cannot have the same name as the first LLC, is that correct?

    Regardless, thanks so much for your response.

    PS: Matt, I thought your name was familiar. We formed our LLC using LLC UNIVERSITY in March, 2016! I took your online course materials, and was very happy with your service.

    • Hi David, that’s awesome to hear! In your case, the 2nd new LLC can have the same identical name of the 1st LLC, as long as that 1st LLC plans on dissolving (being shut down) or plans on changing it’s name (via filing an amended Certificate of Organization). Also, the 1st LLC needs to sign a Consent to Appropriation of Name Form (DSCB:19-17.2). In you situation, if you’re going to shut down the 1st LLC, you’d check off “About to cease to do business” in #5. Hope that helps!

  17. I am operating now as Sole Proprietor and have my business name registered as DBA. I want to “move” to LLC. I am not sure yet if I will have employees yet, but is better to file for a new EIN if I may hire someone one day? Do I have to cancel the DBA in order to receive the same name for LLC? I hope my questions make sense.
    Thank you for all your information.

    • Hi Alina, it’s better to file for a new EIN (after the LLC is approved) to keep your records cleaner (regardless if you hire or not). No, you don’t have to cancel the DBA in order to form an LLC under the identical name (only difference will be “LLC” at the end). Here is the order you’ll want to go about it. Pretty much ignore the existing DBA (for now). Form a new LLC using the identical name, but adding “LLC” at the end. After LLC is approved, get a new EIN for the LLC. Then just start running and operating your PA LLC. When you file your 2018 taxes (in April 2019) for your Sole Proprietorship/DBA, on the schedule that lists your Sole Proprietorship/DBA, tell your accountant to mark the return as final. Then later in 2019, cancel the EIN for the DBA. And then cancel the DBA itself with the state by filing a Cancellation of Fictitious Name. But there is no rush on the DBA Cancellation form. You can just do it next year after you file your final return. If helpful, we have additional information on moving from a DBA to an LLC here: convert Sole Proprietorship to LLC. Hope that helps.

  18. Hi Matt,

    Great site – reading all your responses to the previous questions and I learned a lot!

    I previously had an LLC in NJ (now dissolved) and I remember when wording the business purpose on initial filings, I was told I could have generic wording as the following:

    “The purpose of the Limited Liability Company is to engage in any lawful activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in this state”

    I am now forming another LLC in PA and under which I would like to carry various business endeavors (event planning, food service, and other unrelated ventures).

    Q1: Can I use the same wording in the state of PA? If not, what would be acceptable wording to make the business purpose as general as possible?

    Q2: Based on my understanding on how fictitious names work (DBA), am I correct that the LLC can file a separate fictitious name for each different type of business venture?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Alan, thanks! Glad to hear the comment section has been helpful :)

      1.) Sort of. PA allows for you to use a general purpose statement in addition to something specific. They don’t allow you to only state a general purpose. For example, within your Docketing Statement, you could state: “Management consulting and any and all lawful purposes for which an LLC may be organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”. You cannot only have “Any and all lawful purposes for which an LLC may be organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

      2.) Yes, you are correct. A PA LLC can register/own as many Pennsylvania Fictitious Names (aka DBAs) as you’d like. Hope that helps.

      • I just had my LLC filing returned (9/22/18) because my “filing lacks the specific brief statement of business. Refer to the proper paragraph on the docketing statement.” and I said exactly that, “Any and all lawful purposes for which an LLC may be organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”

        • Hi Brandon, apologies for the confusion. My initial reply to Alan was incorrect and has since been edited. On the Pennsylvania LLC Docketing Statement, you can have a general purpose statement, but only in addition to something specific. For example, you can use: “Management consulting and any and all lawful purposes for which an LLC may be organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”. Hope that helps.

  19. Hi,
    First I want to Thank you for an amazing site. Very clear steps.
    I have 1 question, I filed for my PA llc online last week. How long it takes for the approval?
    If it takes 3-4 weeks can I convert my filing to expedite?


