How To Incorporate In Pennsylvania
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1. Choose a Name for Your Pennsylvania Corporation
Check on Available Names in Pennsylvania: If you are planning to incorporate your small business in the state of Pennsylvania, you will need to choose a unique name for your corporation. You should do an extensive search to find out if the name that you would like to use for your corporation is available. You may want to start by searching online records and other archives and catalogs. You can also call the Corporation Bureau at (717) 787-1057 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. to check on name availability.
Reserve a Corporate Name: If you decide that you want to reserve a corporate name before the time that you plan to file Articles of Incorporation in Pennsylvania, you can submit a name reservation application by mail or fax to the office of the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. There is a fee of $70.00 for name reservations. The name that you submit will be reserved for 120 days. Go to Reserve a Pennsylvania Corporation Name for more information on name availability and reservations.
Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: It is possible that the corporate name that you want to use is available in the state of Pennsylvania but in use by a corporation that is registered in another state. There could be restrictions on your use of the corporate name that you have chosen. If you consult an attorney you can learn what these restrictions are and how you can prepare to trademark the name of your corporation.
Pennsylvania Corporate Name Requirements: When naming your corporation, remember that in the state of Pennsylvania corporate names must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company” or an abbreviation of one of these words. It is also acceptable to use either the word “association,” “fund,” or “syndicate.”
2. Find a Registered Office Provider in Pennsylvania
In your Articles of Incorporation, you must indicate a current registered office or indicate a Commercial Registered Office Provider. You might consider using one of the Commercial Registered Office Provider services that are listed online at Register a Pennslyvania Corporation.
3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State
Minimum Requirements: Once you have decided on a corporate name and you have a registered office or Commercial Registered Office Provider, you can prepare to file Articles of Incorporation with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. The form for this document is available online at File a Pennsylvnia Corporation. The Articles of Incorporation of your corporation will need to include the name of your corporation, your registered agent or Commercial Registered Office Provider, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, and the name and address of each incorporator. All of the incorporators need to sign the Articles of Incorporation before you submit the document to the Secretary of State.
Other Pennsylvania Legal Provisions: When you are creating your Articles of Incorporation document, you might want to include other legal provisions in addition to the minimum requirements listed above. Consult an attorney when you are deciding what additional provisions to include, since an attorney can help you to know which legal provisions are most important for your corporation.
Where to Submit Form: You can submit the signed Articles of Incorporation document to the Department of State, Corporation Bureau, P.O. Box 8722, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722.
Filing Fee: The filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in Pennsylvania is $125.00.
4. Create Other Pennsylvania Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)
You will be able to start taking other actions in your corporation once you have filed Articles of Incorporation. These actions may include appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring the appropriate business license. You may also consider creating other kinds of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what happens if an owner decides to leave the company. These kinds of corporate documents may be very useful for your corporation, especially if your corporation has multiple owners. You should consult an attorney or a professional corporate service company when you are drafting these important documents so that you can be sure to comply with all legal requirements.
5. Qualify Your Pennsylvania Corporation to Do Business in Other States
You must qualify your corporation in order to do business in other states. If the main office of your corporation is located outside of Pennsylvania, you need to qualify your corporation to do business in that state before you can do business there. The majority of states will require you to pay taxes in your home state. To read more about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states, go to Doing Business in other states.
6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires annual reports of some kinds of businesses that are registered with the state. However, there is no annual report required for domestic for-profit corporations in Pennsylvania. If you have questions about what other annual filings may apply to your corporation, contact the office of the Secretary of State.
Your registered Pennsylvania corporation will be subject to state income taxes. You must file a corporate income tax form and pay the required income taxes yearly. To read more about the corporate tax in Pennsylvania, go to the official website of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at Pennslyvania Corporate Tax. It is best to consult a professional accountant when it is time to prepare your tax documents so that you can avoid costly mistakes in your tax documents.
You will need to make many complex decisions when you are in the process of incorporating your small business. You should consult an attorney and an accountant during this process so that you can have confidence that the paperwork for your corporation is being prepared correctly.
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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.