What is the PA-100 and why do I need it?

One of the most puzzling responsibilities of launching a new business is completing the PA-100 Enterprise Registration Form.  I am often asked what it is and how to complete it.

If you operate a business in Pennsylvania, there is a good chance that you will need to complete the Pennsylvania Enterprise Registration Form (the PA-100).

This form is used by for-profit and nonprofit businesses to register for certain tax obligations.  Once registered, your business will be able to electronically file and remit payment for its various tax obligations.

It is important to carefully read the PA-100 to determine which registrations apply to your business.  When in doubt, consult your accountant or your attorney.

For-profit Businesses

Most businesses need to complete the PA-100.  If your business employs individuals or sells products, you will likely need to register for the following:

  • Employer Withholding Taxes
  • Sales, Use, and Occupancy Taxes
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Wholesaler Certification

In addition, there may be registrations specific to your line of business, such as:

  • malt beverage and liquor tax
  • cigarette tax & license
  • liquid fuels tax
  • hotel tax

Nonprofits

Nonprofits often mistakenly ignore this form.  Although not subject to income tax, nonprofits must still comply with other tax laws, such as employment tax and sales tax.

Many nonprofits will find it necessary to complete the Pa-100 and register for their tax license identifications, such as:

  • Employer Withholding Taxes
  • Sales and Use Taxes
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Small Games of Chance License
  • Sales Tax Exemption Certificates

Registration Tips

Although you will ultimately register online through the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue portal, I highly advise you print a paper copy.  Just type PA-100 Enterprise Registration into a search engine or the Department of Revenue website and you will find this form.

First, read the form.  It looks scary, but don’t be fooled.  You will not have to complete every section; just the ones that apply to your business.  Luckily the first few pages tell you which sections you need to complete based upon which license you are using.

Next, go to the end and read the Instructions.  They may be boring but they are useful and will answer many of your questions.

Most businesses will be looking to register for sales tax or employer withholdings.  You will do this through the PA-100.  Afterwards, you will submit your tax reports and payments through the Department of Revenue’s eTIDES portal.  Again, your tax professional should be able to help you with this.

PA-100 Tips

TIP:  Review the lengthy sales tax exemption list published by the Department of Revenue.  There are many retail items for which you do not pay sales tax.  This means many small businesses selling in a niche market might not need to register.

TIP:   Do not register for employer withholdings until you have employees.  Many new businesses and nonprofits initially do not have employees.  They rely on the owner’s sweat equity, volunteers, or independent contractors.  Therefore, you do not need to register until you are ready.

TIP:  Choose the correct “entity type” in Section 5 and Section 11 (if applicable).  I have seen many clients choose the wrong type and then it causes problems later when they file the tax return for their business.

TIP:  Do not complete the Predecessor/Successor Information unless you bought your business through an asset purchase or stock purchase.  If you do not know what I am talking about, chances are this section does not apply to you.  When in doubt, ask your accountant or attorney.

The PA-100 Enterprise Registration Form is not too scary if you break it down section by section.  If you are uncertain, ask your attorney who set up your business or your tax professional.  They should be knowledgable about this form and able to answer your questions.