Registrations, Licenses, Taxes
Commercial Activity License
*Formerly known as the Business Privilege License.*
Anyone doing business in Philadelphia needs Commercial Activity License. A City Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) Number is required with the application.
The Commercial Activity License is FREE. For more information, click here
Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I)
(215) 686-2400 • phila.gov/LI
Consult L & I to determine if your business type or location requires any additional Licenses, Permits, or Zoning.
Municipal Services Building – 11th Floor
1401 JFK Blvd. Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Philadelphia Business Income and Receipts Tax Number
To obtain an application:
215-686-6600 • www.business.phila.gov/business-income-and-receipts-tax
The Philadelphia Department of Revenue will issue a Philadelphia Business Income and Receipts Tax Number, and can provide information about City business taxes.
Fictitious & Legal Business Name Registration
If your business name is different from your legal name, you must either register the legal name with the state (through filing formation documents for an LLC, corporation, or partnership), or file for a fictitious (trade) name (if you plan to operate as sole proprietor. There is a small fee.
Bureau of Corporations & Charitable Organizations
To inquire whether your proposed business name is available, or to request registration forms, contact:
1-717-787-1720 • PA Department of State
207 North Office Building
401 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Federal Employer Identification
Internal Revenue Service
(267) 941-6800 • www.irs.gov
Any corporation or partnership, or a sole proprietor who plans on hiring employees, must obtain a Federal ID Number by filing IRS Form SS-4.
For information, or to obtain the form, call or visit.
600 Arch Street, Room 1232
Philadelphia, PA 19106
PA Business Tax Number & Registration
The PA Enterprise Registration Form (PA-100) registers a business to collect Sales Tax, PA Employee Tax, Withholding, and Unemployment Tax.
To complete the form –
By phone: (717) 787-1064 • *1-800-447-3020
*Services for taxpayers with special hearing and speaking needs
PA Department of Revenue
110 N 8th Street Room, STE 204A
Philadelphia, PA 19107
For questions pertaining only to PA State Unemployment Tax, call 215-560-2845.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Workers’ Compensation insurance is required, and may be purchased from your insurance agent or from the state.
State Worker’s Insurance Fund
(717) 787-3201 • www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Compensation
PA Dept. of Labor and Industry
1521 North Sixth Street
Harrisburg PA, 17102
Local County Resources
There are many types of federal, state, and local licenses, a well as professional licenses required for businesses. Depending on the type of business you are in and where you plan to operate, your business will be required to have various state and /or municipal licenses. Check with the license office in the city or town where you plan to do business.
For a listing of resource providers and SBA lenders in Eastern Pennsylvania, consult the SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Office Resource Guide (PDF).
The following county resources offer business information:
Bucks County Resources
Bucks County Industrial Development Authority
267-880-6071 • buckscountyida.com
This site provides county resource links and county demographics. They administer the economic development initiatives of the County Commissioners, including administering several loan funds, and work in partnership with many for- and not-for-profit organizations to support local businesses, enterprises, and entrepreneurs.
Chester County Resources
Chester County Department of Community Development
610-344-6900 • chesco.org
This site provides county demographic information, procurement, real estate information, links to business resources and organizations, local municipalities, and county government offices.
Delaware County Resources
Delaware County Commerce Center
610-566-2225 • delcopa.org
This site is a one-stop resource for economic development agencies, authorities and resources in Delaware County.
Montgomery County Resources
Montgomery County Development Corporation
610-272-5000 • montcodc.org
This is the resource site for Montgomery County economic assistance and development for business. This site contains information and links to demographics, state and local taxes, and business resources.
Philadelphia County Resources
City of Philadelphia Business Services
311 • business.phila.gov
This resource site provides information regarding Business Services and Economic Inclusion within the City of Philadelphia. This site provides detailed information, forms and resources related to planning, starting and running a business.
Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
215-496-8020 • pidcphila.com
This resource site provides information about economic development initiatives including financing programs and real estate services in the Philadelphia region.