    • Hey Lakshay, thank you! When forming a Pennsylvania LLC online via PENN File, approval is 7-10 business days. However, most of the time, I’ve seen them approved faster. Hope that helps :)

  20. Hey, Thanks for setting this up.
    Good job and a neat presentation as well.
    A special Blessing on you.
    I have a Q.
    What happens to a dormant LLC and its taxations.
    I don’t have any at the moment.Asking for the sake of information.
    Thanks in Advance

    • Hey Ninan, thanks :) You’re very welcome! In PA, your LLC may have to file a Decennial Report every 10 years (in years ending in a “1”, example 2021). If there is no income or write offs, or credits or deductions to claim, you don’t have to file a return. So you can just leave the LLC “on the shelf” until you’re ready to use it. Hope that helps.

  21. couple questions: What does a dicennial report consist of: I filed all the paperwork for my LLC, and have the LLC started, and I sent in my documents to the IRS to become taxed as an S-Corp. What is my next step here? I filed the PA 100 as well as IRS form 2553, got my EIN and all, is there anything else I need to do with the State of PA or the IRS? Since I elected to be taxed as an S-corp, will there be more reports that I need to file other than the dicennial report? Appreciate any help.

    • Hi Jon, nope, those are all the LLC formation steps with the PA Bureau of Corporations. You can find more info on the Decennial Report and having an LLC taxed as an S-Corp here: Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report and LLC taxed as S-Corp. Regarding your S-Corp taxation, you’ll need to speak with an accountant regarding proper filings federally and at the state level. Hope that helps!

  22. How to I make an LLC into a sub-catagory c corporation?

  23. If your gonna be an online business do u need a LLC n an EIN ..or most importantly do u need a business license or permit ?

    • Hi Heather, it depends on the type of business you are operating, however, most online businesses don’t need a business license. And you don’t have to form an LLC, however, an LLC protects you in the event of a lawsuit (see LLC asset protection), so you can form one if you’d like, but again, you don’t have to. Same thing with an EIN. You only need an EIN if you are going to form an LLC and open a bank account, however, if you just want to operate as a Sole Proprietorship (see Sole Proprietorship vs LLC) then you can just do business under your own name (or a Fictitious Name) and use your SSN to open a business bank account and pay taxes.

  24. Hi Matt, I am currently operating as a sole proprietorship in Pa. and my registered business fictitious name has the word “company” at the end, it’s on all paperwork including my accounts (bank, vendors, licenses, taxes). I want to form an LLC and keep the same name. Here’s where it gets interesting, my EIN is under the first business I started, when I started my current business while still operating my first I read on the IRS site that I did not need another EIN for the second because I am a sole proprietor. (No employees for either business btw) So now I have since sold my first business, I want to LLC my current (this is the one with “company” in the name) and partner 50/50 with my wife and will be adding people to payroll. How should I go about this?

    • Hi Brandon, it’ll likely be easier to form a new LLC with your wife and get a new EIN from the IRS. Hope that helps.

  25. Matt, I need to setup an LLC in PA. I’m planning to use a CROP for the Agent. I don’t have a physical address in PA currently, but will be doing business there within 6 months. Can I receive my mail at a PO Box or UPS Store address in another state? Or will the state of PA require I already have a physical address there?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Rod, since the PA Certificate of Organization only has one address on it (the Registered Office), that is where mail will be sent. You can use a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) or you can use a UPS Store address (or similar), however, you can’t list a PO Box address for the Registered Office. Hope that helps.

  26. This page has been so helpful. Thank you Matt. My question is if I sell tee shirts on line and at vending events will I have to register the business name? I also want to do a PA trademark for my biz name/logo. Can I use a po box as my address on the form?

    • Hi Reid, you’re very welcome! What do you mean by “register a business name”? That statement is ambiguous and can either mean to form an LLC or register a Fictitious Name (owned by a Sole Proprietorship). If you form an LLC, you don’t also need to register a Pennsylvania trademark (although you certainly could) as the LLC name already has protection in the state. However, if you want federal protection, you’d look into a federal trademark. However, that is usually a bit overkill (and can be expensive) right out of the gate for new businesses. It’s usually best to validate the business model, grow the business, make sure marketing and naming are dialed in, then begin discussing a federal trademark. Regarding the use of a PO Box address, what form and what line are you referring to? Thanks.

