How to form an LLC in Pennsylvania

Update: January 2, 2024

By: Tom Macken

Start an LLC in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh. Hersheys and Philly Cheesesteaks. Pennsylvania is known for many things including where the Declaration of Independence was signed and also as a place where businesses of all shapes and sizes set up.

Many business owners have chosen Pennsylvania as the location for the establishment of their limited liability company so that they may take use of the many resources that are available in the state.


1. Name Your Pennsylvania LLC
2. Select an Pennsylvania Registered Agent
3. File your Certificate of Organization
4. Receive a Certificate From the State
5. Create an Operating Agreement
6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
7. File Annual Renewals
Costs and Next Steps

A limited liability corporation, sometimes known as an LLC, provides small companies with a number of benefits, including protection from personal responsibility and tax breaks. 

Follow these easy steps to get your limited liability company (LLC) operating in the state of Pennsylvania after you’ve decided that an LLC is the most suitable form of business for your requirements.

Note that you have the option of forming the limited liability company (LLC) yourself, or you may hire a professional company incorporation firm to do all of the legwork on your behalf.

1. Give Your Pennsylvania LLC a Name

Choosing a name for your new limited liability corporation in Pennsylvania is the very first and most significant step in the process. Be sure you choose a name that satisfies the naming standards for a Pennsylvania LLC and is straightforward for prospective customers to locate using search engines.

Observe the following conditions for naming a Pennsylvania LLC:

  • You are required to have the word “limited liability corporation” or one of its acronyms included in the name of your business (LLC or L.L.C.)
  • You are not allowed to use any terms in your company’s name that might lead to confusion with a public entity (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.)
  • Words that are restricted, such as “bank,” “attorney,” and “university,” may need extra documentation and the participation of a licensed professional, such as a physician or lawyer, in your limited liability company.
  • Your firm’s name has to be unique and able to be distinguished from that of any other limited company, corporation, or limited partnership in the state of Pennsylvania.

Is it possible to register the name in the state of Pennsylvania?

Conduct a name search on the official website of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to see whether or not the name you wish to use is already in use.

After searching the company database, if you discover that a name is accessible, the state of Pennsylvania allows you to register the name for a period of up to one hundred and twenty days.

You have the option of filing a name reservation request online, for which there is a cost of $70, or submitting a name reservation form by mail. The submission of this form ensures that the name you want to use for your Pennsylvania limited liability company will be accessible while you proceed with the other formation processes.

Restrictions placed on businesses

In the state of Pennsylvania, some licensed professionals, including physicians, are required to create a restricted professional business. In certain areas, this kind of organization is referred to as a skilled limited liability business (PLLC). In Pennsylvania, the majority of the laws governing PLLC’s and LLCs are almost identical.

If you look at the list in the Pennsylvania business code, you will be able to determine whether or not your sector is deemed to offer limited professional services.

2. Select your PA Registered Agent

A registered agent in Pennsylvania is required of every limited liability company operating in the state. If the limited liability company (LLC) is taken to court, this refers to a person or company that has agreed to accept service of process on its behalf.

It is acceptable for the Registered Agent to either be a resident of Pennsylvania or a corporate body that is permitted to conduct operations in the state. It is required that the Registered Agent have a real, live street address in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Registered Agents explained

A Registered Agent receives tax forms, legal paperwork, lawsuit notices, and government communication on your business’s behalf. Consider the role of your registered agent as that of the point of contact for your company with the state.

Registered Agent eligible candidates? 

A Registered Agent in Pennsylvania must either be a resident of the state who lives there full-time or be a company that is permitted to carry on business in the state of Pennsylvania, such as a Registered Agent service. You have the option of selecting anybody who works for the organization, including yourself.

3. Submit your filing for a Certificate of Organization

A Certificate of Organization is a form that sets forth fundamental information about your limited liability company and is responsible for formally establishing it. Because this form serves as the legal registration for your company with the state, it is essential that all of the details be accurate.

What details should be included on a Certificate of Organization?

When completing the Certificate of Organization for your Pennsylvania LLC, you are required to give the following information:

  • LLC’s name
  • If the term of the LLC is permanent or restricted.
  • Address of the main office of the limited liability company Name and location of the registered agent for the limited liability company
  • Location where the Secretary of the State should send notifications to the limited liability company (LLC) through mail.
  • How the Limited Liability Company (LLC) will be run: by its members or by its managers
  • Whether or whether the limited liability company will provide professional advice
  • Name and address of each LLC organizer and at least one member or manager with operational competence.

Submitting Your Organization’s Certificate of Incorporation

The next thing to do if you want to set up a limited liability company in Pennsylvania is to submit a Certificate of Organization for Limited Liability Company to the PA Department of State (DSCB: 15-8821). 

In certain jurisdictions, the document that acts as an organization’s certificate is referred to as the articles of organization. The certificate of formation is the formal document that establishes your capacity to do business in Pennsylvania as a limited liability company (LLC).

The following details must be included on the certificate of organization submitted to the state of Pennsylvania:

  • The name of the limited liability company and its primary location of operation
  • Location of the official headquarters 
  • The names of all members of the LLC.
  • The signature of the person who is responsible for filling out the form.
  • A start time for the operation of the limited liability company.
  • PLLCs are required to indicate the kind of company they are.

You will need to provide a Docketing Statement with the organization’s certificate of incorporation (DSCB:15-134A). The docketing statement asks you to supply the employer identification number (EIN) of your limited liability company (LLC), as well as the fiscal year and other information.

You have the option of filing your certificate of organization and docket via the mail, although filing online will result in a more expedient processing time. There is a $125 charge that must be paid to file for the certificate of organization.

