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How To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

How To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

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How To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

If you’re looking to form a Limited Liability Company in Pennsylvania, you will need to brush up on how to file the Certificate of Organization. The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization is the document that is filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations to establish a new LLC. After the filing is approved by the state, the business can officially begin operating and register for the necessary business licenses and permits.

I’ll break down filling out this form, so you can get your business set up.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Pennsylvania

Anyone can learn how to form their own LLC, but using an entity formation service like Zenbusiness, Northwest, and Bizee guide you through the LLC formation process, so you will save time and know everything was done right.

Zenbusiness and IncFile are running a special where you only pay state fees for your LLC formation!

Steps To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate Of Organization

To file the Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization, you will need to submit the completed DSCB:15-8821 LLC Certificate of Organization form to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

The form can be downloaded and sent by mail or filed online, but in this guide, I’ll show how to fill out the Certificate of Organization online.

Once logged in, click on “Business Filing Services.”
How to form a Pennsylvania LLC

Next, click on “File a Business.”

File a Business in PA

Then, click on “Certificate of Organization Limited Liability Company.”
Certificate of Organization

You will come across four options for the type of Limited Liability Company being created. They are:
Limited Liability Company: General LLC & most common to form
Restricted Professional Limited Liability Company: LLCs that provide services that are licensed by the state MUST select this. Common services that are licensed in Pennsylvania include; accountants, attorneys, psychologists, veterinarians, and more.
Benefit Company: LLCs that have a purpose of creating a general public benefit that will have a material positive impact on society and the environment.
Benefit and Restricted Professional Limited Liability Company: A Restricted PLLC that has a purpose of creating a general public benefit.

Types of PA LLCs

Step 1: Select an LLC Name

Step 1 Pennsylvania LLC Name

The first step in filling out the Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization is to pick a business name.

There are a couple of requirements when choosing a Pennsylvania LLC name.
1. The name of your LLC must not be too similar to the name of another business entity already registered with the state of Pennsylvania unless you receive consent from the current registrant. You can verify name availability by doing a Pennsylvania LLC name search with the Pennsylvania Department of State to be sure the LLC name is available.

2. There are restricted names such as “Bank,” “Credit Union,” “Insurance,” “College,” “Engineer,” “Surveyor,” “Architect,” “Psychology,” “Social work,” and others unless approval is granted from the state.

3. The name of the LLC must include one of the following entity identifiers at the end of the business name:
– Limited Liability Company
– Limited Liability Co.
– Ltd. Liability Company
– Ltd. Liability Co.
– Company
– Co.
– L.L.C.
– Limited
– Ltd.

You are first asked whether there is a previously filed reserved name that will be used for the filing. It is optional to reserve an LLC name. If a name had been reserved, choose “Yes,” otherwise click “No” and enter the LLC name you want including the identifier.

Pennsylvania LLC Name Sensent

Next, if the name is unique, you will select that consent is not required, however if the name is in use, you will have to get consent. To get consent:
– Contact the current registration and get permission to use the name.
– Have the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue certify that the business is out of existence or has not filed tax returns for the last three years.
– If the business is a Foreign LLC (one that was initially formed in another state) and is no longer in business, obtain certification that they have abandoned the name.

Step 2: Effective Date

Step 2 Pennsylvania LLC Effective Date

While you cannot back-date the formation date of your LLC, you can choose to delay the start date of the LLC if you want to have the paperwork finished, but aren’t ready to start the business or if the filing is being done close to the end of a calendar year, and the business isn’t going to have any activity until the start of the next year.  By delaying the start date until the following year, you can eliminate the need to file a partial-year business tax return.

If you want the LLC to start immediately, choose “when filed with the Department of State.”

If you want the LLC to start later, select the box that says “on a future specific date” and enter a future date. 

Step 3: Enter Your Email Address

Step 3 Pennsylvaia LLC Email Notice

You have the option to opt-in to email notifications from the Department of State. I would recommend doing this in order to get timely information, especially with the LLC renewal that only happens every 10 years.

Step 4: Describe What the Business Will Do

Step 4 Pennsylvania LLC Description of Business Activity

In step 4, we are asked to provide information about the activities of the business. A general purpose statement isn’t allowed, so be sure to provide some information about the primary activities of the business.

Related: How to answer the business purpose statement

Step 5: Enter Contact Information for the Individuals Responsible for the Initial Tax Report

Step 5 Pennsylvania LLC Initial Tax Report

Enter the name and address of the individual who will be responsible for filing the initial tax report. Most people who form their LLC list themselves as the responsible party.

Step 6: Enter an EIN/FEIN

Pennsylvania LLC FEIN

This is an optional step. You normally don’t want to register for an EIN until after the LLC has been approved.

If you already have an EIN, enter it here.

Step 7: Select the LLC’s Tax Year

Step 7 Pennsylvania LLC Tax Year

This is another optional field that is usually best to skip unless you have already planned this. Most people choose to have their LLC tax year end on December 31st, but some will choose a different date.

Step 8:  Include Information for the Registered Office

Step 8 Pennsylvania LLC Registered Office 2

Every LLC in Pennsylvania is required to have a registered office address. The registered office (sometimes referred to as a registered agent) may be, but is not required to be, the actual place of the business to the physical street address or the main location where the business records are kept. A physical address in Pennsylvania must be used, as P.O. Boxes are not acceptable.

Related: What are the requirements for a registered office in Pennsylvania?

Enter either a registered office address in the state of Pennsylvania or the name of a commercial registered office provider and the county of venue.

Step 9: List the Names of the LLC Organizers

Step 9 Pennsylvania LLC Organizers

Include the name(s) of the initial organizers of the LLC (people helping with the formation of the entity). This is often the owner, but it can be anyone helping with setting up the LLC.  

Step 10: Upload any Additional Provisions

If there are additional governance rules that should be applied to the LLC, upload those in this section (not common).

Step 11: Select Filing Fees

Step 11 Pennsylvania LLC Filing Fees

If the LLC is owned by a veteran or reservist, the state will waive your filing fees. Proof of status will be needed (DD-214, NGB-22, or valid Department of Defense military ID).

Next, you can choose the filing speed. Standard processing typically takes 7-10 business days or expedited processing.

Step 12: Review the Certificate of Organization

Next, review the submitted information to ensure it is correct. If it is, click on the next screen.

Step 13: Sign, Pay, and Submit the Certificate of Organization

Last, sign the document and pay the state filing fee to submit the Certificate of Organization to the Pennsylvania Department of State!

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Pennsylvania LLC FAQs

How much does a Pennsylvania LLC cost?

The state filing fee to start an LLC in Pennsylvania is $125. If you are a U.S. veteran, your LLC filing fee is waived.

Is there an annual fee for an LLC in Pennsylvania?

LLCs in Pennsylvania will need to file a Pennsylvania LLC annual report and $7 state filing fee.

How long does it take to form a Pennsylvania LLC?

It normally takes 7-10 business days for the Pennsylvania Department of State to process the paperwork to form an LLC in Pennsylvania.

Do you need a business license if you have an LLC in Pennsylvania?

The requirements for business licenses and registrations in Pennsylvania vary depending on what the business does and where it’s located.

Here is a list of common business licenses in Pennsylvania.

Does Pennsylvania require an LLC to have an operating agreement?

Under Pennsylvania Code, Statute § 8815, an LLC operating agreement is optional.  Although it isn’t required, it is recommended that most LLCs have one, as it can help prevent disputes among members and better protect the LLC’s legal status.

Related: How to create a Pennsylvania operating agreement


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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How To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

How To Fill Out The Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization

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