Costs & Fees to File and Operate an LLC in PA

Written by Melissa Pedigo – CPA, updated on

One of the common questions new business owners have about starting an LLC in Pennsylvania is how much the incorporation will cost.

In this post, we break down all the state fees and optional costs to plan for.

Breakdown of fees to file an LLC in Pennsylvania

Company formation costs differ depending on your operational requirements. Some fees are mandatory. Others can be avoided.

Pennsylvania LLC formation cost: $125

Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations, a local equivalent of the secretary of state, charges the following fees to form an LLC:

  • $125 for a Certificate of Organization (Form DSCB:15-8821) for a domestic LLC.
  • $250 for a Foreign Registration Statement (Form DSCB:15-412) for a foreign LLC.

A domestic LLC is a business entity headquartered in Pennsylvania. A foreign LLC is headquartered in another state but wants to extend its business to Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania will waive the filing fee for an LLC owned by a U.S. military veteran or reservist. However, proof of military status is required at the time of application.

If that’s your case, you’ll also need to submit the following legal documents:

  • Completed Form DSCB:15-134A (Docketing Statement).
  • Any necessary copies of Form DSCB: 19-17.2 (Consent to Appropriation of Name).
  • Any necessary governmental approvals.

You can file your LLC registration documents online or as a paper copy via mail. Regular processing times can take up to four weeks for paper-based submissions.

Pennsylvania LLC formation cost

However, Pennsylvania offers expedited processing for all company formation documents submitted in person. The fees are as follows:

  • $100 for same-day service. Only applicable to documents received before 10 am.
  • $300 for 3-hour service. Only applicable to documents received before 2 pm.
  • $1,000 for one-hour service. The papers must be submitted before 4 pm.

Once you receive your Certificate of Organization (Articles of Organization), you’re officially open for business!

You can then follow up with other steps of registering a Pennsylvania LLC:

  • Create an LLC operating agreement. You can use a template or have an attorney draft one.
  • Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This step is essential if you plan to hire employers and pay local sales taxes.
  • Open a business bank account with a trusted local provider.

Optional Costs in PA

All businesses need to file their Certificate of Organization to be allowed to do business in Pennsylvania.

But many companies will also incur other costs when starting a new company, such as the following.

1. Registered agent fees: $50+

There are no extra state fees involved in designating a registered agent for your Pennsylvania LLC. But if you wish to change your registered agent, you’ll have to file a separate form and pay a $5 fee.

In Pennsylvania, you can be your own registered agent, or you can hire a professional service. Using a registered agent service means that you don’t have to handle any service of process events personally or disclose your street address (if you operate a home-based business).

You’ll need a professional if the LLC is a foreign company without a physical presence in Pennsylvania.

Registered agent fees range from $50 to $200 per year, depending on the services they provide.

2. Trade name registration: $70

Pennsylvania lets businesses register fictitious names when they want to use an alternative name to the one registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Fictitious names are also known as trade names, assumed names, or DBA names (doing business as). Getting one makes sense when a company’s formal name is vague or doesn’t describe the type of service it provides.

For example, suppose an LLC’s legal name is Tom Greene Ventures, LLC, and it’s an auto repair shop servicing German automobiles. In that case, it may want to register the fictitious name Greene’s German Car Repairs to let customers know what they do.

3. LLC name reservation: $70

The first step to forming your Pennsylvania LLC is choosing a business name.

You’ll need a name that’s not already in use, and you can search the state’s business registry to find out if your LLC name is available.

If your LLC name is available, but you’re not quite ready to file your incorporation documents, you can reserve the name for 120 days.

You’ll need to fill out a form and pay the state filing fee of $70.

4. Certified document copies: costs vary

Record searches, document copies, and certified documents aren’t free in Pennsylvania. If you want the state to complete a record search listing the entity name, address, file date, and state identification number, it will cost you $15.

Plain copies of documents start at $15 plus $3 per page, and certified copies are $55 plus $3 per page.

5. Business permits and licenses: costs vary

Pennsylvania doesn’t require a general business license. Depending on the industry, you may also need to obtain specific permits.

For example, breweries need to have a license from the state’s Liquor Control Board.

Local cities or municipalities may also impose additional licensing requirements. Check with your regional government offices to find out if you’ll need a local permit or license.

You can register to get one online or by filing a mail-in form. All you’ll need is to provide your business details, federal tax ID number (EID), or personal social security number if you don’t have EID.

There’s no cost to obtain a sales tax license in Pennsylvania.

Do LLCs pay taxes in Pennsylvania?

Depending on your line of business and company structure, you may be required to pay the following types of state taxes in Pennsylvania.

Sales and Use Tax

State-wide, Pennsylvania collects a 6% sales tax. All counties charge the same tax rate except for Allegheny County (7%) and Philadelphia City, where the sales tax rate is 2%.

Employment taxes

If your LLC decides to hire employees, you’ll need to pay state unemployment tax (on top of federal employer taxes).

Rates for new employers: 3.5% or 9.7% on the first $10,000 of each employee’s pay per year.

Cost Chart for LLC in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a very affordable state to start and operate a new business.

The baseline cost to register an LLC in Pennsylvania is $125 for a domestic company.

That’s the only cost you may face if you go the budget way and handle the company formation process yourself, rather than use an LLC formation service.

Plus, there are no annual report costs, and local sales and personal income tax rates are rather good.

However, we also modeled several alternative cost scenarios for the first and subsequent years of operation:

Annual costs for Pennsylvania LLC (1st year)
DescriptionState fees
Certificate of Organization

$125 or $250

Registered agent service (if needed)

$50 – $200

Fictitious name registration (if needed)

$70

Name reservation (if needed)

$70

Trademark registration (if desired)

$50
Specific permits or licenses (if needed)

$20+

Certified documents (if desired)

$55 + $3 per page

Annual costs for Pennsylvania LLC (2nd year & after)
DescriptionState fees

Annual report for restricted professionals

$560+

Registered agent service (if needed)

$50 – $200

Change registered agent (if needed)

$5

Specific permits or licenses (if needed)

$20+
Decennial report (every ten years)

$70

Melissa Pedigo

Article by:

Melissa Pedigo

CPA

Melissa Pedigo is a US CPA with more than 20 years of experience. She’s worked at Big 4 firms, for the government, and internationally. Now a full-time writer, she enjoys translating complex financial and tax topics into plain English. When she’s not keeping current reading IRS rules or tax legislation, you’ll find her studying foreign languages or playing tennis.

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