Community Legal Services
215-981-3700 • clsphila.org
For over 40 years, Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia has provided the highest quality legal assistance to low-income Philadelphians who cannot afford legal counsel when they most need it. CLS houses nine different legal units: Community Economic Development; Consumer Law; Aging and Disabilities Law; Employment; Energy; Family Advocacy; Housing; Language Access; and Public Benefits, including the Advocating on Behalf of Children project (ABC).
Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
215-895-1529 • drexel.edu/law/academics/kline-difference
The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic provides legal guidance to Philadelphia-area start up companies by assigning them a team of law students under the supervision of a mentor. Interested firms should apply at the link above.
215-523-9550 • phillyvip.org
Philadelphia LawWorks, a project of Philadelphia VIP, contributes to Philadelphia’s economic development by ensuring that homeowners, nonprofits and small business owners’ legal needs are met and by educating clients and the community to prevent legal problems.
University of Pennsylvania Law School
215.898.7483 • law.upenn.edu/clinic/entrepreneurship
The Penn Law Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic (ELC) provides pro bono transactional legal services to entrepreneurs and businesses in the start-up or growth phase.
Philadelphia Bar Association
(215) 238-6333 • lris.philadelphiabar.org
The Philadelphia Bar Association has a referral service. You’ll be asking to complete a form with your information and a brief description of the legal problem at hand. They’ll refer to an attorney who practices in the specific legal area you’re seeking. There is no cost for the referral; should you contact the attorney they refer you to, there is a set $35 fee for a 30 minute consultation.
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
215-557-2626 • welcomingcenter.org
The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians’ services for immigrants include employment assistance, small business start up assistance, ESL training. Their services for employers include help finding, hiring, and retaining qualified immigrants.
PA Business One-Stop Shop
1-833-722-6778 • business.pa.gov
PA Business One-Stop Shop is the result of the commonwealth’s effort to make Pennsylvania the easiest place in the world to start, build and expand a business. This website gives entrepreneurs one-stop access to business information.
Entrepreneurs can find out how to start a business, learn how PA can help them grow, find the right forms and electronically register a business with the Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Revenue, and Department of State.
800-989-2227 • clarifi.org
Founded in 1966, Clarifi (formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community service organization providing a wide variety of counseling services and educational programs designed to empower individuals-of all economic levels-financially, and to help them before, during or after a period of financial difficulty.
The U. S. Small Business Administration provides business development information, on-line training, on-line counseling, resources including small business development centers, how to gain access to government contracts (including as a WOSB or HUBZone certified business), and services for entrepreneurs over the age of 50, and cyber security for small businesses. Don’t miss the SBA learning center for a variety of educational resources for business owners.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s mission is to serve as the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. Data can be used for business marketing plans. Data collected includes: Population and Housing Census, Economic Census, Census of Governments, American Community Survey, as well as a variety of other surveys.
For help understanding how to find, understand, and use this data, contact:
Noemi Mendez Eliasen
Information Services Specialist
Philadelphia Regional Office- US Census Bureau
215-717-1800 • census.gov
Introduced in 2010, the National Export Initiative (NEI) aims to create long-term, sustainable economic growth for the United States by doubling exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million American jobs.
US Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration
The U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration (ITA) are critical to the implementation of NEI.
Take Your Business Global
The videos can be viewed here: www.inc.com/exporting/
A video series developed through a partnership with AT&T, SBA & Inc. Magazine to promote exporting. The series guides small businesses through the process of exporting: Getting Started in Exporting; Planning for Export success; Connecting with Foreign Buyers; Financing; and five Case Studies of successful small business exporters.
U.S. Export Assistance Centers
Located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States, each U.S. Export Assistance Center is staffed by professionals from the SBA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and other public and private organizations. Your local U.S. Export Assistance Center is your one-stop shop, designed to provide export assistance for your small- or medium-sized business.
Website & Marketing Tools
Creating a Domain Name
A domain name is the online URL of your business, and helps to legitimize your presence online. A domain allows you to create a website and email address rather than using a site like gmail or hotmail. This resource clearly explains what a domain name is and easy ways to obtain (and maintain) one.