Pennsylvania LLC

LLC in Pennsylvania

If you want to join the nearly one million business owners who operate in Pennsylvania, you need to choose a business entity structure for your company. There are many structures to choose from, and an LLC is among the most common. Whether you are forming an LLC in PA for the first time or you want to operate an out-of-state LLC, follow these steps.

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Step 1

Name Your LLC in Pennsylvania

Are you unsure which organization to contact and how to get an LLC in PA? The PA Department of State handles all LLC formations in the state. An LLC is a popular choice because it separates the entity from the owner for tax and legal purposes. All business owners need to register with the Department of State before legally conducting business. This department sets business regulations and processes all LLC applications.

The first step to forming an LLC in PA is choosing a unique name. All LLCs must have a unique name, meaning all registered businesses must have a name distinctive from all other entities on file with the Department of State. The department maintains a website that allows you to check the availability of your name before you file your formation documents. Keep in mind all businesses must end with Company, Limited Liability Company, or a suitable variation.

Pennsylvania allows you to reserve a name for up to 120 days before you file your paperwork. For a $70 fee, you can submit a form to save the name for your LLC in Pennsylvania. You can submit this document online or via U.S. mail.

Wondering how to get an LLC in PA for certain licensed professionals? Certain vocations such as doctors, lawyers, architects, and real estate professionals must form a restricted professional company. Most other U.S. states call this type of organization a professional limited liability company, or PLLC. In Pennsylvania, the regulations for regional professional companies mirror those for LLCs. You can find out if your line of business must form a restricted company by looking on the PA Department of State’s website.

Step 2

Designate a Registered Agent

The next step to forming an LLC in PA is designating a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or entity willing to accept legal paperwork and other documents for your business. Examples of paperwork typically sent to registered agents include subpoenas, tax notices, and correspondence. Your agent must notify you when paperwork for your LLC comes through the mail or through a process server.

An individual serving as a registered agent must be a legal Pennsylvania resident. They must also be over the age of 18. A company authorized to conduct business in the state can also serve as your LLC’s registered agent. Whether you choose a company or a business, the agent must have a physical street address. A member or manager of your LLC can serve as a registered agent as long as everyone involved in the business agrees. There are also numerous online legal services licensed to perform registered agent services in Pennsylvania.

Step 3

Get a Pennsylvania Business License

Are you wondering how to get an LLC in PA and if you need a business license? Fortunately, not every Pennsylvania LLC requires a license. However, many businesses need at least one license or permit. Some of these licenses are regulatory while others are based on specific occupations.

Businesses in specific sectors need a license to form an LLC in Pennsylvania. Several occupations such as law, medicine, and accountancy require licenses, including:

  • Local permits from your county or city
  • Professional licenses based on your occupation
  • Environmental licenses
  • Zoning permits
  • Regulatory licenses
  • Sales tax permits

Various state agencies issue different licenses and permits. However, you can obtain most of these licenses by filing a Form PA-100 with the PA Department of State. The form is for registering new businesses but also contains sections for business licenses. Further, some licenses come from the local government. The requirements vary depending on where your business is located. For instance, Philadelphia and Harrisburg require all entities to obtain an annual privilege license. However, Pittsburgh and State College have no such requirement.

Step 4

File Your Certificate of Organization

You must file a certificate of organization to form your LLC officially. Include the following information on the document:

  • Name and address of your business
  • Name and contact information for registered agent
  • Addresses and titles for every LLC owner
  • Information on whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
  • Products or services your LLC provides

You should file this certificate online for faster processing. You can also apply by mail or in person. Filing in person is the only option for expedited filing in Pennsylvania. You must pay $125, and you can expect your paperwork to be approved within 10 business days. The amount of your fee is determined by how fast you need your paperwork approved.

If you pay $100 and submit your paperwork by noon, you will receive same-day approval. If you need it processed more quickly, paying a $300 fee will result in a three-hour turnaround time. You can pay a $1,000 fee if you need your paperwork processed within an hour. You must submit the documentation in person if you want same-day approval.

Pennsylvania law requires new LLCs to submit a new entity docketing statement with certificates. This statement must include your company’s name, the address of your registered agent, and more.

Step 5

File Foreign Paperwork if Necessary

If you wish to conduct business in Pennsylvania but your LLC is registered in another state, you must register as a foreign entity. Unlike other states, Pennsylvania does not have regulations specifically for foreign LLCs. Instead, they have wide-ranging rules that cover all foreign businesses. Pennsylvania refers to these businesses as foreign associations.

You do not file a certificate of organization if you have already registered your LLC in another state. Instead, you need to file a Foreign Registration Statement with the Pennsylvania Department of State. There is a $250 fee to file this paperwork.

Step 6

Create an Operating Agreement

Pennsylvania law does not require an operating agreement to form an entity legally. However, most business experts recommend drafting one before opening. If you do not create this document, Pennsylvania law dictates how your LLC operates. An operating agreement outlines your LLC’s ownership. It also outlines how your company functions on a day-to-day basis. Your agreement should include information including:

  • An outline of your company’s products or services
  • The names and addresses of managers
  • A statement on whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
  • Each member’s capital contribution to the company
  • The procedure for admitting new members
  • The voting rights, profit shares, and ownership stakes of all owners
  • The dissolution procedures and terms

You may want to consult with a business lawyer to help you create your operating agreement. Many online legal services provide operating agreement templates for a small fee. After the completion of the operating agreement, all members should review and sign the document. Keep an official operating agreement with original signatures for your records.