  27. Great website, just got a question. You said to get an ein number after you form a llc, however the docking statement asks for the ein number.

    • Hi Sally, that Docketing Statement is confusing lol. You can just write “applied for”. Hope that helps.

  28. For the state of Pennsylvania, when completing the Certificate of Organization online, it asks you if you want to upload any additional documents and it references the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name. Is this required to have an “airtight” LLC? Also, should we also attach a copy of the Docketing Statement in this section as well?


    • Hi Aisha, unless you have specific provisions/additional articles you’d like to add to your LLC, it’s not necessary. And no, you don’t need to attach a copy of the Docketing Statement in this section, as the Docketing Statement is already included in the Pennsylvania LLC online filing via PENN File. Hope that helps!

  29. Hi Matt, Many thanks for such great information. I have a specific question, perhaps needing an attorney, but still thought to have your feedback. I am interested in forming an LLC, for an import-export purposes dealing in agro commodities. Exporting primarily from west coast, imports into PA. and selling the imports online to start with.
    Would forming an LLC in PA be okay? or would I better off forming a LLC in tax free states, or the point of my exporting state. Ex. California. I am based in PA.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Asad, if you reside in PA, run the business form PA, and import into PA, that sounds like doing business in PA. However, there may be more details to dig into with an accountant regarding your situation. Hope that helps.

  30. Hi, Matt –

    I formed my LLC in 2013 and only used it through the second half of that year, and 2014. I have some consulting work that has come up and I’d like to use my LLC for it. Do I have to do anything since it’s been a few years?

    Thanks so much for your help! Your site is very informative.


    • Hi Jennifer, you’re very welcome. Thank you. You can use the LLC for any legal business activity, so it should be good to go. Hope that helps.

  31. So my filing was returned with the following:

    103 – Your filing lacks the specific brief statement of business. Refer to the proper paragraph on the Docketing Statement.
    161 – Your payment has been received. Please return this notice along with your corrected filing. Failure to do so may result in further rejections and penalties, if applicable.

    How do I resubmit the filing without having to pay again? I know I have to make my business description a bit more specific but where and how do I submit?

    Thanks for the prompt reply!

    • Also it says:

      “Please return this letter or a copy thereof with the attached, date-stamped and corrected document within 30 days of the date of this notice in order to retain the date of delivery to the Department as the file date, if a filing is required. Rejection of a document does not constitute a name reservation.”

      What exactly does this mean?

      • Hey Lucas, it says to refile within 30 days to get your refund/credit. I wouldn’t worry about the name reservation part. Hope that helps.

      • So to refile, would I have to mail in the documentation or submit another filing online?

        Thank you for the feedback :)

        • Hi Lucas, I’m about 90% certain you’d have to mail it in this time. The online filing doesn’t have a credit function. However, I recommend calling the Corporation Bureau tomorrow if you want to double-check.

    • Hey Lucas, when you send your new filing in just include a copy of the rejection letter. I know it’s not clear on their language, but that’s how PA does it :) Hope that helps.

  32. Hello, would it be good practice for anonymity to form my llc in another state while most of my business would be in Pa? I heard this would be how to remain an “unknown” in case someone was trying to sue an owner of an llc- the person wouldn’t be able to find out who the owner is of a particular house or building if the owner structures the llc a certain way in another state such as Omaha. Could you shed some light on the subject? thanks Jerrell

    • Hi Jerrell, if you hire a Pennsylvania Registered Agent and have someone else (or a company) form the LLC for you (so they sign as the LLC Organizer and not you), then your name will not appear on the Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization. Check out the form on that page (see Form DSCB:15-8821). You’ll see that LLC Members (ownership) is not on the form. Having said that, another setup some real estate investors follow is forming a parent LLC, say in Wyoming, then that LLC owns your LLC(s) located in the property state. While on the surface, there is anonymity in both setups (PA LLC or WY LLC owning PA LLC), if the LLC is sued, something as simple as interrogatories or depositions will likely lead to beneficial ownership being known. However, how you structure your entities (and assets) may lead to stronger asset protection. You also have to look at how much you’re trying to protect. A lot of people read about “popular” setups, go overboard protecting a small amount of assets, and don’t realize the headaches (state filings, Registered Agent renewals, annual reports, bookkeeping, etc.) in running a multi-entity structure. In conclusion, it’s best practice to speak with attorney (or a few) and dive into the details of your situation… what you have going on, what you’re looking to do, what you’re looking to grow into, tax considerations, and more. Hope that helps.

