Pennsylvania LLC Cost Guide (2024)

We’ve compiled the most common fees associated with forming an LLC in Pennsylvania.

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Last Updated: July 19, 2024

How much does an LLC cost in Pennsylvania?

The most essential filing fee for starting an LLC in Pennsylvania is for the Certificate of Organization, which currently costs $125. Without this document, your limited liability company (LLC) won’t even begin to exist. 

But you should expect to spend more than $125 on your LLC creation because there are other costs to account for: hiring a registered agent, getting business licenses, rent and utilities, and much more. Understanding these costs and appropriately budgeting for them can help you get a solid footing for your new business venture. 

That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll cover some of the most common startup costs for an LLC in Pennsylvania, including:

With this information, you’ll be able to budget effectively in the Keystone State.

Common Pennsylvania LLC Fees

Here are some of the most common expenses you can expect when you start an LLC in Pennsylvania: 

ItemCost
Business Name Reservation$70
Certificate of Organization Filing Fee$125
Registered Agent Fees$100-$300 per year
Employer Identification Number (EIN)Free (if obtained directly from the IRS)
Operating Agreement CreationVaries (free if self-prepared)
Fictitious Name$70
Foreign LLC Registration in Pennsylvania$250
Decennial  Report$70
Certificate of Subsistence$40

Business Name Reservation Fee in Pennsylvania

Reserving a business name for your Pennsylvania LLC involves a fee of $70. This reservation ensures that the name is held for you for a period of 120 days, during which no other entity can register under that name. This gives you ample time to prepare and file your formal business registration documents without concern of losing your chosen business name.

Certificate of Organization Filing Fee in Pennsylvania

The Certificate of Organization, commonly referred to in other states as the Articles of Organization in many states, must be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State to legally establish an LLC. The filing fee is $125and it’s a one-time fee.

Pennsylvania does waive the filing fee for small businesses started by veterans and reservists. To qualify for the exemption, you must provide proof of your veteran or reservist status while filing. 

Registered Agent Fees

Every LLC in Pennsylvania is required to designate a registered office where legal documents can be sent on behalf of the business. The annual fee for a registered agent service (someone who can fulfill this requirement for you) generally ranges from $100 to $300. The registered agent must have a physical address in Pennsylvania and be available during normal business hours.

Employer Identification Number

Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is necessary for tax purposes, and it’s free of charge if you file it yourself. This number is required to open a business bank account, hire employees, and file certain business tax returns. The application process can be completed online through the IRS website, providing immediate issuance of an EIN.

Pennsylvania Fictitious Name Fee

If an LLC chooses to operate under a name other than its officially registered name, it must register a fictitious name, sometimes called a DBA or “doing business as” name. In Pennsylvania, the fee for registering a DBA is $70. This registration allows the company to conduct business, open bank accounts, and advertise under this alternate name.

Foreign LLC Formation in Pennsylvania

LLCs organized outside of Pennsylvania that wish to conduct business in the state must register as a foreign LLC. The filing fee for this registration is $250. This process includes submitting a Certificate of Good Standing or the equivalent from the home state along with the appropriate registration forms to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Pennsylvania Decennial Report

Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not require LLCs to file an annual report, but they do require a decennial report, which is filed once every 10 years to confirm the business is still active. The fee for this decennial report is $70.

Certificate of Subsistence in Pennsylvania

A Certificate of Subsistence, known in many states as a Certificate of Good Standing, verifies that an LLC is compliant with state regulations and has filed all necessary documents. The fee for obtaining this certificate is $40. It is often required for financial transactions and legal matters to confirm the business’s legal status.

Operating Agreement

While not mandated by Pennsylvania law, it’s advisable for LLCs to create an operating agreement. This internal document outlines the ownership structure, operational guidelines, and financial arrangements among members. Preparing an operating agreement helps prevent disputes among members and provides clear guidelines on the management of the LLC. 

This document can often be drafted without external costs, but consulting with a legal professional can provide additional security.

