Starting a New Business in State College
As a potential business owner in the Borough of State College, you will be required to register with the municipality to obtain all appropriate licenses and permits to operate a business. This page contains general information and has been compiled to assist you in meeting these requirements.
- Businesses with Employees
- Business Loss Prevention
- Centre Region Code
- Eating and Drinking Licenses
- Federal & State Contacts
- Games of Chance
- Massage and Tattoo
- Refuse Collection
- Sewer Tapping Fee
- Temporary Business
- Water Tapping Fee
- Zoning Permits
- Other Information
Businesses with Employees
Withholding responsibilities. All employers are required to withhold from their employees' wages and remit on a quarterly basis the following taxes:
Earned Income Tax
To be withheld at the appropriate rate (Rate withheld is determined from the tax rate assessed by the municipality in which the employee resides).
Local Services Tax (LST)
The total annual LST for persons employed within the State College Borough is $52.00 ($5.00 State College Area School District (SCASD) portion plus $47 State College Borough portion). The LST should be withheld on a per pay basis. The amount to be deducted each pay period is determined by dividing $52 by the number of pay periods in the calendar year. If you are a self-employed individual you will be required to pay the LST on your own behalf. Please note the following exceptions to the withholding of LST: Municipal Exemption Form on File (relieves employee of the $47 State College Borough portion, withhold $5 in one lump sum); Secondary Statement on File (relieves the employee of the full $52, no deduction is required); Military Exemption (relieves employee of the full $52, no deduction is required); and Clergy Exemption (relieves employee of the full $52, no deduction is required). Please visit www.statecollegepa.us for more information regarding LST and/or to download a Local Services Tax (LST) Guide.
For local tax applications, returns, and additional information call:
State College Borough Tax Office
243 South Allen Street
State College, PA 16801
Business Loss Prevention Program
The State College Police Department offers Loss Prevention training for management and/or employees. Topics include shoplifting prevention, employee pilferage prevention, bad checks, credit card fraud, robbery prevention and security (loss) prevention surveys. All programs are tailored to suit your individual business needs. Special requests for other types of training are considered.
There are no fees for these services.
The State College Police Department requests that all businesses within its jurisdiction complete a business survey form. A business survey takes a few minutes to complete, and provides vital information to police, fire, and ambulance personnel in the event of an emergency, especially after business hours. The form contains information on alarm companies, and contact personnel that
Business Survey Form
For more information call the State College Police Department's Community Relations and Crime Prevention Section at (814) 278-4738.
Centre Region Code Administration Requirements
Fire Safety License (required for all businesses prior to occupancy)
A business, place of assembly, educational facility, factory, high-hazard facility, institution, mercantile establishment, hotel, motel, residential care or assisted living facility, or storage facility is required to have a fire safety program license issued prior to opening the business. The fire safety program license shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. The owner of the building is required to obtain and maintain the Fire Safety License prior to occupancy. If the use of the space changes, the code official is to be notified so an inspection can be conducted and determine code compliance prior to the new occupancy.
If a commercial occupancy is being renovated or the use of the occupancy is changing, a building permit may be required. A building permit application must be completed and submitted with two sets of sealed plans for review. For more information on the type of plans required, contact Centre Region Code Administration or your design professional.
Please contact Code Administration at (814) 234-3812 for Fire Safety License information or (814) 231-3056 for Building Permit information.
Eating and Drinking Licenses and Retail Outlet Licenses
The following items are required by the Division of Health and Neighborhood Services (DHNS) prior to construction and/or issuance of a restaurant Eating and Drinking or Retail Outlet license in the Borough.
- Set of floor plans which include floor, ceilings, and countertop coverings. Plans must show entire facility including restrooms, storage, preparation and seating.
- An Equipment List - All equipment must be commercial grade and be approved by the DHNS.
- Include a description of or copy of the menu.
- Pay the plan review fee when submitting the application.
- A $75 fee and a Facility Plan Review application are required for a change of ownership ONLY with no structural or equipment changes.
- The owner of the establishment must provide the DHNS with proof that he/she has applied for or received a Sales and Use Tax License or Exemption Certificate from the PA Department of Revenue.
- Each licensed establishment in the Borough of State College must have a sanitation supervisor. Arrangements for taking the examination can be made by calling the DHNS at (814) 234-7191. Certification is valid for five years from the date of the passed examination.
- Arrangements for proper grease disposal must be made. Grease disposal into dumpsters, recycling containers, storm sewers or drains is prohibited.
- Per the Clean Indoor Air Act, all public facilities must be smoke-free. Signs must be visibly posted.
