Opening a Business in PA

The following is a checklist for opening a business in PA. Feel free to contact us if you need help from a PA business specialist.

Choose a Business Structure

Individuals opening a business in PA can choose from several basic business structures including:

  • Sole-proprietorship - This entity can be used by a business that has one owner. The name of the business must be the owner’s legal name, such as Joe Smith’s Plumbing. This is a simple way of opening a business in PA that has the least requirements and costs to opening. A sole-proprietorship does not provide liability protections for the owner.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) - An LLC is the most popular choice for opening a business in PA because it provides liability protections and tax benefits. An LLC is a hybrid between a sole-proprietorship and a corporation. It can elect to be taxed as either and has flexibility in tax treatment. An LLC requires minimal maintenance as compared to a corporation.
  • Corporation - A corporation is a more formal structure that has additional records-keeping and maintenance requirements. Opening a business in PA under a corporation provides liability protections and tax benefits. Owners can elect Subchapter-S status to avoid double taxation. A corporation is ideal for raising capital from investors and making changes to its ownership.

Please review our entity comparison for more help with opening a business in PA.

Pick a Business Name

When opening a business in PA, it is important to choose a business name that is distinguishable from other existing businesses in PA. Business names that are not distinguishable will be rejected. A business name must include a corporate designator depending on the business structure. For instance, a corporation will affix “Incorporated” or &ldquuo;Corporation” while an LLC will use “Limited Liability Company” or “Company”. Abbreviations and certain variations of the same are acceptable.

Select a Registered Office

A registered office is where government documents and service of process are delivered. When opening a business in PA, you should select a registered office that is open 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. If you use your own office, and are sometimes not open during regular business hours, you could face liability risk such as having your business administratively dissolved or facing a default judgment against your business. You may appoint a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) to serve as your registered office. Your CROP will receive documents on your behalf and timely forward them to you.

Register Your Business

If you are opening a business in PA, you will register your business entity with various state agencies. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations registers your LLC or corporation. You will submit Certificate of Organization to register an LLC or Articles of Incorporation for a corporation. Opening a business in PA also requires submitting registrations for your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), Pennsylvania tax accounts, local licenses and permits, and any other registrations required for opening a business in PA.

We can help you with opening a business in PA.

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