How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania - How to Start my LLC

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

Written by:

Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

Reviewed by: Sarah Ruddle

For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

Many Pennsylvania entrepreneurs choose to form a limited liability company (LLC) because of the many benefits of this business entity type. An LLC provides liability protection, for instance, so your assets are not at risk if your business is sued or cannot pay debts. 

An LLC is a “pass-through entity” for tax purposes, meaning that the LLC itself is not taxed. Instead, income passes through the business to the LLC owners or members, who report it on their tax returns. LLCs also offer flexibility in terms of management and taxation. 

Creating an LLC is relatively straightforward, but ensuring it’s done correctly is crucial to getting your Pennsylvania business on the right foot. The most critical step is filing a certificate of organization. 

What Is a Certificate of Organization for an LLC?

The certificate of organization (also known as Articles of Organization in other states) is a legal document filed with the Department of State to form an LLC officially. It will include your business name, address, registered agent information, and more, as detailed below. 

First, Select a Registered Agent for Your State LLC

Pennsylvania requires LLCs to appoint a registered agent, a person or company authorized to accept and respond to official business correspondence, such as legal, tax, or financial documents. 

The registered agent ensures all required notices and documents are received. In Pennsylvania, the registered agent can be an LLC member, individual, or entity that meets state requirements. In Pennsylvania, a registered agent must:  

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in the state 
  • Be available during regular business hours 
  • Be registered to operate in the state, if it’s a business

Many business owners hire a registered agent service to ensure their LLC stays fully compliant and for convenience. 

If you choose to be your registered agent, you must be at your registered agent’s address for all business hours. A registered agent service allows you to be wherever you need to be to run and grow your business. 

How to Submit a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

To start, visit the Department of State website and create an account to access the certificate of the organization online. 


In Pennsylvania, the certificate of organization requires the following information:  

  • LLC name
  • Principal office address
  • Registered agent information
  • Registered office address

Once your account is created, log in and click on the My Business(es) tab. Then, click the Add New Business button.


You’ll then move through a series of screens where you can enter all business information in the bulleted list above. Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll have a chance to review your information and make any necessary changes before confirming and moving to the payment screen.

You can also complete and submit a paper form if you wish to file by mail. The filing fee is $125. You should receive confirmation within 15 business days of filing.

Some entrepreneurs hire an LLC formation service like ZenBusiness to handle this step, saving time and ensuring the process is done correctly. 

Draft an Operating Agreement

Pennsylvania does not require an operating agreement, but it’s a crucial document that defines members’ ownership percentages and profit allocations. Those are the two key elements, but it should also include the following:

  • Each member’s rights and responsibilities
  • Management structure and roles 
  • Voting rights of each member
  • Rules for meetings and voting
  • What happens when a member sells their interest, becomes disabled, or dies

You can find operating agreement templates online, but it’s best to have them drawn up or reviewed by an attorney. The language of an operating agreement is crucial and can often help determine how member disputes will be resolved. Here you can obtain a free operating agreement template for your Pennsylvania LLC.

Contact Information for the Pennsylvania Department of State

Pennsylvania Department of State Website

Phone: 717.787.1057

Physical address:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
401 North Street, 206 North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Mailing address:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

In Closing

There’s only one way to create an LLC in Pennsylvania: successfully filing articles of organization. If you make any mistakes, you’ll likely have to refile, so be sure to do it right the first time and set your business up for serious success!