  33. Hi Matt,
    We are purchasing a business that is currently a sole prop. We are both new to the world of business and are very confused.
    Could you help me understand the difference between a sole prop and LLC? We aren’t sure if switching to an LLC is the best move, but what I find online is in terms that I don’t quite understand.
    Thank you in advance!!

    • Hey Cora, you can read our LLC vs Sole Proprietorship page to learn more. And one minor clarification… you plan to buy a business. And while that business is currently being run as a Sole Proprietorship, you are not buying the Sole Proprietorship (not possible). You would just be buying the business. You can buy that business “personally” (as a Sole Proprietorship) or you can form an entity, like an LLC, and your LLC would buy the business. Hope that helps.

  34. I currently run a sole proprietorship. If I form an LLC and then establish a bank account and maintain separate personal/business records going forward, do I have to also notify past service providers that I am now doing business as XYZ LLC? e.g. If I subscribe to gmail for $5 / month for email do I have to notify them I’m now operating as XYZ LLC or would it not be considered piercing the veil? Secondly, if I form an LLC for my business activities today, could I be sued personally for something business related that happened last year and the LLC would only provide protection after formation date, or would LLC provide personal liability protection from a lawsuit even if said activity happened before LLC formation?



    • Hi Peter, make sure to open the LLC bank account in the name of the LLC and not just a separate personal account. While email may not be the most important (or urgent would be a better way to put it), anything that you want to be ran through the LLC should be registered in the name of the LLC. With a lot of online accounts, it can be as simple as adding/swapping in your LLC name in the registration settings. No, the LLC doesn’t offer protection for past events. It makes sense if you think about it. If that weren’t the case, everyone in the country could just form an LLC in the event of legal issues. Hope that helps.

  35. Is any way we can switch Fictitious Name to an LLC in PA. We paid a $70 fee on 10/30/2020 but now we realize LLC will be more appropriate. In my research Cancelling a Fictitious Name cost other $70 and then I will need to pay $125 for the LLC. All your insight will be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Liz, there is no such thing as switching a Fictitious Name to an LLC. However, you could form a new LLC and just keep the Fictitious Name open (and not use it). Or you could assign (transfer) the ownership of the Fictitious Name from yourself to your LLC. Hope that helps.

  36. Hi Matt! Thanks for an awesome site! I am setting up an LLC in PA for anesthesia services, as I mainly do 1099 work. I am finding lots of pros and cons for LLC-sole proprietor vs. an S-Corp. is there a minimum amount of income you would recommend for setting up an S-Corp? It seems like the tax benefits are better with an S-Corp! Would love your thoughts. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Marissa, you’re welcome! Yes, I recommend that the business income be steady and consistent and that there be about $60k-$80k net income per Member to make the costs and administrative work of an LLC taxed as an S-Corp be worth it. We actually need to add a few updates to that page. One important one being the IRS’s “60-month rule”: an LLC that elects S-Corp taxation cannot change that classification for 5 years. The only exception is an LLC that made the S-election when the LLC was formed. Hope that helps :)

  37. I am trying to figure out my statement of purpose for my soon to be health and wellness business. I will be inspiring people to get healthy and be positive through my fitness journey. Providing merch, ebooks, exercise, recipes, consulting, etc. Your website has so much helpful info but I’m still stuck on my statement of purpose.

    • Hi Akilyah, what an amazing business! It sounds like you’re referring to #3 from the Docketing Statement. This is actually not that important. The information is passed to the Department of Revenue, mostly for statistical purposes. It can be as simple as “Fitness products and services” (or anything like this; short and sweet). And don’t worry, you’re not forced to do this forever. You can change, adapt, and pivot your business freely without the need to update this initial description. Hope that helps :)

  38. As a potential entrepreneur, I found your website to be very informative and I know where to come when we decide to form our LLC.

    Thank you m,

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