The processing of your organization’s certificate of good standing at the Department of State will typically take around one week. In the event that your certificate is accepted, you will be sent a copy of the final certificate that was submitted. 

You will be given the option to make any necessary modifications before submitting your certificate to the state in the event that it is rejected for whatever reason.

4. Obtain a Certificate From Pennsylvania State

After the formation paperwork of the LLC has been submitted and authorized, the state will send you a certificate that proves the LLC’s official existence in response to a written request for a copy together with the appropriate amount of postage.

With this certificate, the limited liability company will be able to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), as well as business permits and business bank accounts like Bluevine.

5. Write a Contract for Business Operations

Even while establishing a detailed LLC operating agreement is not a legally required step for founding a limited liability company in Pennsylvania, it is highly suggested for all new limited liability firms to do so.

The following items should be included in the operating agreement:

  • Describe the business structure of the limited liability company.
  • Determine the specific duties and commitments of each member of the limited liability company (LLC). 
  • Operational structure of the LLC.

If a limited liability corporation (LLC) lacks an operating agreement that specifies the roles and obligations of its members, it may face significant legal and operational difficulties.

6. EIN tax no. application

A government employer identification number, commonly known as a tax ID number, will be required of many limited liability companies (LLCs). An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that identifies your company to the Internal Revenue Service. 

You need an EIN in order to pay federal employer taxes, create a bank account or recruit staff.

On the website of the IRS, which is accessible without charge, you may check to see whether you need an EIN and submit an application for one online. 

Single-member limited liability companies, which are an exemption to the rule that most firms are required to acquire an EIN, may instead use the owner’s Social Security number.

Business Licenses

Depending on the nature of their operations and where they are located, some limited liability companies (LLCs) doing business in Pennsylvania may be needed to get one or more business licenses or permits from the state or from their respective municipal governments.

Consult the Pennsylvania Start a Company Guide, which is made available by the Secretary of State, for advice on how to satisfy the prerequisites for obtaining a state license to operate a business in the state. The Pennsylvania Licensing Directory allows for the search and retrieval of specific license information.

Contact a municipal or county registrar in the city or county where a limited liability company (LLC) is based to get information on the local licensing requirements.

7. Yearly Company Filings

Certificates of Annual Registration (Form DSCB:15-8221/8998) need to be filed with the Department of State only by international limited liability companies and Pennsylvania limited liability companies that provide certain designated restricted professional services.

By the 15th of April of each year, they are required to be submitted to the Pennsylvania State Department Corporation Bureau. 

You have the option of submitting the registration either online or in the mail. It is required that an annual charge be paid that is equal to $560 multiplied by the number of members in the LLC.

What are the costs and the next step?


To submit the Certificate of Organization with the Pennsylvania Department of State, a fee of $125 is required. The Pennsylvania Department of State will charge you $70 to reserve the name of your limited liability company.

Filing your taxes by yourself is often the least expensive choice; nevertheless, it may be challenging to fill out all of the necessary papers and submit them correctly. Employing legal representation is still another choice, although doing so will often set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Consider the following additional fees that may be incurred by an LLC:

  • Name reservation for an LLC is seventy dollars
  • “Doing business as” DBA business name is also seventy dollars. 
  • Certified document copies are $70.
  • Receiving Your Certificate of Existence

Next Stages in the Process 

When you register a limited liability company (LLC), you establish a legal basis upon which to operate your firm. Companies should make it a priority to maintain their limited liability company in compliance with state regulations and in an active position on the state’s website.

In addition, having an LLC enables you to perform the following:

  • Register your company with the department of revenue in your state.
  • Establishment of a new checking account for a company
  • Create a credit card account for your company.
  • Obtain any permits or licenses needed to conduct your business, such as from the health department, zoning department, department of home occupations, and department of professional licensing. Some jurisdictions need a seller’s license.
  • Invest in insurance coverage for your company.
  • Create a trademark to protect both your company’s name and its logo.

Do-it-yourself or hire a specialist to form an LLC?

To establish a limited liability company (LLC), you are not required by law to consult a lawyer. The majority of states enable the establishment of LLCs via the process of registering the business entity on the website of the secretary of state and with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you are not acquainted with the process of forming an LLC, your best bet may be to hire a professional LLC provider so that you can be certain that the creation will go smoothly and quickly.

When entrepreneurs start a new firm, they may save startup costs and save valuable time by using a professional agency that specializes in company forms. They can take care of the things that you may not have time to think about for a price ranging from $50 to over $500, and some examples of such things are as follows:

  • Developing an operating agreement for an LLC that details your company’s who, what, when, where, why, and how, and putting it into writing (required in some states).
  • Putting together articles of incorporation that identify the management of the LLC, the registration agent, and the date the company was formed.
  • Taking up the role of registered agent for your firm.
  • Keeping careful records in the event that there are investigations or litigation.
  • Payment of filing fees and registration with the appropriate parties.
  • registering the name of your firm and ensuring that the name you choose for your limited liability company is accessible.
  • Finishing up and turning in all of the necessary legal and formation documentation.


How much money is required to form an LLC in Pennsylvania?

The filing of the Certificate of Organization to establish a limited liability company in Pennsylvania costs $125, and reserving your LLC costs $70. One of the additional expenses, known as a DBA name registration, may cost up to seventy dollars.

Do Pennsylvania need to pay an annual fee?

A Pennsylvania LLC must pay the Department of State $560 each member by April 15.

What are the prerequisites for establishing an LLC in Pennsylvania?

You will need the registration fee, a name for your limited liability company (LLC), a Registered Agent, a Certificate of Formation, an Operating Agreement, and an EIN number from the IRS in order to create an LLC in the state of Pennsylvania.

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