Start a Business in Pennsylvania

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Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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This guide on starting your business in Pennsylvania provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than Pennsylvania, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

Pennsylvania Sole Proprietorship

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  • Form DSCB:54-311-2: Application for Registration of a Fictitious Name
  • DBA Publishing
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • PA-100: PA Enterprise Registration Form
  • DBA Name: $70
  • DBA Publishing: ~$200
  • EIN: $0
  • PA-100: $0 + fees for needed licenses
  • DBA Name: ~10-15 business days
  • EIN: Immediately online
  • PA-100: varies based on needed tax accounts/licenses

Pennsylvania General Partnership

Click for step-by-step instructions
  • Form DSCB:54-311-2: Application for Registration of a Fictitious Name
  • DBA Publishing
  • Partnership agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • PA-100: PA Enterprise Registration Form
  • DBA Name: $70
  • DBA Publishing: ~$200
  • EIN: $0
  • PA-100: $0 + fees for needed licenses
  • DBA Name: ~10-15 business days
  • EIN: Immediately online
  • PA-100: varies based on needed tax accounts/licenses

Pennsylvania Limited Liability Company

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  • Form DSCB:15-8913-2: Certificate of Organization - Domestic Limited Liability Company
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • PA-100: PA Enterprise Registration Form
  • Formation: $125
  • EIN: $0
  • PA-100: $0 + fees for needed licenses
  • Formation: ~5-10 business days.
  • EIN: Immediately online
  • PA-100: varies based on needed tax accounts/licenses

Pennsylvania Corporation

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  • Form DSCB:15-1306: Articles of Incorporation - For Profit
  • Docketing Statement
  • Publishing
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • PA-100: PA Enterprise Registration Form
  • Incorporation: $125
  • EIN: $0
  • PA-100: $0 + fees for needed licenses
  • Incorporation: ~5-10 business days.
  • EIN: Immediately online
  • PA-100: varies based on needed tax accounts/licenses

Pennsylvania Nonprofit

Click for step-by-step instructions
  • Form DSCB:15-5306/7102B-2: Articles of Incorporation - Nonprofit
  • Pennsylvania docketing statement
  • Pennsylvania incorporation publishing
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: 501(c) Tax Exempt Application
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form PA-100: Enterprise Registration Form
  • Form REV-72: Sales Tax Exemption Application
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • Form BCO-10: Charitable Organization Registration Statement, if not exempt
  • Incorporation: $125
  • Incorporation publishing: ~$200
  • EIN: $0
  • 501(c): $275 or $600 IRS fee
  • PA-100: $0 + fees for needed licenses
  • Pennsylvania Charitable Registration: usually $0 due to exemption
  • Incorporation: ~14 business days
  • EIN: Immediately online
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months
  • PA-100: varies based on needed tax accounts/licenses

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in Pennsylvania

  1. A few years ago, Pennsylvania launched a website called the Online Business Registration Interview (OBRI) that was designed to simplify registration with multiple state agencies. In theory, using this site allows you to register your business with the Department of State, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Labor and Industry. In reality however, using the OBRI is a major headache. Even for advanced users, the process usually takes more time and results in more errors than filing by paper.
  2. Some business owners choose to be sole proprietors to avoid the costs involved in forming an LLC or incorporating. Most sole proprietorships register fictitious names. Pennsylvania is unique in that the cost to register a fictitious name (approx. $270) actually ends up being higher than registering an LLC ($125)! This is due to the publishing requirement for fictitious names but not LLCs.
  3. A common source of confusion is the annual registration fee for LLCs. Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not charge an annual report fee for LLCs with the exception of “restricted professional” LLCs. Restricted professionals are licensed doctors, lawyers, CPAs, etc. The annual registration fee for restricted professional LLCs is $500 per member.
  4. Every business is required to have a registered office in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania does not use the term “registered agent” but instead refers to a "commercial registered office provider". A CROP is a business that accepts legal documents and government notices for a business.
  5. Most businesses will need to file the PA-100 Enterprise Registration form to register for taxes with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. This 14-page application has brought more than one entrepreneur to tears - don't worry, we'll cover this in detail later.

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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