Ongoing Pennsylvania LLC Expenses

Even after you create an LLC, there are some ongoing expenses you’ll need to anticipate. Here are the most common ones: 

ItemCost
Decennial Report$70 (every ten years)
Registered Agent Renewal Fees$100-$300 per year
License and Permit RenewalsVaries based on specific industry and locality
Operational CostsVaries widely based on business activities

Decennial Report

In Pennsylvania, rather than an annual report, LLCs are required to file a Decennial Report every 10 years. This report confirms whether the business is still active and maintains its registration details up to date with the Pennsylvania Department of State. The fee for filing this report is $70. It’s crucial for LLCs to comply with this requirement to avoid being classified as inactive and potentially losing exclusive rights to their business name.

Registered Agent Renewal Fees

Maintaining a registered agent in Pennsylvania is a continuous requirement for LLCs. This agent is responsible for receiving important legal documents and some state communications on behalf of the LLC. If you’re hiring a service, you’ll have an annual fee likely ranging between $100-$300. To keep your agent coverage continuous, you’ll need to keep those payments up to date.

License and Permit Renewals

The costs and requirements for renewing licenses and permits in Pennsylvania vary widely depending on the business type and location. These could include professional licenses, health permits, or local business operation licenses. Staying updated on these renewals is vital for legal business operation and can prevent significant fines and business interruptions. Business owners need to monitor these dates closely and budget for the associated costs accordingly.

Operational Costs

Operational costs for an LLC in Pennsylvania encompass a broad range of expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, marketing, business insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and more. These costs depend heavily on the scale and nature of the business operations. Managing these expenses effectively is crucial for maintaining profitability and business sustainability. Regular review and budgeting for operational costs help in making informed decisions that support business growth and efficiency.

Other Pennsylvania LLC Costs to Consider

Budgeting well as a Pennsylvania small business owner requires attention to detail for both expected and unexpected costs. Here are a few other vital expenses to account for. 

Specific Licenses and Permits

In Pennsylvania, the requirement for specific licenses and permits depends significantly on the type of business and its location. For instance, a healthcare business such as a dental clinic would require several specific permits and licenses to operate legally. This would include a health department permit, professional licenses for each practicing dentist, and possibly hazardous waste disposal permits. Each of these licenses would come with its own set of fees, application processes, and renewal requirements. 

This particular example is specific to healthcare providers, but every LLC will have different licensing needs based on their industry — such as construction, food service, or childcare — each accompanied by varying fees and regulatory compliance demands. Business owners must research and comply with both state and local regulations to ensure they meet all legal requirements for operation.

Certified Documents

LLCs in Pennsylvania may need certified copies of business documents for various reasons, such as registering for state business licenses, completing certain bank transactions, or complying with court requests. Documents that might need certification include the Certificate of Organization and amendments to them. 

Certified copies are obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State, and the cost is typically around $40 per document. The process involves submitting a request online or via mail, along with the necessary payment. Having these certified documents is crucial for proving the legality and legitimacy of the business in formal and legal settings.

Professional Services

Maintaining an LLC often requires expertise in areas where the business owners may not be fully knowledgeable, such as legal compliance or financial management. In Pennsylvania, the typical costs for ongoing legal services can range from $150 to $400 per hour, depending on the complexity of the legal matters and the expertise of the attorney. Accounting services may vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per year, based on the services provided, such as bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial planning. 

These professional services can help ensure that the LLC complies with current laws and regulations, manages its finances effectively, and reduces risk of legal or financial issues. When hiring professionals, it’s essential to consider their experience with similar businesses and their reputation within the industry to help ensure they provide valuable guidance and support.

Calculating Your Total Pennsylvania LLC Cost

It’s actually a little tricky to calculate the exact cost for your unique LLC since every business is different. But no matter what type you form, you can expect to at least pay the filing fee of $125 to get up and running by filing your Certificate of Organization. But a wide variety of businesses will need to pay fees for business licenses, rent and utilities, legal assistance, and more. 

If you’d like more specific startup cost estimates for your business, you can use a free online cost calculator. Estimating these costs can help you set a realistic budget for your Pennsylvania LLC, helping you successfully navigate both expected and unexpected expenses.

