Welcome to the Start a Business guide to the formation of corporations in the state of Pennsylvania. If you are in need of assistance with the somewhat complicated process of registering a domestic entity, then the tutorials we have provided on this webpage will surely be of use to you. Filers may choose to register either with the online portal that the Department of State has provided or through the mail with the appropriate PDF. Filing online requires you to first create an account before continuing with the registration process. The necessary information that must be submitted for each method is identical, regardless of how you choose to file. Upon completing your registration documents a filing fee of $125 we be required to process your application. Find out more about the exact filing specifications in the tutorials below.

Before registering your business, we recommend that you perform a quick Business Entity Search to ensure that the desired operating name you have chosen is available for use. Furthermore, you may reserve a name for 120 days prior to registration by filing a Name Reservation application.

How to File a Profit Corporation (Online)

Step 1- Begin by logging in with your online account. If you have yet to create an account with the Department of State, navigate to our tutorial to find out how to obtain one.

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Step 2- Once your user name and password have been submitted, click here to access the online portal used to register business corporations. You will then need to supply an entity name and business designator. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 3- The registered agent details must be supplied on the following page. Provide either a registered office address or a commercial registered office provider. Click Save and Continue to proceed.

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Step 4- Next, you will be required to provide an individual or organization to act as an incorporator.  Once the information has been submitted, click Add Incorporator.

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Step 5- The following page will provide you with the ability to specify the effective date of formation and the type of corporation to be created.

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Step 6- Your personal information must now by submitted into the entry fields provided as well as a description of the activities your business will perform. If you have obtained an EIN, you may optionally supply that information into the appropriate field.

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Step 7- Additional attachments may be supplied by clicking the Choose File tab and selecting a document from your computer files. Once selected, click Upload Attachment and your file will be included with your registration application.

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Step 8- A signature must be supplied in order for your application to be processed. Click the Update Signature tab, followed by Review Filing to move forward.

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Step 9- Here you will see a summary of all the information that has been submitted so far. If you would like to alter any details that have been supplied incorrectly, click the Edit tab in the appropriate section to change those specific details. Click Proceed To Cart once all the information has been verified.

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Step 10- At this point you may either cancel the registration process altogether or commit to payment by clicking Checkout.

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Step 11- Here you must submit your credit card information and billing address into the fields provided in order to supply the filing fee of $125. Click the Make Payment tab to complete the registration process.

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How to File a Non-Profit or Cooperative Corporation (Online)

Step 1- To begin the registration process you must first login by supplying your user name and password. If you have yet to create an account, click here to view our tutorial on how to obtain one.

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Step 2- Once logged on, click here to access the online filing system that the state has provided. Enter your desired business name into the first entry field, then select a business designator from the drop-down menu.

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Step 3- Here you must supply either an address for a registered office or the name of a commercial registered office provider. Click Save and Continue to proceed.

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Step 4- On the following page you will be able to add organizations or individuals as the incorporators of your business. Submit those details into the entry fields then press Add Incorporator.

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Step 5- Select the corporation type by choosing one of the options from the drop-down menu. Below that you will see an entry field where the purpose of your business must be defined.

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Step 6- Choose one of the options at the top of the following page to specify as to whether your corporation is organized on a non-stock or stock basis. You must then define the status of members within your business and specify if they constitute the majority of the committee. Lastly, the effective date of formation must be determined. Click Save and Continue to proceed.

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Step 7- Your personal information must now be supplied. Optionally, you may also provide an EIN (if previously acquired).

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Step 8- You may upload any attachments that you would like to include with the filing of your application. Click the Choose File tab and select a document from your computer files. Once an item has been selected, click Upload Attachment and it will then be viewable to the Department of State upon finalizing your registration.

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Step 9- To supply a signature, input your name into the entry field and click Update SignatureContinue by clicking the Review Filing tab at the bottom.

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Step 10- Here you will be able to view a summary of all the information submitted so far. Click the blue Edit buttons on the right to adjust any details that you may have submitted incorrectly. To continue, click Proceed to Cart.

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Step 11- The details of the fee you will be required to pay are shown on the following page. At this point you may choose to opt out and cancel your registration, or continue by clicking Checkout.

