How to Form a Company in Pennsylvania


Starting a business can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you. You might not know where to start or what steps are required to form your LLC in Pennsylvania (or any other state). This guide will help you navigate the legal details of forming a company so that you can keep your mind on the more important things at hand: creating an awesome product or service!

Choose a business location

You can also choose a location that is easily accessible to customers, employees, and vendors. This will ensure that your company runs smoothly and efficiently.

Choose a business name

Choosing a business name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make on your journey to forming a company. It’s important to choose a name that:

  • Is not already being used by another business in Pennsylvania.
  • Is easy to spell and pronounce, so people can find you with ease.
  • Does not mislead consumers into thinking they are dealing with another company or organization when they contact you. For example, using the words “top” or “best” in your company name could be misleading if it isn’t true (for example, if there are other companies offering similar services).
  • Is not offensive or vulgar in any way; this includes spelling errors (like dropping letters from words) and misspellings (like adding extra letters).

Register your business name

If you’ve never registered a business name before, the idea can seem confusing. You may think it means registering your business with the government or paying for some sort of license. That’s not quite right. A fictitious name is simply another word for the name that customers see on your business cards and advertisements—in other words, your company’s “brand.” It’s important to register this type of name because it helps protect against legal disputes should someone else happen to use the same name as yours (which could be confusing). To register it in Pennsylvania, there are two options:

  • Registering a DBA (Doing Business As) – This is similar to getting an assumed name certificate and essentially means that you’re doing business under another name. For example if you own an ice cream shop called “Scoops” but only want people to know about the shop by its full title “Ice Cream Shop,” then your dba would be Scoops Ice Cream Shop Incorporated or something similar . This option requires less paperwork than other forms but has fewer protections against potential problems later down the line .
  • Fictitious Name Registration – To do this properly , however , we recommend making sure everything is done correctly at first go instead of having issues pop up later on down our road .”

File an application for registration of fictitious name

The first step to forming a company in Pennsylvania is to file an application for registration of fictitious name. The county clerk in the county where you plan to do business will accept your initial filings and issue you a certificate of incorporation. You must pay fees when filing this document, which vary depending on the size of your company but typically range from $50–$100 per year.

If you have plans to publish notice under your fictitious name, the county clerk may require that notification be published in newspapers across Pennsylvania before they will issue their certificate of incorporation.

Get an employer identification number

In addition to your state’s incorporation requirements, you will need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). The EIN is a tax ID number that your business needs in order to function as a legal entity. It is used for tax reporting and other business functions—for example, it allows you to open bank accounts and file taxes.

There are several ways to apply for an EIN:

  • Online with the IRS at,,id=105071,00.html or by calling 1-800-829-4933 (TTY: 1-800-829-4059).
  • In person at a local IRS office; visit the IRS website at,,id=105071,00.html#faq3 or call 1-800-829-4933 (TTY: 1-800-829-4059) for locations near you.

Secure a general business license

In addition to the LLC, you will need to secure a general business license. This is required for most businesses in Pennsylvania and is valid for one year. You can apply for this online at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website, but you’ll also have to submit proof of insurance before it’s issued.

File your articles of incorporation with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Division of Corporations.

The articles of incorporation are the official document that establishes your corporation. It can be filed online with the state, but you must file it before you can issue stock.

In order to form an LLC, register a non-profit organization or other business entity in Pennsylvania, you must first file articles of incorporation with the Pennsylvania Department of State Division of Corporations (DOS). Registration is quick and easy using our online forms. You will need to provide basic information about your company such as its name and address, how many shares each member holds and who will manage it.

Create bylaws.

  • The bylaws are the rules that govern the operation of a corporation.
  • They should be adopted at the first meeting of the board of directors.
  • The bylaws should be filed with the state before they can be approved or amended.

Hold an initial meeting of the board of directors.

The board of directors is a group of people elected by the shareholders to oversee the management of the corporation and its business. The board of directors also serves as an important safeguard against abuse among those in power because it requires that any major decisions be made with the consent of a majority of directors.

The initial meeting should be held within 120 days after incorporation or within 30 days after completion of the initial organization, whichever occurs later. The purpose of this meeting is to elect officers, adopt operating rules and hold other necessary organizational meetings such as adopting bylaws, setting up committees, adopting policies and procedures for governance matters (such as meeting minutes) etc…

Issue stock.

If you’re going to hire employees and pay them, you’re going to need some money. This is where stock comes in. You can issue stock to raise capital and get your business started. The shares will be listed on a stock exchange, giving the company’s owners some financial leverage if they want to sell their shares at a later date.

When issuing stock, you’ll have to decide whether you want common or preferred shares:

  • Common Shares: Common shareholders are considered equal with one another in terms of voting rights and dividends; no one shareholder has more power than any other shareholder (i.e., all shareholders have an equal say). If there are multiple classes of common shares—which means that each class has different rights—then these rights should be spelled out clearly in your articles of incorporation so everyone knows what they’re getting into before buying into the company’s success by purchasing these shares.* Preferred Shares: Preferred shareholders get paid before anyone else does when something happens with the company such as bankruptcy or liquidation; however, they also receive lower returns than that which would typically be expected from investing in common stocks because preferreds usually don’t pay dividends.* Convertible Preferred Shares: Convertible preferreds offer both upside potential through their ability convert into common stock but also downside protection through guaranteed interest payments over time which makes them particularly attractive for investors who prefer steady returns over risky investments like IPOs where they could lose everything overnight.”

Don’t let legal details hold up your plan for starting a business!

Don’t let the legal details hold you back. If you have a great idea for a business, go with it! The world needs more people who are willing to take risks and create wonderful things.

If you aren’t sure about some of the legal details of starting a company in your state, get help from someone who knows what they’re talking about. It will save time and money in the long run, because if there are mistakes made with paperwork or setting up accounts, these errors can be costly later on when it comes time for taxes or other financial matters. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; after all: your customers won’t care about any of this stuff—they just want an awesome product at a fair price!


As you can see, filing for incorporation in Pennsylvania is a fairly straightforward process. But there are a lot of details to keep track of and it’s easy to miss one or two. We hope this article has given you a good overview of the steps involved if you want to form your own company here, and we wish you all the best on your new business venture!

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