To register your business with the City of Philadelphia, you’ll need to determine your business structure, obtain a business tax account number from the City, and apply for a Commercial Activity License.
The City offers detailed resources for business owners and those who are planning to launch a new business. See the Business Services site to learn more.
Determine your business structure
The first step you must take when registering a business in Philadelphia is to decide whether your business will be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability corporation (LLC). Refer to the City’s Business Services site for an introduction to and comparison of these business structures.
If you are unsure about what to do, we recommend consulting a professional accountant or attorney when determining your business structure. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also offers a wealth of information about starting a new business.
Get an Employer Identification Number
Once you’ve decided on a structure for your business, you’ll need to establish its identification number. Depending on your business structure, this may be either your Social Security Number or a federally-assigned Employer Identification Number (EIN).
It’s appropriate to use a Social Security Number if your business is being registered as an individual, limited liability individual, or estate. If your business is a corporation, partnership, limited liability corporation, or limited liability partnership, however, it’s necessary to register for and obtain an EIN through the IRS.
Get a City tax account number
You can register for your City tax account number and applicable taxes one of three ways.
Visit the Philadelphia Tax Center to get a Philadelphia Tax Identification Number (PHTIN) for all City taxes:
- Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT)
- Wage Tax
- Net Profits Tax
- Earnings Tax
- School Income Tax (SIT)
- Liquor Tax
- Beverage Tax
- Tobacco Tax
- Use and Occupancy Tax
- Realty Transfer Tax
- Hospital Tax
- Parking Tax
- Valet Parking Tax
- Hotel Tax
- Amusement Tax
- Coin-operated Tax
- Vehicle Rental Tax
- Outdoor Advertising Tax
Complete the business tax account application and send it to:
Philadelphia Dept. of Revenue
P.O. Box 1600
Philadelphia, PA 19105-1600
Municipal Services Building, Concourse Level
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Get a Commercial Activity License
All businesses that operate in Philadelphia must apply for a Commercial Activity License (CAL) from the Department of Licenses and Inspections. You must have a City business tax account number to obtain CAL.
If you applied for the business tax account number by mail, that form will also be used to issue a CAL for your business. You do not need to complete another application.
Know your City business taxes
Report any changes to your business
After your business is registered with the City, it is your responsibility to notify the Department of Revenue of any changes. These include, but are not limited to, a change in:
- Phone number
- Mailing address
- Trade name
- Entity structure
Closing your business
If you cease operations you must let Revenue know, or you may be charged penalties for not filing tax returns. Complete a tax account change form and send it in to inform Revenue of any business changes.