We’ve got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” It will walk you through the necessary documents to file with the state and federally to get an EIN (which you may need for banking or taxes), provide examples of the forms, and includes a primer on the pros and cons of choosing to operate as a limited liability company. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
For those of you who don’t need the additional information about the LLC and just want some help getting the proper forms filed in Pennsylvania to begin your company, check out these instructions: (These instructions are up-to-date as of August 5, 2020.)
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you may want to check if the LLC name you want to use is even available using the online searchable database:
You may reach the bureau by telephone by calling (717) 787-1057. The telephone lines are available from 8:00 am to 4:45 pm. The customer service representatives at the Pennsylvania Department of State can check the availability of three entity names per phone call. Name availabilities are not 100% guaranteed by telephone, as documents are constantly being received and processed. Written name availability is also available for a fee of $15 for a verification of three names.
2. Download the Articles of Organization form from the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below. You may fill-out this form prior to printing.
You can also file the articles of organization form online with PennFile at:
Note: PennFile have integrated with the Business One-Stop Shop since May 29, 2020.
3. Provide your name and address
Pennsylvania wants to know the name and contact information for a real person within the state of Pennsylvania who the state can contact if it has questions or concerns about an LLC’s operation or if legal documents need to be served. Accordingly, enter your name and address information onto the lines that ask for this information.
4. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the lines provided. (I used the example name, “Steel Explosives LLC.”) Note that the name goes onto the first page the form in two places and onto the second page of the form in one place. The name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of the standard abbreviations, “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Steel Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Steel Explosives LLC
- Steel Explosives L.L.C.
5. Indicate the address and county in which the LLC offices are located
Where the Certificate of Organization provides a space for it, specify the address and county in which the LLC offices are located.
6. Identify yourself as the LLC organizer
You need to provide your name and address as the LLC organizer.
7. List or strike out the following
- A member’s interest in the company is to be evidenced by a certificate of membership interest.
- Management of the company is vested in a manager or managers
- The company is a restricted professional company organized to render the following restricted professional services.
8. List the effective date
List the specified effective date, if any.
9. Download form DSCB: 15-134A
In addition to the Certificate of Organization, you will need to include the docketing statement. Download this document at:
10. Check the box to indicate the entity is a Pennsylvania LLC
Since you have formed your LLC under Pennsylvania law, go to the Pennsylvania Entities box and check the space next to “limited liability company.”
11. Add the LLC’s name and the person responsible for the LLC’s tax reports
You will once again need to put the LLC name and then your name and address.
12. Business activity info
Put in the description of your business activity. In the example, I put wholesaling to mining companies. Add the effective date and the fiscal year end as well. If you have an EIN number, you can add it at this time. If you do not, then leave it blank.
13. Submit the application
After you complete the Articles of Organization, mail the document and a check for $125 to:
Department of State
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.