STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in Pennsylvania, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of State, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a Name Reservation form (DSCB:15-208) at the Pennsylvania Dept. of State that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $70

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Pennsylvania Registered Agent acts on your half to officially receive and help process important documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They must be a resident of the state or a corporation, either domestic or foreign, with a physical street address, authorized by the Sec. of State.

You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a certified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCThe next step is to file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania. When filing a corporation in Pennsylvania, note that you need the following information:

  • Name of the corporation and address;
  • Corporate purpose;
  • Full name and complete address of registered agent;
  • Full name and complete address of the incorporators;
  • Number of shares corporation is authorized to issue.

Filing fee: $50

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) ELECT DIRECTORS, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the Pennsylvania corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) SETUP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountIdeally, during your first shareholder meeting you spent some time going over where to bank and set up your corporation’s financial foundation. With so many different banks and credit unions (local, state, national) with tons of different fee structures, incentives, kickbacks, and other business services this shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The other note we have is to make sure corporate accounts aren’t connected or mixed with any accounts of any other kinds. It should be a dedicated and separate account for easy financial tracking and tax purposes synced with your accounting software.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

To ensure that you don’t face penalties, fines, and fees when starting a business, you need to completely fulfill your regulatory requirements. To get started:

  1. Get a free EIN, or Employer Identification Number, quickly through the IRS Website.
  2. Bookmark the Pittsburgh Small Business Admin office and the state’s SBDC page.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that take care of the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Unlike other types of businesses, corporations tend to need funding pretty earlier on which is why “funding-ready” plans are much more prevalent. What this means is that the basics are clearly refined and set down in a nice presentable plan ready to show investors, VCs, lending institutions, etc.

From marketing and budgeting, to competitive analysis and financial forecasts, these folks want to be able to quickly assess the core fundamentals of your brand to decide whether it’s a solid worthwhile investment or not. To learn more check out the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Discover which Business Plan Tool creates a presentation-ready breakdown of your brand in half the time. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

Not every business needs to make digital marketing the cornerstone of their growth strategy, or even put much emphasis into building a digital presence – but a website is necessary nonetheless. What will potential customers and stakeholders find when they search for your brand online to see what it’s about and what people might be saying?

Although building a website was difficult in the early 2000’s, now you can just use a customizable and affordable tool like Wix or SquareSpace. Regardless of which business website builder you choose, you’re in good hands!

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form a Pennsylvania Corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a Pennsylvania Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.