How to Start a Business in Pennsylvania

Date: April 25, 2013 Last Edit: September 07, 2016

Resources and information for starting a business in the Keystone state.

Pennsylvania is open for business.

That’s the message state leaders are trying to send across the nation, as the state strives to become “the easiest place in the world to start a business,” according to The site is a one-stop shop that economic development officials launched as a resource to help aspiring business owners navigate the early stages of opening their doors.

From licensing and registering your business to paying taxes, officials have outfitted the site with helpful FAQs, forms and other resources to help you get up and running—fast.

“Change is happening in Pennsylvania,” says NFIB/PA State Director Kevin Shivers. “NFIB is working collaboratively with Gov. Tom Corbett and a new leadership team in the state legislature to improve the regulatory process, reduce lawsuit abuse, simplify the tax code and revamp the state unemployment compensation system. These improvements were long overdue, and much more work still remains.”

According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania’s 2013 business tax climate ranks 19th nationwide, the second best climate among neighboring states, behind Delaware, which ranks 14th.

Officials have made the process of launching a new enterprise relatively painless—and streamlined. Here are the keys to starting a business in the Keystone state.

Paying Taxes

Before starting a business, it’s wise to meet with a tax and legal professional to determine the best structure for your new firm, and the corresponding tax obligations for which you’ll be responsible. (See How to Choose a Tax Professional and How to Vet a Laywer.)

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s website, where you’ll find the forms you need. You can also access these forms through In most cases, you’ll also want an Employer Identification Number, which you can get at

Registering, Permitting and Licensing Your Business

From, you can also license and register your business. Again, by clicking on “Find Forms,” you can access all the essential forms you’ll need to get started.

Next Steps

Once you’ve set up the legal and financial structure of your business, you’ll want to get on the fast track by joining local and state business groups that can propel you to the next level. For example, think about visiting an SBA Small Business Development Center, where you can receive financial counseling and take advantage of other resources to get your new firm off the ground.

Do you own a business in Philadelphia? Become an NFIB member today and join 350,000 other entrepreneurs who are saving time and money through their membership.

Learn more about NFIB in Pennsylvania.

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