- All establishments are required to recycle cardboard, glass, plastic, newspaper, aluminum, and metal cans. Call the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority (814) 238-7005 to make arrangements for collection.
- For non-recyclable refuse contact the Borough's Public Works Department at (814) 234-7135.
Contact the Internal Revenue Service to learn about your federal tax requirements.
- 1 (800) 829-3676 Federal Tax Forms & Publications
- 1 (800) 829-4477 Tele-Tax Service Recorded Tax/Refund Info
- 1 (800) 829-1040 Federal Tax Inquiries & Problems
Find your local IRS Office
The IRS’s email address is WWW.IRS.GOV.
Pennsylvania Department of Revenue should be contacted to determine if any state level requirements exist.
Taxpayer Assistance Office
615 Howard Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
(717) 787-8094 - 24 hours answering
(800) 362-2050 - toll free
Games of Change
Before carrying out any activities relating to games of chance, you are required to call the Centre County Prothonotary's Office at (814) 355-6796. The Prothonotary's office is situated within the Centre County Willowbank Building in Bellefonte.
Massage and Tattoo Establishments
The Division of Health and Neighborhood Services also regulates and licenses Massage and Tattoo establishments. Prior to construction contact the DHNS at (814) 234-7191.
Refuse & Recycling Collection
State College Borough is the sole provider of refuse collection services for businesses and residences within the municipality. The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority perform collections of recyclable materials. Recycling is required in the Borough of State College.
Most businesses are billed directly for these services, although in some cases, the building owner is billed. If you lease the business premises, your lease should address this issue.
Contact the State College Borough Public Works Department at (814) 234-7135 to determine the proper location for refuse disposal. Contact the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority at (814) 238-7005 for recycling and where containers are located.
Sewer Tapping Fee
The Borough and Sewer Authority have instituted a Sewer Tapping Fee for all new and redevelopment. The tapping fee is used to offset capital costs to the Borough and to upgrade sewage systems due to increased flows generated by the development.
For non-residential development, the tapping fee will be based upon the estimated water usage and the fee assessed is $33.92 per gallon per day. For more information contact the Public Works Department at (814) 234-7140.
A temporary business is any business operating less than 6 months of the year. The Finance Department can assist you in obtaining the proper application for a temporary business license. There are four kinds of temporary licenses, which may apply to you:
- Temporary Retail Business: Stationary (in location) business selling items or giving seminars, etc.
- Solicitor: Someone "advertising" for his or her business or organization door-to-door or at a stationary location.
- Canvasser: Someone asking for donations for their organization.
- Door-to-Door/Foot Peddler/Vehicle Peddler: Someone selling his or her wares while moving about.
License #1 - $75/day, $300/week or $600/month
License #2 - $30/day, $60/week, or $120/month
License #3 - $30/day, $60/week, or $120/month
License #4 - $30/day, $60/week, or $120/month
The entire process (from applying for the license to being issued the license) takes approximately two weeks.
If you are a non-profit group, you will need to submit one photograph with your application. If you are a for-profit group, you will need to submit two photographs. In addition to the photographs, a Pennsylvania Sales Tax certificate will have to be submitted if your items are taxable. If you will be selling anything related to the Pennsylvania State University, you must provide a copy of your PSU license agreement.
Temporary businesses may not operate within the boundaries of the "Festival Zone" during the annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. If you have any questions, call the Finance office at (814) 278-4766 during normal business hours.
Water Tapping Fee
If you are interested in obtaining information regarding the requirements to obtain a water permit, you should contact the State College Borough Water Authority by calling (814) 238-6766 or by stopping at their office at 1201 West Branch Road, State College.
Generally, a zoning permit is not required to begin a business in the Commercial zone within an existing building. The exception is when the business constitutes a change in use. It is always a good idea to check with the Zoning Officer beforehand. Permits for signs are required and are issued by the Zoning Office. For more information call (814) 234-7190 to speak with a Zoning Officer.
Fictitious Name Registration
PA Department of State Corporation Bureau
North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-1057
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
115 Technology Center
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-4558
Penn State Small Business Development Center
200 Innovation Blvd.
119 Technology Center
University Park PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-4293
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
SBDC staff are available to meet at the Happy Valley LaunchBox
224 S. Allen, State College, PA 16803
Wednesday 1:30 – 4:30 office hours
Friday 1:30 – 4:30 office hours
Other hours by appointment
Note: The fees listed in this brochure are subject to change without prior notice. For updated information, please contact the appropriate departments.