How to Start a Limited Liability Partnership in Pennsylvania | 2023 Guide

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Start a Limited Liability Partnership in Pennsylvania

A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a popular business structure offering the flexibility of a partnership while providing limited liability protection like starting an LLC in Pennsylvania. LLP structure is ideal for attorneys, accountants, and consultants. If you’re considering starting a Limited Liability Partnership in Pennsylvania, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the necessary steps, from researching and planning to ongoing compliance and reporting requirements.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before starting your Pennsylvania LLP, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a Limited Liability Partnership?

Forming an LLP is like starting an LLC as well. However, there are differences in terms of it. A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a type of business structure that combines elements of partnerships and corporations. It allows multiple individuals, known as partners, to jointly own and manage the business while providing limited liability protection to each partner. This means that each partner’s assets are generally protected from the debts and liabilities of the business, and they are only liable for their investment in the partnership.

LLPs are popular among professional service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and consultants, as they allow for flexible management structures and profit-sharing arrangements. The partners in an LLP can directly manage the business, unlike forming a Corporation in Pennsylvania, where a board of directors typically handles the management.

Each partner’s liability is also limited to the extent of their investment, and they are not personally responsible for the negligence or misconduct of other partners. This is a key difference between an LLP and Pennsylvania General Partnership, where partners have unlimited liability for the partnership’s actions and other partners.

It is suggested that you speak with a legal professional before you begin setting up your limited liability partnership. They’ll understand what’s best for you and your company. To safeguard your personal assets from business debts, you can always start an LLC rather than a limited liability partnership.

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Steps in Starting a Limited Liability Partnership in Pennsylvania

To form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania, you must consider following the below guidelines that include research and planning, choosing an LLP name, designating a Registered Agent, filing for Certificate of Organization, drafting a partnership agreement, get an EIN, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, the opening of business bank account and maintain ongoing compliance and reporting requirements. 

Step 1: Research and Planning

Before forming an LLP in Pennsylvania, you must familiarize yourself with the state’s laws and regulations governing LLPs. Conduct thorough research to determine if an LLP is the right business structure for your needs, and create a detailed business plan outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections.

Step 2: Choose an LLP Name

Selecting a unique and appropriate name for your LLP is crucial. First, check the availability of your desired LLP name with the Pennsylvania business registry. Ensure that your chosen name follows Pennsylvania naming guidelines and requirements, which typically include the use of “Limited Liability Partnership” or “LLP” in the name. You can register and reserve the name with Pennsylvania Secretary of State if desired.

Here are some guidelines you must follow while naming your LLP in Pennsylvania- 

  • Be distinguishable from other businesses registered in your state
  • Include the words “Limited Liability Partnership,” “LLP,” or a similar abbreviation.
  • Not include words that are restricted by your state
  • Ensure that your chosen name does not infringe on any existing trademarks or intellectual property rights.

However, to check the availability of your desired LLP name, you can also search the Pennsylvania Secretary of State business name database and Pennsylvania Business Name Search. If the name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 120 days by filing a name reservation application and paying the online name reservation fee of $70 and mail name reservation fee of $70. If your LLP plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. 

The DBA filing can be done by two methods, by mail and in person, which costs around $70. In addition, the DBA’s validity in Pennsylvania is Indefinite, which you can file in the Pennsylvania Secretary of State.

You can check out how to file a DBA in Pennsylvania for clearer understanding.

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Step 3: Designate a Registered Agent

In Pennsylvania, you’ll need to designate a Registered Agent for your LLP. The Registered Agent is responsible for receiving the partnership’s important legal and tax documents. Choose a qualified individual or Pennsylvania Registered Agent Services to serve as your LLP’s Registered Agent, ensuring that they meet Pennsylvania requirements.

However, If you plan to become a Registered Agent of your own LLP, follow the steps below. Also, this applies a guideline in hiring your registered agent.

  • Research the requirements in the state where you want to offer your service. Each state has specific criteria, such as having a physical address and being available during normal business hours.
  • Obtain a physical address in the state(s) if needed.
  • Be familiar with the rules, regulations, and compliance requirements for businesses in your state.
  • Create a business plan outlining your services, pricing, and marketing strategy.
  • Register your business entity, such as an LLP, if required.