We can help!

Being your own boss can be extremely rewarding. It can take a lot of work, though, and a lot of research and paperwork. But you aren’t alone. We are here to help you get your LLC up and running quickly and stay legally compliant. If you have questions, then we have answers. Let us give you peace of mind knowing that things will be done correctly and on time.

FAQs on how to determine Pennsylvania LLC costs

  • What does it cost to start a business in Pennsylvania? Other than the filing fee, depending on your circumstances, there may be more fees that you will need to cover:

    Pennsylvania LLC Filing Fee – $125

    The filing fee for the Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization is $125. Veteran or reservist owned small businesses may qualify for a fee exemption.

    Name Reservation Fee – $70

    If you’re not quite ready to file your Certificate of Organization, but you’ve thought of a great business name, you can reserve the name now to be used when you file to start your LLC. All you have to do is file your Name Reservation form and pay a $70 fee.

    Registered Office Fee

    The registered office—which most states call a registered agent—can be free since any owner or employee of a business can be its own registered office in Pennsylvania as long as they are over the age of 18 and have a street address in Pennsylvania. But being your LLC’s official registered office may place time restrictions on you that you may not want. Because of this, many businesses hire a commercial registered office for a small yearly fee. We can help you find the right registered office for your LLC with our Pennsylvania Registered Office Service.

  • How much is an LLC in Pennsylvania? The answer varies depending on particular circumstances. Sometimes you may have surprise expenses when running your Pennsylvania LLC. Here are some of the other Pennsylvania LLC fees apart from your Certificate of Organization.

    Amended Certificate of Organization

    A Certificate of Amendment may be necessary later down the road if you decide to change information that was on our original Certificate of Organization. The filing fee is $70.

    Change of Registered Office

    A Change of Registered Office form needs to be filed when your LLC changes this role. The filing fee is $5 and can be done online.

    DBA Name in Pennsylvania

    A “doing business as” name or DBA is the common name for a second name for your company. In Pennsylvania, a DBA is called a fictitious name and is often used when you don’t want to change your original LLC’s name, but you need a new name to market a new product or a new business location. To have a fictitious name, you have to file a Registration of Fictitious Name form, which will cost $70.

    Foreign LLC

    An out-of-state business that wants to register in Pennsylvania is called a foreign LLC. To be legally allowed to run your foreign LLC in Pennsylvania, you need to file a Foreign Registration Statement with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. The filing fee for this document is $250, but once it’s filed, you’re legally allowed to operate your business in the state.

    Business Licensing

    You might also have to pay fees for the following depending upon what type of business you’re starting:

    • Business licenses
    • Permits
    • Registrations

    You may need these licenses, permits, and registrations at the local, state, and federal levels. We can give you a Business License Report that breaks down what specific licenses, permits, and registrations your business may need depending on what type of business you have and your circumstances.

    For just $0 plus state fees, we can form your Pennsylvania LLC for you in just minutes. No LegalZoom promo code required: Pay just $0 plus filing fees for fast LLC formation in Pennsylvania. 

  • There are no specific penalties for failing to file the required forms. But if you miss a filing and are late, your LLC will eventually lose its good standing to do business within Pennsylvania.

  • If you can’t pay your filing fees, the Pennsylvania Secretary of State will reject your application, and you won’t be able to legally transact business within the state as an LLC.

  • You pay your filing fees to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State.

  • The largest fee you will pay during the start-up process in creating your LLC will be the Certificate of Organization filing fee of $125. Once your LLC is established, there may be larger fees and expenses you have to pay for permits, licenses, and registrations you will need based on the kind of business you run, your business location, and your business’s needs.

  • The easiest and quickest way to file your LLC starting documents is to do it online. If you do this, you can use a credit or debit card for your payments. If you are filing the forms by mail, you will need a check or money order to be submitted along with the forms.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Contact Information

Mailing Address:
401 North Street, Rm 302
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Physical Address:
401 North Street, Rm 302
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Telephone:
(717) 787-6458
Website:
https://www.dos.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Start Your LLC in Pennsylvania