Pennsylvania Certificate of Incorporation

In Pennsylvania, a certificate of incorporation is referred to as articles of incorporation. Articles of incorporation exist as the formation document used to incorporate a business in the state of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of State website supplies business owners with printable fill-in-the-blank articles of incorporation. Also, the Pennsylvania Department of State provides business owners with articles of incorporation by mail, or the articles can get picked up in person at the Pennsylvania Department of State's office.

  1. Name

    • Business owners need to confirm name availability prior to putting the company's name in the articles. The Pennsylvania Department of State website allows users to confirm name availability online. The name of the company cannot be too similar to an existing business that appears in the Department of State database. In the articles of incorporation, the legal name of the company must include words such as "Corporation," "Limited," or "Incorporated." The name of the company may contain an abbreviation like "Inc." or "Ltd."

    Registered Agent

    • The articles must contain the name and physical address of the company's registered agent. A registered agent cannot use a post office box address, and the agent must maintain a physical address in Pennsylvania. An individual named as the company's registered agent must have reached 18 years of age. The articles of incorporation may list a business as the company's registered agent as long as the business is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State. The company may act as its own registered agent as long as it has a physical office in Pennsylvania.

    Considerations

    • The purpose for forming the company needs to appear in the articles, along with the number of shares the company has the authority to issue to potential investors. The articles must contain the date when the filing becomes effective, as well as the name and address of each incorporator. The incorporator has the responsibility of organizing the company and filing the company's articles with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Incorporators must be 18 years old. The term of the corporation must appear in the articles of incorporation, or the articles can state the company has an unlimited life. The signature of each incorporator has to appear in the articles of incorporation.

    Filing

    • The Pennsylvania Department of State website allows business owners to file articles of incorporation online. The Department of State accepts articles of incorporation by mail or in person at the Department of State's office. As of 2011, it costs $125 to file articles of incorporation with the Department of State. A docketing statement must accompany the articles of incorporation at the time of submission. A fill-in-the-blank docketing statement can get printed from the Department of State website, or it can get submitted online along with the articles. The docketing statement requests basic information about the business, such as a description of the company's activities.

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