A Pennsylvania registered agent is a resident of the state or an organization authorized to do business in the state. Sometimes referred to as a Pennsylvania commercial office provider, a registered agent can accept service of process or other legal notices on behalf of a business in the state. The office of a registered agent must be physically located inside the state. Having a post office box only will not suffice. Someone must be in the office during regular business hours to receive, accept, and forward notices, demands, and processes that come in.

Who Needs a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?

Pennsylvania businesses, whether foreign or domestic, must list a registered agent and an office address in the organizing documents submitted to the Department of State. The requirement applies to corporations and partnerships of all types. The company may choose to list a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) instead.

What Is the Purpose of a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?

When a business in Pennsylvania is involved in a legal matter, it will receive court documents at the address of the registered agent. These are delivered via a process server or a law enforcement deputy. The agent can also receive paperwork via certified mail for the business. Even if the business owner never actually sees the documents, proof of delivery to the registered agent is sufficient legal documentation of delivery.

What Steps Establish an LLC With a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?

1. Decide on a name. Keep in mind that:

  • Pennsylvania requires an LLC to use "Company," "Limited Liability Company," "Limited," or the abbreviated form of one of those in the name. Acceptable abbreviations are not specified but "Ltd." and "Co." are probably okay.
  • Your business's name cannot be too similar to others already in the Department of State's database.
  • You can use Form DSCB: 15-208, Name Reservation, to hold the name you want for up to 120 days. The fee for this is $70, and you can do this online or through the mail.

2. If you are organized as an LLC, you will file Form DSCB: 15-8913, Certificate of Organization Domestic Limited Liability Company, which will include:

  • the name and location of the business
  • the registered agent
  • each organizer
  • whether the LLC is operated by a manager
  • whether the LLC provides professional services

Along with this form, you also need to submit, online or by mail, Form DSCB;15-134A, New Entity Docketing Statement. This document requires:

  • the identity and location of who is responsible for the first tax reports
  • the purpose of the company
  • the effective date, if there is one
  • the Employer Identification Number (EIN) if there is one
  • the date the fiscal year ends
  • a $125 filing fee

3. Choose a registered agent.

4. Draft an operating agreement.

5. Review all the tax and regulations for your type of business. You may need:

  • an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
    • If the LLC has multiple members, you need an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service, even if you don't have employees.
    • If you only have one member, you only need an EIN if you have employees or plan to file taxes as a corporation.
    • To get an EIN, apply online with the IRS. This is a quick process with no fees.
  • a business license, if required by local and/or state law.
  • sales tax documentation for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. If you hire employees or if you collect sales tax, the Department requires registration. You can do this online at the e-Services Center, or you can mail in form PA-100.

6. Plan for your annual registration. Foreign and in-state LLCs that provide certain types of professional services need to file Form DSCB:15-8221/8998, a Certificate of Annual Registration, with the Department of State by April 15th either by mail or online. The fee is $520 multiplied by how many members the LLC has.

7. If your company is a foreign LLC, take note of any additional requirements.

  • LLCs formed outside Pennsylvania are required to register with the Department of State. They must also choose a registered agent. To do this, file Form DSCB:15-41, a Foreign Registration Statement, on the web or by mail and pay a filing fee of $250.
  • Along with this form, you'll need to send in Form DSCB:15-134A, a New Entity Docketing Statement.
  • Make sure the business name you want is not already in use. If the name is not taken, register it using Form DSCB:54-311, Registration of Fictitious Name, and pay the $70 filing fee.

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