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Step 12- Lastly, your credit card and billing information will be required in order to pay for the filing fee of $125. Once the information has been submitted correctly, click the Make Payment tab near the bottom to complete the registration process.

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How to File a Profit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To file through the mail you must first download the PDF application located here.

Step 2- Continue by submitting the following information:

Page 1

  • Return mailing address
  • Select the type of corporation you would like to form
  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2a-Address of the proposed registered office (if applicable)
  • 2b-Name of the commercial registered office (if applicable)
  • 3-Statement specifying that the corporation is formed under the B.C.P Law of 1988
  • 4-Specify whether the corporation is organized on a non-stock or stock share basis (amount of authorized shares must be supplied)

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  • 5-Name and address of each incorporator
  • 6-Effective date (if any)
  • 7-Additional provisions (must be attached separately)
  • 8-Statement declaring that your corporation will abide by the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq.)
  • 9-Specify the bond of membership between either the members or the shareholders (cooperative corporations only)
  • 10-Purpose of creating a public benefit corporation (public benefit corporations only)
  • Date
  • Signature of each incorporator

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Step 3- Docketing Statement must then be attached to your application. Download the PDF here and supply the following information:

  • 1-Entity name and an alternate name
  • 2-Tax responsible party (name and address)
  • 3-Description of business activity

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Step 4- Once the applications have been completed correctly, they must then be printed and forwarded to the address below along with a filing fee of $125 (payable by check or money order made out to the Department of State).

Pennsylvania Department of State

Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations

P.O. Box 8722 – Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

How to File a Non-Profit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- If you have chosen to file your registration documents through the mail, you must first download the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- With the application downloaded the following information must be submitted:

Page 1

  • Return mailing address
  • Select the type of corporation you would like to form
  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2a-Address of the proposed registered office (if applicable)
  • 2b-Name of the commercial registered office (if applicable)
  • 3-Business purpose
  • 4-Statement regarding pecuniary gain
  • 5-Specify whether the corporation is organized on a non-stock or stock share basis (amount of authorized shares must be supplied)

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  • 6-Specify whether or not the incorporators constitute the majority of the members (if applicable)
  • 7-Specify whether or not the corporation will have members
  • 8-Specify the bond of membership between either the members or the shareholders (cooperative corporations only)
  • 9-Name and address of each incorporator
  • 10-Effective date
  • 11-Additional provisions, if any (attached separately)
  • Date
  • Signature of each incorporator

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Step 3- With the application completed, a Docketing Statement must then be downloaded and completed. The following information must be submitted:

  • 1-Entity name and an alternate name
  • 2-Tax responsible party (name and address)
  • 3-Description of business activity

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Step 4- Before mailing your completed applications, a filing fee of $125 must be attached in the form of a check or money order made out to the Department of State. Have all articles forwarded to the address below.

Pennsylvania Department of State

Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations

P.O. Box 8722 – Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

Tips

EIN – An Employer Identification Number must be obtained after correspondence has been received from the Department of State regarding the acceptance of your entity’s formation. Similar to a SSN, this method of identification is used by the IRS for tax reporting purposes. Without an EIN your business will be unable to hire employees, register for bank accounts, apply for loans, or perform a number of other important business transactions. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to gain more information about how you can obtain an EIN through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4, or directly Online.

Corporate Bylaws – Drafting a set of corporate bylaws in Pennsylvania, like in most states, is not legally required. We do however highly recommend that all newly formed corporations take a moment to consider the benefits of implementing this into their business structure. Essentially, this is an agreement between the managing members of a corporation stating the rules and regulations that must be followed on a daily basis. Business owners may define certain details, such as meeting times, personal interest percentages, member shares, the election of directors and the power which they hold. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to view the free template we have provided, available in MS Word and PDF formats.

Renewal – Corporations in Pennsylvania, regardless of entity type, will be required to file an annual report with the Department of State to remain in good standing. This renewal is a simple filing procedure that notifies the state of any changes that may have occurred to your business. Failing to renew can greatly reduce the amount of transactions your business will be able to perform and will result in your entity being viewed as delinquent to any other organization you may be dealing with. To renew, click on the link at the heading of this paragraph and select the renewal application corresponding to your entity type. A filing fee of $70 will be required during this process. Forward the fee and the annual report to the address below.

Pennsylvania Department of State

Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations

P.O. Box 8722 – Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722