Do I need a license to practice business in Pennsylvania?
There is no one license that all businesses need to operate in Pennsylvania. However, many businesses do need to be licensed based on the type of goods and services they offer. In addition to regulatory licenses, Pennsylvania also has several business and health related professional licensing boards that oversee the licensing of certain occupations. If your business or your profession requires one of these licenses, then the license must be obtained before opening your business.
Are there any other requirements my business must meet?
Yes, if your business is a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or a limited liability company, you will need to register it with the Pennsylvanian Department of State. While sole proprietors and general partnerships do not need to file a registration, if they operate under a different name than the owner's they must file a fictitious name registration.
In addition to state requirements, many counties and local municipalities will have registration and licensing requirements that your business must also meet.
What are the local licensing requirements?
There are no uniform rules regarding local licensing. Whether your business will need additional local licenses, permits, or registrations will depend on the municipality where your business operates. For example, Philadelphia and Harrisburg require that all individuals conducting business in the city, even if they do not keep an office in the city, obtain an annual business privilege license while Pittsburgh and State College do not. Besides general business privilege licenses, many businesses need additional permits based on the nature and purpose of the business. For example, food preparation or vending permits may be required. Some businesses may need to obtain several local licenses before they can open. You should always check with your local city government to find out what licensing requirements your business needs to satisfy.
What type of information will I need to provide on my local license application?
The information needed will depend on the license you are applying for, but generally you will need to have ready:
- Full business name
- Business address and contact information
- Owner's name and contact information, or in the case of corporations and partnerships, the names of the officer or partners
- Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), available from the IRS
- State tax number
- Type of business
If you are applying for a special occupational permit, you may also need to provide information about the nature of your business and details about your business activities. You will usually also need to provide documentation showing that you have already met all state licensing and registration requirements, if applicable.
CLICK THE LINK TO YOUR CITY BELOW TO APPLY FOR A BUSINESS LICENSE