Updated July 8, 2020:

Business License in PA

A business license in PA is required to legally do business in the state of Pennsylvania. The state requires businesses to be fully licensed and registered depending on the type of services and products they provide. Pennsylvania's licensing for some professions as well as administrative licenses are handled by separate businesses and health-associated professional boards. Any type of business or profession that falls under the category of being licensed/accredited should first acquire the appropriate license before they can start operating or rendering services.

Are There Any Other Requirements My Business Must Meet?

The Pennsylvania Department of State requires a business to be registered if it falls under the category of either a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or a limited liability company. Sole proprietors and general partnerships are not required to file for a registration. Instead, they must submit a fictitious name/title if it will be operated by another individual apart from the owner. A lot of counties and local municipalities require proper registration and licensing together with some state prerequisites.

What Are The Local Licensing Requirements?

There is no absolute ruling with regards to local licensing. Depending on the municipality where your business operates, the need for supplementary licenses, permits, or registrations may vary. It is advisable to check with the local city government to know what the exact requirements are to license your business.

What Type Of Information Will I Need To Provide On My Local License Application?

You will need to provide the following on your local business license application:

  • Full Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Contact Information
  • Owner's or Officers/Partners (For Corporations and Partnerships) Name and Contact Information
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • State Tax Number
  • Category of Business

For special occupational permits, you must prepare documents stating the nature of your business and detailed business activities. State licensing and registration together with some state prerequisites are required to be presented to signify that a business/service has fully met all prerequisites to operate and start rendering services.

Pennsylvania Small Business Information

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers extensive information and assistance for new and existing businesses. You can check on the SBDC website for general information about starting, growing, and continuing your business. The website includes information on the following:

  • Planning
  • Loans
  • Taxes
  • Industry specifics
  • Other related concerns

Another viable source of information is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Obtain One Or Multiple Pennsylvania Business Licenses

In Pennsylvania, a license is not a requirement for every business. Some licenses and permits include the following:

  • Regulatory Tax
  • Sales Tax
  • Environment Tax
  • Health and Safety

Different forms of regulatory licenses and permits can be given by various state agencies. In order to apply for the required licenses, permits, and accreditations, the Pennsylvania Enterprise Registration or Form PA-100 needs to be filed either through the internet or in person. Some cities or towns will require locally issued licenses and varied prerequisites for you to start operating as a business. You may find this detailed information on the city's website within which you will be doing business. Businesses could be excluded from local licensing prerequisites because of federal or state law.

File Records For Your Form Of Business

Certain files need to be recorded with the state as they pertain to corporations and LLCs. The Pennsylvania Department of State requires corporations and LLCs and other specific types of businesses to submit organizational documents.

You Must Obtain The Correct Professional Licensing

Some occupations and professions are required by the State of Pennsylvania to have proper licensing before they can start rendering services. Web pages containing the state's regulatory board contact information and other general inquiries about the state's professional regulatory boards can be found through the Department of State's website within the Professional Licensing Section.

Registering a Fictitious or Assumed Business Name (Trade Name)

An Alternative Business Name can be technically called a/an:

  • Assumed Name
  • Fictitious Name
  • Trade Name
  • DBA/"Doing Business As"

This sometimes is needed depending on what kind of business you have, what services it offers, and where it is physically located. Pennsylvania requires any business that seeks to operate under an assumed or fictitious name within its jurisdiction to join its registry within the Department of State. The Department of State will request publication prerequisites related to the registration before assigning a fictitious business name.

Registering a Service Mark or Trademark

Trade names, service marks, and trademarks all have separate legal definitions. Trademarks, service marks, and trade names help in defining the unique profiling of services, products, or business that would make it distinct from prospective competitors. You can register service marks and trademarks with the state.

Do I Need A Sales Tax License?

Sales tax licenses are mandatory depending on the type of business you plan to start. Businesses that deal with retail and services are subject to pay sales tax, which requires the business having a sales tax license. This is acquired through completing the Pennsylvania Enterprise Registration Form or Form PA-100, which can be done through the internet. Sales tax licenses do not require a fee.

What Is The Average Cost For A Business License In Pennsylvania?

Depending on what category of enterprise (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship) you selected, the cost may affect the initial funding needed and whether or not you will have to register for an alternative or fictitious name, since local governments in Pennsylvania have their own prerequisites for doing business.

Types Of Licenses & Permits You May Need In Pennsylvania

Operating a business in Pennsylvania may require some of the following types of licenses or permits:

  • Building permit
  • Health permit
  • Occupational permit
  • Signage permit
  • Alarm permit
  • Zoning permit
  • Alcohol and tobacco permit
  • Liquor license
  • Sales tax permit
  • Use tax permit
  • Seller/reseller permit
  • City business license (depending on the nature of your business)

Get Your Business License Locally In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania issues business licensing at a local level and may vary depending on the type of business/service you provide. Contact the Pennsylvania State Agency that administers the licenses for your business to determine if you will be required to acquire a license or permit before you may start operating and rendering services. It is highly suggested to communicate with the city and the county where you do business in order to get the licenses, permits, and other requirements that are managed at a local level. Professional LLCs (PLLCs) require acknowledgment from the State Commission or Board.

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