Business & self-employment

Register a business

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.

Online

Visit the City’s eFile/ePay website.

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
(Map)

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.

If you registered your business using the City’s eFile/ePay website, you can also apply for your CAL online through the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

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:

Please note that 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.


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