Pennsylvania is home to more than one million entrepreneurs, and all of them need to choose a legal business structure. If you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or the founder of a startup, forming a limited liability company (LLC) is one of the best business decisions you can make this year!
And we’re here to help you every step of the way.
In this post, we will cover:
Let’s get started:
What Is An LLC, And Why Should You Start One?
An LLC is a legal structure that separates your personal assets from your business ones. In other words, it keeps your personal assets protected if something happens to your business. Without this protection, your house, car, and other valuables can be in jeopardy if you get sued, if one of your partners does something illegal, or if you’re accused of negligence.
LLCs let business owners adopt the tax status of other legal structures, including sole proprietorships, S corporations, and C corporations. Unless you choose to be taxed as a corporation, the IRS will designate your business as a disregarded entity, which means your tax responsibilities will be comparable to a sole proprietorship’s.
When you start an LLC in PA, you’ll also enjoy the flexibility that corporations lack. Here’s what we mean:
What To Do Before You Start An LLC In Pennsylvania
Before you start an LLC in PA, check to make sure your business name is available. Many business owners use their organization’s name to help establish their brand recognition and identity. While you can instead use your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name in everyday conversation, you’re required to use your formal business name when filling out legal documents.
To be considered an LLC, your organization’s name must include either “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.” as part of your name. In Pennsylvania, you cannot include “CIA,” “FBI,” “State Department,” “Treasury,” or anything else related to a government entity.
Pennsylvania has additional naming rules to consider. For example, an insurance company can only use words like “annuity,” “beneficial,” “bond,” “insurance,” “insurer,” etc. in certain situations, for which they need approval from the state.name reserved for 120 days, which should be more than enough time to get your LLC License.
How To Start An LLC In Pennsylvania
While the process of starting an LLC can vary from state to state, it tends to follow a similar formula:
Choose Your Registered Agent
When you start LLCs in PA, you need to select a registered agent. This person or company can accept legal correspondence for your organization. Usually, your registered agent is one of your LLC members or partners.
However, before you sign up for the role, be mindful that you are required to have a physical registered address (not a P.O. Box). The address of your registered agent becomes public record upon receiving your LLC license. To protect their privacy, many startups and small businesses use a commercial entity as their registered agent.
File Your Certificate Of Organization
A Certificate of Organization may sound intimidating, but it's not. Also known as the Articles of Organization, a Certificate of Organization is a legal document that provides your LLC’s basic information, including:
Before you submit your certificate of organization to the Secretary of State, check to make sure all of your information is accurate. If it’s not, you may run into legal issues down the road.You’ll also need to submit your docketing statement when turning in your certificate of organization. Your docketing statement requires you to provide your employer identification number (EIN), fiscal year, and other information. Mail these two documents together, or file them online for faster processing. The filing fee is $125, and usually takes the Department of State about a week to process them.
Draft Your Operating Agreement
Your operating agreement outlines the rules and regulations you and your LLC partners will follow. It's like your organization’s constitution. Even single-member LLCs should have an operating agreement. It’s just good business practice.
If you don’t have an operating agreement and your company ends up in a legal or financial dispute, it could be left up to the courts to find a solution, and their decision may not be in your LLC’s best interest.
In Pennsylvania, your operating agreement should include:
Obtain An EIN
If you haven’t already, get an EIN for your LLC. An EIN is a nine-digit number assigned to you by the IRS and is used to identify your LLC for tax purposes. You usually can’t file taxes, open a business bank account, or hire employees without one.
Apply For A PA Business License
Depending on your industry, you’ll likely need a business license to legally operate in Pennsylvania. Start by filing the Business Entity Registration Form. This form lets you obtain many of the business licenses you’ll need in PA.
There are several other license types you might also be required to get:
Check out the Pennsylvania Department of State website to learn more about what licenses your organization might need.
How Much To Start An LLC In PA?
The filing fee for your Certificate of Organization is $125. If you want to reserve your company name while getting your LLC license, that will cost you an additional $70.If your LLC has employees, you’ll have to pay unemployment taxes and withhold taxes from their wages. Some Pennsylvania LLCs also have to file a Certificate of Annual Registration. This certificate is due by April 15 of each year to the Department of State, and costs $410 for each person listed as a general partner in your LLC.
What Do You Need To Do After Forming Your LLC In PA?
Now that you know how to start an LLC in PA, your final step is to remain in good standing. Here’s how:
Still have questions about how to start a LLC in PA? We’ve got answers!
You can set up an LLC in a matter of hours if you have all the information handy. It will likely take an additional seven to ten business days to obtain approval from the Secretary of State’s office.
Paying yourself from an LLC is known as taking an “owner’s draw.” To do this, transfer a portion of your organization’s cash reserve from your business account to your personal account. It’s that simple!
If you divide funds among your LLC’s partners, do so based on agreed-upon percentages.
A single-member LLC has only one owner, instead of two or more. Given their size, single-member LLCs often enjoy many of the same benefits as sole proprietorships.
The cost to form an LLC varies from state to state. For example, Indiana LLCs cost $95 to file and include a $31 biennial fee. LLC Tennessee costs are $300 to file and an additional $300 annual fee, while LLC Florida costs are $125 to file and an additional $138.75 is due each year your LLC is open.
Conclusion: How To Start An LLC In Pennsylvania
Starting an LLC in PA can be an exciting, but intimidating endeavor. However, if you follow our step-by-step process, it will be much more exciting than intimidating, and you should get your LLC License in no time.Are you ready to maximize your organization’s potential? Check out The Lazy Man’s Guide to Living The Good Life, and learn how to optimize your chances of running a successful business!