Starting a small business is exciting. In most cases, the owner has been dreaming of owning an independent business for years and is finally ready to take the leap. While running a small business is a time-consuming task, potential owners should better understand how to register a business in Pennsylvania before jumping head-first into the process. From PA online business entity registration to figuring out local registrations, permits, and zoning, this is a very involved process. To help, we have compiled an informal guide to starting a small business in the Keystone State.
What is PA 100 and Why Should I Care?
PA 100 is the PA Online Business Entity Registration. This will assist you in completing all applicable sections to address your business entity’s registration needs. You can use it to register a new business, add additional taxes or services, or to register a new business that is acquiring all or part of an existing entity. We recommend that small business owner sign up for PA 100 rather than using the basic business registration process because it provides a comprehensive guideline to everything you need.
PA 100 will assist new business owners with a range of essential tax requirements, including employer withholding tax, unemployment compensation, use tax, sales tax, wholesaler certificates, and public transportation assistance taxes and fees. For a complete list of services supported with PA 100, see the Pennsylvania State website.
The Pennsylvania government provides a robust resource for starting a small business, known as the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop. This new resource provides a business plan and guide to registering, operating, and growing your new entity. However, we still recommend PA 100, as it is a more comprehensive and involved guide.
That said, regardless of which guide you use, you will need to figure out your local registrations, permits, and zoning. This is where the PA Business One-Stop Shop can really help. The program has a useful search tool to figure out your exact tax rate. We recommend double-checking the location you receive with the U.S. Census Bureau’s AmericanFactFinder to ensure the answer is correct.
Your Business Needs Payroll Software
Starting a new business is an excellent time to invest in payroll software. Using an organizational tool, complete with semi-automated calculation functions, is essential in a business’s first few days. While PA 100 is useful for getting off the ground, you’ll need software to actually complete the necessary forms, maintain employee data, and, of course, cut paychecks. AMS Payroll ($129) is the right product for the job.
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In addition to calculating local, state, and federal withholding tax, AMS Payroll provides several other essential features. See below for a list of its most popular functions.
- Imports data from QuickBooks, Excel, PeachTree, and Tab-Delimited Text Files
- Prints checks individually or by date range
- Creates an SSN Verification file
- Easy Payer and Employee Setup
- Automatic saving feature ensures data is never lost
- Support for end-of-year reporting, tax form preparation, and electronic filing
- Back-end data hosting feature allows users to generate and store critical payroll information