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Step 4: File a Certificate of Limited Liability Partnership

To officially form your LLP, you must file a Certificate of Limited Liability Partnership with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. Obtain the necessary forms and provide the required information, such as the LLP name, principal office address, registered agent’s name and address, names and addresses of partners, and management structure. Pay the required filing fee and submit the completed forms to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office.

Step 5: Draft a Partnership Agreement

A well-crafted partnership agreement is essential for governing your LLP and protecting the interests of its partners. This document should cover crucial provisions such as roles and responsibilities of partners, profit and loss sharing, decision-making processes, partner admission and withdrawal, and dispute resolution. Consider having the partnership agreement reviewed by an attorney to ensure its completeness and compliance with Pennsylvania laws.

A partnership agreement should include the following:

  • Business name
  • Description of the business
  • Contact information of the business and its owners

Ownership of all business partners, decision-making, capital contribution, profits and distribution, death and disability, and withdrawal and addition of partners is one of the key factors to consider when forming or creating a partnership agreement. In this way, all business partners will understand what this is all about and how to proceed if the mentioned scenarios happen. 

Without a partnership agreement, your company will often be subject to the general partnership default laws of Pennsylvania. The default laws in Pennsylvania might not be appropriate for your requirements.

Step 6: Get an EIN

Your LLP must obtain Pennsylvania Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The application of an EIN can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLP the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Step 7: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your specific industry, you may need to obtain Pennsylvania Business Licenses and permits to operate your LLP. Research your business’s licensing and permit requirements and apply for them accordingly.

You can check out the United States Business License & Licensing Fee Resources for more information about the costs in Pennsylvania.

Step 8: Open a Business Bank Account and Obtain Insurance

Maintaining clear financial records is crucial for any business, so open a separate bank account for your Pennsylvania LLP. Additionally, obtain the necessary Pennsylvania Business Insurance, such as general liability insurance, professional liability insurance (if applicable), and workers’ compensation insurance (if you have employees). 

Check the Best Bank for Small Businesses in Pennsylvania to open a bank account.

Step 9: Maintain Compliance and Reporting Requirements

Stay informed about and comply with relevant laws and regulations to keep your LLP in good standing. File Decennial Reports with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State (if required), maintain accurate financial and operational records, and file and pay required taxes at the federal, Pennsylvania, and local levels.

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Advantages of Forming a Limited Liability Partnership in Pennsylvania

While the specific advantages of forming an LLP in Pennsylvania can vary depending on the state’s unique laws and regulations, several public benefits associated with LLPs often apply across jurisdictions. Here are some advantages to consider when forming an LLP in Pennsylvania:

  • Limited Liability Protection: One of the main benefits of an LLP is its limited liability protection to its partners. This means that each partner’s assets are generally protected from the debts and liabilities of the business, and they are only liable for their investment in the partnership.
  • Pass-through Taxation: An LLP typically enjoys pass-through taxation, which means that the profits and losses of the business are passed through to the partners, who report them on their personal income tax returns. This avoids the double taxation often associated with corporations.
  • Flexible Management Structure: Unlike corporations requiring a board of directors, LLPs allow for a more flexible management structure. Partners in an LLP can directly manage the business and make decisions without needing a formal board.
  • Profit-sharing Flexibility: The partnership agreement can outline the distribution of profits and losses among partners, allowing for a customized profit-sharing arrangement based on the partners’ preferences and contributions.
  • Easier Formation and Compliance: Forming an LLP is generally less complicated and expensive than forming a corporation. Ongoing compliance requirements may also be less burdensome than other business entities, depending on the specific laws and regulations in Pennsylvania.
  • Professional Credibility: Forming an LLP can enhance your business’s professional credibility, as it demonstrates a commitment to a formal business structure and can offer reassurance to clients, customers, and potential investors.

Bear in mind that the advantages of forming an LLP in Pennsylvania may vary based on the specific laws and regulations governing LLPs. Researching the applicable laws and consulting with legal or financial advisors is essential to fully understand the benefits and requirements of forming an LLP in Pennsylvania.

