How to Start an LLC in Pennsylvania

Last Updated: by the TRUiC Team

To start an LLC in Pennsylvania, you'll need to file a Certificate of Organization with the Pennsylvania Department of State, which costs $125. You can apply online or by mail. 

Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Pennsylvania guide to get started today. 

  1. Name Your Pennsylvania LLC
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. File the Certificate of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File the Annual Report
  7. Keep Your Company Compliant

Or Simply use a professional service:

four point seven out of five Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

Learn more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide. To form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Set Up an LLC guide.

Pennsylvania State map icon with filing cost

Step 1: Name Your Pennsylvania LLC

Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting an LLC in Pennsylvania. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Pennsylvania LLC naming rules and is easily searchable by potential clients.

1. Follow Pennsylvania LLC naming requirements:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any other Pennsylvania limited liability company, corporation, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership.

2. Is the name available in Pennsylvania? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the State of Pennsylvania's website.

To learn more about searching for a Pennsylvania LLC name, read our full guide.

3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

Secure a Domain Name Instantly

Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.

We reviewed and ranked the best LLC services. Find out which is best for you.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Office for Your Pennsylvania LLC

You are required to submit the address of your registered office or commercial registered office provider for your Pennsylvania LLC. Many states refer to this as your LLC's registered agent.

What is a registered office? A registered office is the official mailing address for all legal mail from the state related to your business. Legal mail can include service of process (if you are sued) and state filings. 

Where can my registered office be? Per Pennsylvania law, a registered office must be a street address within Pennsylvania. You cannot use a P.O. box. Your registered office can also be the address of a commercial registered office provider (a registered agent service).

Recommended: Northwest provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($29 + State Fees)

Step 3: File Your Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

To register your Pennsylvania LLC, you'll need to file a Certificate of Organization and a Docketing Statement with the Pennsylvania Department of State. You can apply online or by mail.

Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.

File the Certificate of Organization

OPTION 1: File Form 15-8821 Online With Pennsylvania PENN File

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by Mail

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $125, payable to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Nonrefundable)

Mailing Address:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Note: You must include a Docketing Statement when filing by mail.

For help with completing the form, visit our Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization guide.

Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization pdf

If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Pennsylvania, you will need to form a foreign LLC.

Step 4: Create Your Pennsylvania LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required in Pennsylvania, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Pennsylvania LLC operating agreement guide.

Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.

Step 5: Get a Pennsylvania LLC EIN

You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Identification Number or Federal Employer Identification Number, from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

  • To open a business bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees for the company

Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Step 6: File the Annual Report

The previous decennial report requirements for Pennsylvania business entities were repealed in November 2022. Starting in 2024, LLCs will be required to submit an annual report to the Department of State along with a $7 filing fee. 

Steps After LLC Formation

Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.

Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.

Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant

Pennsylvania LLC Business Permits and Licenses

LLC owners must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. Fees and requirements for licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of business license you need.

Find out how to get the necessary business licenses and permits for your LLC with our Pennsylvania Business License guide.

Recommended: Consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review.

Pennsylvania LLC Tax Filing Requirements

It's important to stay up to date on Pennsylvania business taxes.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of tax:

Sales Tax

If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website.

Pennsylvania’s base state sales tax is 6%. Cities and counties can collect up to 2% in local sales tax, which is on top of the state sales tax.

Employer Taxes

If you’re hiring employees, you’ll need to register for both Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation and Employee Withholding Tax with the Department of Revenue.

Income Tax

Pennsylvania has a flat income tax rate of 3.07% against taxable income of LLCs.

State tax returns are due each year by April 18. To calculate your tax or determine your tax bracket, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website

You’ll also need to report your federal income tax using either Form 1065 (multi-member LLC) or Form 1040 Schedule C (single-member LLC).

Hiring Employees in Pennsylvania

If you plan to hire employees for your Pennsylvania LLC, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:

Find more information at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

Recommended: Check out our Hiring for Your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.

Common Questions About Pennsylvania LLCs

What is an LLC?

LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.

Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?

How do I name my Pennsylvania LLC?

You must follow the Pennsylvania LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:

  • Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
  • Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.

If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.

After you get your business name, your next step is getting a unique logo. Get your unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.

Do I need to get a DBA or fictitious name for my business?

Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known in Pennsylvania as a fictitious name. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.

To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.

Can I be my own registered office in Pennsylvania?

Yes. You can provide your home or office street address as the registered office for your Pennsylvania LLC.

Read more about being your own registered office.

Is a registered agent service worth it?

Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your Pennsylvania LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.

For more information, read our article on Pennsylvania registered agents.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Pennsylvania?

Filing the Certificate of Organization takes 2 to 3 business days online or by mail.

What is the difference between a domestic LLC and a foreign LLC?

An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.

Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.

How much does it cost to start a Pennsylvania LLC?

The cost to start a Pennsylvania LLC is $125.

To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Pennsylvania LLC.

Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?

No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.

How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?

An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more here about applying as an international applicant.

What tax structure should I choose for my Pennsylvania LLC?

When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.

However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.

Do I need an EIN for my LLC?

All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.

Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.

What is the minimum wage in Pennsylvania?

The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 per hour.

How often do I need to pay employees in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania requires wages to be paid semi-monthly, with the first payment between the first and the 15th of the month, and the second between the 15th and last day of the month.

What is a restricted professional company in Pennsylvania?

Any LLCs that perform certain professional services must register as a restricted professional LLC in the state of Pennsylvania. Examples of restricted professional services include law, public accounting, psychology, veterinary medicine, or medicine and surgery.

When filing your Certificate of Organization, you must include a statement that describes the restricted service or services your company provides. 

What is a domestic limited liability company?

A domestic limited liability company is one that is established in the state in which it operates.

Pennsylvania Business Resources

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