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How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

Written by:

Coralee is a business writer with experience in administrative services, education, and software testing.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

How to File a Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file a certificate of organization with the state. This is an absolutely crucial document that helps define your business, so it’s important to do it correctly.

An LLC is a business entity that offers liability protection for owners, as well as pass-through taxation, much like a sole proprietorship.

What is a Certificate of Organization?

The certificate of organization is a legal document you need to file with the state to form your LLC. It will specify details about your company and establish your LLC as an officially registered business entity in Pennsylvania. 

The document is similar to the articles of incorporation you would file to form a corporation instead of an LLC.

closeup view pennsylvania state usa map

How to File the Pennsylvania Certificate of Organization

In Pennsylvania, the process to file your certificate of organization is quite simple. The crucial first step is gathering the required information about your new LLC, before proceeding with the filing itself. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to create your new business entity: 

  1. Gather the required information about your business. 
  • The name and mailing address to receive a copy of the form  
  • The name of your business
  • Your LLC’s registered office:
    • The address of your business, or
    • The name and county of your designated office provider 

NOTE: Most states require an LLC to identify a registered agent in their articles of organization, but Pennsylvania does not. Instead, Pennsylvania requires a registered office address.

  • Organizer (name of the entity or person doing the filing)
  • Additional statements (if applicable)
  1. Visit Pennsylvania’s Department of State website 

Find Pennsylvania’s certificate of organization form here. It’s easiest to fill out the form online and file immediately, but you can also download it, fill it out and mail it in. 

Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania Filing Form
  1. Filling out the Certificate of Organization Document

To swiftly file online, you’ll first visit Pennsylvania’s Keystone Login page and register a new account. Fill in the form with your information, and then follow the prompts to register, verify, and activate your Keystone Login.  

You can now return to the login page and sign in to your new Keystone account. Upon first logging in, you’ll be asked to select the purpose of your new account. Select the option for business owners.   

Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania

You’ll then be presented with your Keystone account’s dashboard. On the right side of the page, access the PENN File (State) page within the Quick Links box. 

Be sure to pay close attention to this part of the process. To file your certificate of organization online, you’ll need to create one more account: a PENN File account. Be sure to avoid logging in to this system with your Keystone account credentials. Instead, scroll down to select “Sign up now!”

Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania Sign up

Fill in your information and register your PENN File account. You’ll be directed to your online business filing dashboard, where you can scroll down to view the various filing categories. Select and expand the domestic LLC section, and click on the certificate of organization form. 

Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania for LLC

Go ahead and fill out the form with your business’s information. Here’s what you can expect when you file online:

Complete the prompted veteran status question, then check that your business’s name is still available by using PENN File’s LLC name search feature. Next, fill in the information about your business’s registered office address, identify your LLC’s organizer(s) and specify the effective date for your certificate of organization.

The next online filing section is the docketing statement, which asks for a name and mailing address to receive initial tax reports. Before continuing, you will need to fill in the box detailing your LLC’s business activity. 

NOTE: For those who choose to file by mail, the docketing statement is an entirely separate form from the certificate of organization. Be sure to print out a copy of both documents! To successfully file your certificate, send these completed forms to the mailing address included below under Pennsylvania’s department of state contact information.

You’ll then be offered the opportunity to attach any supplementary documents. Afterward, provide your electronic signature and carefully review your application. 

When filling out your certificate of organization form, be sure to double-check that all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Maybe you’ve just moved, or use your middle initial in official documents, such as with your bank account. If you get it wrong now, changing it later can be a real pain. So accuracy is crucial. 

  • File Certificate of Organization –

Take the time to carefully examine your certificate of organization form and the information you entered. 

After reviewing the form and it’s sitting in your shopping cart, you can pay the $125 fee and file your certificate of organization.

Certificate of Organization in Pennsylvania Filing Fee

Pennsylvania’s department of state doesn’t specify turnaround times for filing online, but you can visit their business page to gauge their progress. For example, on June 20, 2022, Pennsylvania was still working through forms filed on June 3, 2022.

If the excitement and suspense are too much for you, Pennsylvania proffers three tiers of expedition services. You can pay $100 for same-day processing; $300 for three-hour processing; or $1,000 for one-hour processing. Note that all expedition requests must be delivered in person.  

Pennsylvania Department of State Contact Info

Pennsylvania’s Department of State Website

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

Hours: Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 

717.787.1057

General inquiries – [email protected]

The Bottom Line

In Pennsylvania, it’s relatively easy to create an LLC, but you do need to jump through a few hoops. You now have all the information you need to officially create your new business and begin your entrepreneurial journey in the Keystone State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an attorney to file a certificate of organization in Pennsylvania?

You do not need an attorney to file a certificate of organization in Pennsylvania. You can easily file online yourself, or use a business formation service. ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service will enable you to form your LLC in just a few minutes.

How do I amend my LLC’s certificate of organization?

You can fill out, sign, and submit a certificate of amendment online through your PENN File account with the department of state for $70. Or, you can mail a printed copy of your certificate of amendment with payment to the mailing address listed above.

How do I get a copy of my certificate of organization in Pennsylvania?

An initial copy of your filed certificate of organization will be sent to the mailing address you provided at the top of your filing form. For additional certified copies, you can fill out and submit a copy/certificate request form through your PENN File account for a fee of $40.