Do you own a business operating in the state of Pennsylvania? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.
But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Pennsylvania business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.
Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?
First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.
What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania does not have a general business license that applies statewide, as some states do. However, the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs does manage a variety of business licenses that your business may need to obtain.
In order to determine your business’ licensing needs, you will need to register with the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). With this system, you can search licenses and permits by industry or profession, and apply for them directly through the website.
Some businesses will also be required to seek environmental permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. You can learn more about environmental requirements for businesses right here.
Which Tax Registrations are Required for Pennsylvania Businesses?
In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, all corporations and LLCs are subject to the capital stock/foreign franchise tax. S Corporations are also subject to the 9.99% corporate income tax.
Pennsylvania also has various tax programs and credits for specific industries. For example, film and television production companies are eligible for the Entertainment Production Tax Credit, while businesses that rehabilitate historic structures can qualify for the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. You can learn more about industry-specific tax regulations right here.
Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Pennsylvania?
The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Pennsylvania you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Pennsylvania localities.
All local business licenses and permits are managed at the township, borough, or city level in Pennsylvania. You will need to communicate with your local municipal contact for more information. To find the local contact for your business’ location, consult this link.
Additionally, many cities in Pennsylvania provide business resource websites to assist local businesses with the licensing process, including cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Reading.
If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Pennsylvania, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.
Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?
If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.
Companies like Incfile can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. They will then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Pennsylvania. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.
We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!