How to Start a Business in Pennsylvania


Starting a business in Pennsylvania is not as glamorous and exciting as you might think, but it does provide you with financial freedom and control over your own destiny. If you’re interested in starting a business in Pennsylvania, this guide will walk you through the steps of registering your company with the state and federal governments.

Determine your Business Structure

Now that you have a business idea and have determined that it’s viable in your area, it’s time to figure out the type of business structure you will use. There are several options for structuring your company:

  • A sole proprietorship is the easiest to form but may not give you the protection you need if things go wrong (for example, if someone sues or files a complaint against your business). You can be sued personally if something goes awry with the company.
  • Partnership, which requires two or more individuals who share ownership of a business. Partnerships are easy to establish and maintain but they do not offer as much liability protection as other options like corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs).
  • Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC), both of which offer some protection against lawsuits filed by outside parties. Corporations require more money upfront because they require at least $1 million worth of assets before registering formally with state authorities;
  • LLCs do not require such high asset requirements—you can register an LLC online for $20-$30 depending on where you live in Pennsylvania—but both types require annual filings with state agencies so keep this in mind when planning ahead financially!

Choose your Business Name

Once you’ve decided on a business name, make sure it’s not too similar to another company. Search the state’s online database of registered businesses to see if the name is available. If so, that’s great! If not, try a different one.

Choosing a good name can be tough and time-consuming. But getting started is easier when you have the right information!

Register your Business

To start a business in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to register your company with the state. If you’re starting a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), this process is handled by the Secretary of State. If you’re starting a sole proprietorship or partnership, then it’s handled by the Department of Revenue.

Income Tax Withholding Registration

If you are an employer, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 800-829-4933 to obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN). You will need this number as part of your business tax registration with the state.

If you are a sales or use tax registrant, you will also need to obtain an EIN before registering for sales and use taxes with DOR.

If you are a corporate income taxpayer and have elected S corporation status for your business entity, you must file Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN), with the IRS.

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

One of the first steps to starting a business in Pennsylvania is obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN can be used on tax returns and other government forms, so it’s important to get one if you’re operating as a company.


There are several ways to register a business in Pennsylvania and obtain the proper identification numbers. You can do this entirely online, which is convenient for those who want to get started as quickly as possible.


You can register a business in Pennsylvania entirely online. The Secretary of State provides an easy-to-use web portal where you can complete all your registration forms with just a few clicks of the mouse. You’ll need to gather some information before you start, though, so be sure to read through this section carefully and make sure your application is complete before submitting it.

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