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1. Confirm requirements with your financial institution and insurance company.
Some institutions may have requirements beyond those required by the Commonwealth. Check with your financial institution and insurance company regarding what their account opening requirements may be.
2. Check for special registrations, if applicable.
Depending on the kind of business you will be operating, you may be required to file for additional registrations, licenses, and certifications with other state government agencies. If you are unsure about whether your business requires special registrations, please visit our Special Registrations page or Contact Us for more information.
3. Confirm that your professional licensure is current. (Only applicable to Professional LLCs or Professional Corporations. All other business structures skip to the next step.)
If you’re starting a business to provide a professional service, you need to verify with the licensing body that your professional license is current before registering your business.
Examples of businesses that require a current professional license include dentistry, law, medicine and surgery, public accounting, and others. Visit the Department of State’s Website to view a full list of professional services included under this category. Note: This is applicable to all professionals that need a state license to practice a profession.
If you need to apply for a new license, renew your current professional license, or search for licensed professionals, visit the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Website
4. Check with the local municipality concerning taxes, zoning requirements, local licenses and permits, and any other regulations.
Before proceeding with your business registration, visit our Local Permitting page to learn more about how to contact your local municipality to learn more about local requirements.
5. Register your business structure.
Verify that your business name is available for use by searching the Pennsylvania Department of State’s business name registration database.
As noted in our section on Your Business Name, please remember it is imperative that you use the exact same name each time you file any type of document with the state to avoid confusion and potential legal issues.
To operate in Pennsylvania, businesses must register their business structure – such as an LLC, partnership, corporation, or other structure – with the Pennsylvania Department of State. There is one exception to this requirement. Sole proprietorship operating under the owner’s Legal Name (first and last name) are not required to register their business structure
If you are a veteran, you may qualify for an exemption to the business registration filing fee. Learn more about the Veteran’s Business Fee Exemption to see if you qualify.
6. Register your fictitious name.
If you are planning to operate your business under a Fictitious Name, make sure to complete your filing as part of this step. A Fictitious Name registration is only needed if an individual or business is doing business under a name that is different from the individual’s personal name or the company’s Legal Name as registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
7. Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). (If you already have an FEIN, skip to the next step.)
This 9-digit number will be your primary identification number with state government agencies. We strongly recommend you obtain a FEIN whether or not it is mandated for your particular business structure, so you can properly identify your business to all state government agencies.
It is imperative that you use the EXACT same name each time you file any type of document on behalf of your business. If you haven’t reviewed the Your Business Name page, please take the time to read it before proceeding. By establishing a consistent business name, you will avoid confusion and potential legal issues.
8. Register for state tax and employer accounts.
Register for state tax and employer accounts Pennsylvania Business Taxes — including Sales, Use, and Hotel Occupancy Tax, Employer Withholding Tax, and Unemployment Compensation Tax Account Registrations* — are filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. You may register online for your Pennsylvania business tax accounts with both agencies, along with supplying your Workers’ Compensation Account information, through the PA-100 Enterprise Registration Form.
*If your new business will have employees – or if you are acquiring an existing business with employees – you must register for an Unemployment Compensation Tax Account. Read more about employer responsibilities in our Hiring Workers section.
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