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Business & self-employment

Register a business

To register your business with the City of Philadelphia, you’ll need to determine your business structure, get a business tax account number from the City, and apply for a Commercial Activity License.

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).

If you’re unsure what to do, we recommend consulting a professional accountant or attorney. The U.S. 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, it’s necessary to register for and get 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

This number is used to pay business taxes, as well the School Income TaxEarnings Tax, and Wage Tax.

By mail

Complete the business tax account application and send it to:

Philadelphia Dept. of Revenue
P.O. Box 1600
Philadelphia, PA 19105-1600

In person

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 get a 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.

You can get a City business tax account number through the Philadelphia Tax Center and apply for your CAL online through eCLIPSE.

Know your City business taxes

You should be aware of the City taxes your business will be liable for. The most common business taxes in Philadelphia are:

These are only a few of the taxes for which your business may be liable. To review detailed tax requirements for businesses that operate in Philadelphia, visit our section on 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:

  • Partnership.
  • Phone number.
  • Mailing address.
  • Location.
  • 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.