Step 7

Comply With Employer Obligations

If you plan to hire employees, you must follow a few additional obligations. These obligations include:

  • Employee reporting: You must report all new hires within 20 days.
  • Employer withholding: LLC employers must withhold state and federal income taxes from their workers.
  • Unemployment taxes: Every LLC owner who has employees must pay unemployment taxes. Every LLC must pay a rate based on various factors. These factors include the business's age, sector, and history of unemployment claims.
  • Workers compensation insurance: All LLC owners must purchase workers' compensation insurance after hiring their first employee.

If you plan to hire employees, you must follow a few additional obligations. These obligations include:

Step 8

Comply With Ongoing State Regulations

Many LLC owners elect to become pass-through entities when it comes to taxes. A pass-through entity does not have to pay income taxes on the LLC itself. Instead, the LLC members must report LLC profits on their personal income taxes. In some instances, an LLC may elect to pay taxes as a C-corporation. In this circumstance, the company must file a PA corporation tax form each year.

Pennsylvania LLCs with employees must pay unemployment taxes. They must also withhold taxes from the paychecks of workers. Further, PA law requires LLCs to file an annual report. This report is called a Certificate of Annual Registration. LLC owners must file this document by April 15 each year to avoid a late penalty. A filing fee equal to 560 times the number of members must accompany the report.

Step 9

Comply With Federal Regulations

LLCs conducting business in Pennsylvania need to comply with both state and federal regulations. The federal government treats most PA LLCs as pass-through entities for tax purposes. Thus, members must report LLC profits on their personal federal tax returns.

However, LLC owners can designate the business as a C-corporation at the federal level. In this case, the entity pays a 21% corporate tax for the year. You need to get an employer ID number for tax purposes if your LLC has more than one member or if you are a corporation for tax purposes. You can obtain an EIN free of charge on the IRS website.

There are other federal tax regulations to consider. For instance, LLC members must pay a 15.3% tax rate to cover Social Security and Medicare expenses. You must also withhold these expenses from your employees’ paychecks.

It is best to consult with a business lawyer if you have questions. A business attorney can answer questions and ensure you meet compliance regulations. You should meet with your attorney every year to review compliance regulations.

How To Remain Compliant

Once your business is up and running, you have continued obligations with the state and federal governments to keep it going. It can be challenging to keep up with all the requirements, but it’s a necessary part of running your own company.

Pay the Annual Franchise Tax

The single biggest LLC California cost you have to pay when setting up your business is the annual franchise tax. Regardless of how much money your company makes, you must pay $800 every year to the California Franchise Tax Board. Even if your business is inactive, the state requires you to pay this tax until you cancel your LLC. Your first payment is due on the 15th day of the fourth month after you file your Articles of Organization. Every year after that, your payment is due on this same date.

Pay the LLC Fee

If you expect that your company will do more than $250,000 in business, you will also pay an annual LLC fee to the Franchise Tax Board. The amount you pay is based on your income estimate for the business.
Companies that bring in between $250,000 and $499,999 per year pay $900. Those that make $500,00 to $999,999 pay $2,500. If your business makes between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999, then you would pay $6,000. Any company making more than $5,000,000 pays $11,790. This fee is due on the 15th day of the sixth month of every tax year.

Pay All Taxes

Limited liability corporations have what is known as “pass-through” taxation for federal taxes. What this means is that you file your federal taxes for your LLC with your personal income taxes. In addition to federal taxes, you will need to pay state and municipal taxes.


An LLC is a limited liability corporation, a legal business structure that provides benefits that are similar to a corporation while offering business owners greater flexibility. Structuring your company as an LLC California protects your personal assets from business lawsuits. Limited liability corporations can have one or more owners.

No. Most LLCs operate under their legal company name, using it for all aspects of their business. However, if you want to conduct your business under a name that is different from your limited liability corporation name, you can register your DBA name.

Your registered agent can be anyone who is a legal resident in the state where your business is registered. It can be a friend or family member, someone who works for your company or yourself. You may also choose a registered agent company to serve this role.

It depends on how you file. The Secretary of State’s offices processes online and in-person Articles of Organization in three to five business days. Mail-in submissions have the slowest processing times. The SOS offers expedited services for an additional fee. It costs $500 for a pre-clearance four-hour turnaround, $750 for same-day service and $350 for a 24-hour turnaround.

A domestic limited liability corporation is one that is formed in California and does business in California. A foreign LLC is one that was formed in another state or country and registers to do business in California. The process and fees for registering a foreign LLC are the same as for a domestic LLC.

Where To Get Help With Filing Your LLC Pennsylvania Documents

At GovDocFiling, we make it our mission to help people begin a business and grow it to its full potential. We work to simplify the process of starting an LLC in Pennsylvania, so you can get on with the business of your business. File now with our partners at Inc Authority! Receive free formation services and an additional one year registered agent service for free (you only pay required state fees). 

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