Cost of Forming an LLP in Pennsylvania

The cost of forming an LLP in Pennsylvania may vary depending on the required filing fees and any additional services you may need. The filing fee for a Certificate of Limited Liability Partnership typically ranges from $50 to $200, depending on the state.

Can I Form an LLP in Other States?

You can form an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) in other states. To form an LLP in a different state, you must follow that state’s specific registration requirements and filing procedures. This usually involves filing an application or certificate of registration, paying a registration fee, and obtaining any necessary permits or licenses.

Additionally, you may need to register your LLP as Pennsylvania Foreign LLC if you plan to conduct business in multiple states. It is advisable to consult with an attorney or a business consultant familiar with the laws and regulations of the state where you plan to form your LLP.

Can an LLP Need to Have One Owner?

An LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) cannot have just one owner. By definition, an LLP is a partnership, which means it requires at least two partners to be formed. If you want a business structure with limited liability protection and only one owner, you may consider forming a Single-Member LLC in Pennsylvania instead. An LLC can have one or more owners, known as members, and offers limited liability protection and pass-through taxation. The requirements for forming an LLC will vary by state, so consult your state’s laws and regulations.

FAQs

What is a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which the partners have limited liability.
How do I form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To form a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must file a certificate of registration with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
What documents are required to form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To form a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must file a certificate of registration, an application for registration of foreign LLP, if applicable, and pay the filing fee.
What are the requirements to be a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To be a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must have at least two partners, at least one of whom must be a licensed professional.
Can non-residents of Pennsylvania form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
Yes, non-residents of Pennsylvania can form a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania as long as they comply with the requirements for forming an LLP.
How long does it take to form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to form a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
How much does it cost to form a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
The filing fee to form a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania is $125.
Do I need to publish a notice when forming a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
No, it is not required to publish a notice when forming a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Do I need to have insurance when starting a limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It is not required to have insurance when starting a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, but it is recommended to have a comprehensive insurance policy.
How do I register a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To register a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania, you must file an application for registration of a foreign LLP with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
What is the deadline for registering a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
There is no deadline for registering a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania.
How long does it take to register a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to register a foreign limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania.
Can a foreign limited liability partnership register for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania?
Yes, a foreign limited liability partnership can register for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania.
What is the fee for registering a foreign limited liability partnership for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania?
The fee for registering a foreign limited liability partnership for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania is $250.
How long does it take to register for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to register for a Certificate of Authority to do business in Pennsylvania.
How do I change the name of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To change the name of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must file a certificate of amendment with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
How long does it take to change the name of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to change the name of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Is there a fee to change the name of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there is a fee of $70 to change the name of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
How do I dissolve my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To dissolve your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must file a certificate of cancellation with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
How long does it take to dissolve my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to dissolve your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Is there a fee to dissolve my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there is a fee of $70 to dissolve your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Can I reinstate my dissolved limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
Yes, you can reinstate your dissolved limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania by filing a reinstatement application with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
What is the fee to reinstate a dissolved limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
The fee to reinstate a dissolved limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania is $400.
How long does it take to reinstate a dissolved limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to reinstate a dissolved limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Can I convert my limited liability partnership to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania?
Yes, you can convert your limited liability partnership (LLP) to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania by filing the necessary documents with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
How long does it take to convert my limited liability partnership to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to convert your limited liability partnership (LLP) to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania.
Is there a fee to convert my limited liability partnership to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania?
The fee to convert your limited liability partnership (LLP) to a different type of entity in Pennsylvania varies depending on the entity you are converting to.
How do I change the address of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
To change the address of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania, you must file a certificate of amendment with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
How long does it take to change the address of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
It takes approximately 7-10 business days to change the address of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.
Is there a fee to change the address of my limited liability partnership in Pennsylvania?
No, there is no fee to change the address of your limited liability partnership (LLP) in Pennsylvania.

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Conclusion

Starting an LLP in Pennsylvania may seem daunting, but you can successfully establish and run your business with thorough research, planning, and compliance with legal requirements. Feel free to seek professional assistance from legal or financial advisors when needed to ensure your Limited Liability Partnership’s smooth operation and growth in Pennsylvania.

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