How to Start an LLC in Pennsylvania

by Joe Stone

    Starting a limited liability company, or LLC, in Pennsylvania requires compliance with the Limited Liability Company Law of 1994. The Pennsylvania Department of State provides online forms and instructions, and once you file the appropriate documents with the Department of State, your LLC comes into existence as a separate legal entity through which you can engage in business.

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    Step 1

    Contact the Department of State to determine if the name for your LLC is available. Pennsylvania law requires that your LLC's name either include the words “company,” “limited” or “limited liability company,” or an appropriate abbreviation of these words. The name must also be readily distinguishable from any other name on record with the Department of State. Call the Department of State at 717-787-1057 and check the availability of three names per call. If a conflicting name is on record, you may be provided with the name, address and phone number for the company. You can make a written request to check the availability of three names for a fee of $15; however, you will not be provided any information about a conflicting name. This fee is current as of November 2010.

    Step 2

    Download the Certificate of Organization from the Department of State’s website (see Resources). Complete the certificate by inserting the name of your LLC, its registered office address, and the names and addresses for all organizers for the LLC. This is the minimum information required, and all other optional information can be stricken out where indicated on the certificate -- except if your business provides professional services that requires a license, such as an attorney, doctor or engineer. In such cases, you must state the professional services to be provided by the LLC.

    Step 3

    Download the Docketing Statement from the Department of State’s website (see Resources). Complete the form with the identifying information for your LLC, such as name, principal address and description of business activity. You must also provide the name and address of the individual who is responsible for initial tax reports, and provide the Employer Identification Number, if any.

    Step 4

    File the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement with the Department of State's Corporation Bureau by mail, at P.O. Box 8722, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722. If filing as a professional LLC, also provide written approval from the licensing agency for your profession. As of November 2010, a filing fee in the amount of $125 must also be included.

    Tips & Warnings

    • In lieu of providing a registered office address for your LLC, Pennsylvania law permits your LLC to use the services of a Commercial Registered Office Provider to fulfill this requirement on the Certificate of Organization. The Department of State’s website provides a list of authorized providers.
    • If your company is a professional LLC, you must file a Certificate of Annual Registration with the Department of State on or before April 15. Your LLC can be assessed penalties and interest, plus additional fees, if this form is not filed. The Department of State can also file a UCC lien against your LLC until full payment is made.

    About the Author

    Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.