How to Form a Pennsylvania LLC in Five Easy Steps
If you are looking to form an LLC, the Keystone State is an ideal place to start. Pennsylvania offers urban hubs like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, perfect for attracting a strong customer base. With the right resources, forming an LLC can be efficient and painless. To save yourself time and money, you can follow PRIME’s five-step guide to get started with your Pennsylvania LLC, or reach out to one of our expert advisers for a free consultation. Be prepared to pay a $125 Certificate of Organization fee with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
STEP 1: Name Your Pennsylvania LLC
To make your business stand out, you should choose a name which follows the Pennsylvania state naming guidelines. Your Pennsylvania LLC name should be easy to search, not be chosen by another Pennsylvania business, and follow the state’s naming guidelines.
The state offers A Guide to Business Registration in Pennsylvania which includes several naming guidelines for your LLC:
- The Pennsylvania LLC name may not contain words that would confuse your business with a government agency (Treasury, State Department, FBI, etc.).
- In order to include any restricted words in your Pennsylvania LLC, you may have to fill out additional paperwork and have a properly licensed professional as part of your LLC (Bank, Attorney, University, etc.).
- Your Pennsylvania LLC name must contain the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its common abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your Pennsylvania LLC name must be different from any other registered Pennsylvania limited liability company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, or corporation.
- To make sure your desired LLC name is not already taken, you can do a name search through the Pennsylvania Department of State website.
Recommended—but not required—steps when naming your Pennsylvania LLC:
- Before deciding on a name for your LLC, you can check to make sure your desired URL name is available. To prevent others from using the URL, you should consider purchasing the domain. This way, you have the ability to create a future website.
STEP 2: Designate a Registered Office for Your Pennsylvania LLC
The next required step in forming your Pennsylvania LLC is to submit the address of either your registered office or commercial registered office provider. This term is also commonly known as “registered agents.” A registered office is where all legal documents related to your LLC are sent. This address must be a Pennsylvania street office or the address of a commercial registered office provider. It cannot be a P.O. box.
You can learn more about choosing a registered agent here.
STEP 3: File the Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization
The process to form a Pennsylvania LLC continues with filing a Certificate of Organization and a Docketing Statement. The forms are handled through the Pennsylvania Department of State and can be completed online or through the mail.
Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization Filing Options
Click here to file Form 15-8821 Online With Pennsylvania PENN File
If you want to print and mail your Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization, you must complete and submit two forms. This includes the Certificate of Organization form and the Docketing Statement.
The nonrefundable state filing cost is $125. This payment is made to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
You can mail your printed and completed forms to the following address:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105
If you are planning to expand your already existing business to the state of Pennsylvania, you’ll need to register as a Foreign LLC.
STEP 4: Form a Pennsylvania LLC Operating Agreement
Filing an operating agreement in Pennsylvania is not legally required but is considered best practice. This document is internal, which means it does not need to be filed with the state. LLCs use this agreement to outline ownership and operating policies, which mitigates future conflict.
STEP 5: Acquire an EIN for Your Pennsylvania LLC
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is nine-digits and is issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS). This number is used to identify your Pennsylvania LLC for federal uses and to keep up with tax reporting, similar to a Social Security number.
An EIN is required to pay taxes, hire employees and open a business bank account. Even if you have an EIN through a sole proprietorship, a new one is needed when transitioning to an LLC.
This number is free to obtain through the IRS and having a social security number is not required.
You can apply for an EIN online through this link.
To download the form that you can print and mail, click here.
For this process, there is no filing fee.
Mail your SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Forming a Pennsylvania LLC—Next Steps
Create a Business Website for Your LLC
To attract a wide range of customers, businesses require a website. Choosing not to have one will lead to a large revenue loss.
Some of the pros of creating a website are:
- The majority of trustworthy businesses have a website.
- You can link your businesses social media accounts to your website.
- Websites are easy to build on your own with sites such as Wix.
Create a Press Release for Your LLC
Sending out a press release is a smart way for your business to attract a large span of customers at a fast rate.
Some of the pros of press releases are:
- Announcing your business to the world in a formal way.
- Establishing a brand presence.
- Improving your search engine optimization.