Before we get started in this guide on how to start an LLC in New Jersey, I like to take a few seconds and talk about the quick and easy way to get a Jersey LLC setup.
You can go straight to ZenBusiness and they will help you:
- Do a business name search
- Be your registered agent
- Help with an operating agreement
- Prepare and File your Certificate of Formation
- File your EIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)
If you’re looking for an easy button – they are exactly what you need.
I also love spending a few minutes on what New Jersey is known for and the #1 thing is Jersey Shores (not the show 😉 but the actual coast line. It’s so nice out there – if you’re going to setup a Jersey LLC – you should figure out how to setup a business around the coastlines to take advantage of the tourist industry and be one of the business entities that is out there.
Name Your New Jersey LLC
The first step in forming your New Jersey LLC is to choose a name for your business. This may sound like a very simple task, but there are actually quite a few things you need to keep in mind when picking out a name for your LLC.
Your LLC’s Name Must Be Distinguishable from Other Business Names
First and foremost, your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of other businesses that are already registered with the New Jersey Division of Revenue. In other words, you’ll need to choose a name for your LLC that is not being used by any other business in the state.
You can search for existing business names through the New Jersey Business Name Search website.
Here is the portal to do your search: https://www.njportal.com/DOR/BusinessNameSearch/Search/BusinessName
Your New Jersey LLC Name Must Include Certain Designators
The second thing to keep in mind is that your LLC’s name must include one of the following words or abbreviations:
- “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “limited liability company”
- “L.C.,” “LC,” or “limited company”
- “Corp.,” “Inc.,” or “Corporation”
- “Co.,” or “Company”
If your LLC will be engaged in professional services, such as law, medicine, architecture, accounting, etc., then your LLC’s name must also include the word “Professional” or the abbreviation “Prof.”
Your LLC’s Name May Not Include Certain Words
There are also certain words and phrases that you are not allowed to use in your LLC’s name. These include words that would imply that your LLC is engaged in a business or activity that it is not actually engaged in. For example, you would not be allowed to use the word “Bank” in your LLC’s name if your LLC will not actually be engaged in the business of banking.
Some other examples of words and phrases that are not allowed in LLC names include:
- “FBI,” “Secret Service,” “CIA,” “Treasury,” “Department of,” “State Police,” etc.
- “Attorney General,” “Comptroller,” “Commissioner,” etc.
- “Insurance,” “Surety,” “Mutual Aid Association,” etc.
- The word “Olympic” or any variation thereof.
- Certain words that are considered to be misleading, such as “Bureau,” “Authority,” “Commission,” etc.
Reserve a Name for Your New Jersey LLC
If you’ve found a name for your LLC that is available and complies with all of the state’s requirements, then the next step is to reserve that name with the New Jersey Division of Revenue.
This can be done by filing a Name Reservation Request Form (Form NJ-REG) with the Division of Revenue. The form must be signed by a member or manager of your LLC, and it must include the following information:
- The name you are reserving for your LLC
- The name and address of your LLC
- The name, address, and title of the individual who is signing the form
- The date on which you are reserving the name
Once the form has been completed, it can be mailed or faxed to the following address:
New Jersey Division of Revenue Business Filings Unit P.O. Box 252 Trenton, NJ 08646-0252
Fax: (609) 292-5043
Another thing to consider when you’re picking your Jersey LLC name is the internet!
I’d also recommend you think about having a GoDaddy search on the website domain too. If you don’t have a website these days – do you have a business? That’s a rhetorical question but it’s an important one.
The thing is, people use the internet for EVERYTHING. And when I say everything – I mean it. Can you imagine a world without the internet? No way.
According to Statistica, as of January 2019, there are 4.388 BILLION internet users which is almost 60% of the world population!
So as you think about your LLC name – make sure you can find a .com website domain for it too so you’re not stuck with a .net or .biz because those look unprofessional.
Choose your registered agent
The next step in forming your LLC is to choose a registered agent for your business. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept service of process on behalf of your LLC. This means that if your LLC is ever sued, the person or business who serves as your registered agent will be responsible for accepting service of process (i.e., being served with the lawsuit) on behalf of your LLC.
Your registered agent must have a physical street address in New Jersey and must be available during normal business hours to accept service of process. P.O. box addresses are not allowed.
You can act as your own registered agent, but we generally do not recommend it. The reason for this is that if your LLC is ever sued, the process server will need to be able to locate you in order to serve you with the lawsuit. If you act as your own registered agent, this means that your home address will be on public record with the state, which could lead to unwanted visitors showing up at your door.
If you do not want your home address to be on public record, you can choose a friend or family member to act as your registered agent, or you can hire a professional registered agent service.
We recommend using a professional registered agent service because they will have a physical address in New Jersey that can be used as your LLC’s registered office, and they will be available during normal business hours to accept service of process on behalf of your LLC. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your LLC is in compliance with the state’s requirements and that you will not have to worry about being served with a lawsuit at your home address.
You can go to Northwest Registered Agent to act as your service as said earlier but you can also find a local law firm (New Jersey based) which may be a lower cost but then you’ll have multiple places to work through when forming your business.
I’d recommend just keeping it under one spot and go to Northwest Registered Agent (if you want help with your Limited Liability Company).
Prepare and File Your Certificate of Formation
The next step in forming your LLC is to prepare and file your Certificate of Formation with the New Jersey Division of Revenue. The Certificate of Formation is also sometimes referred to as the Articles of Organization or the Articles of Association.
The Certificate of Formation must be filed with the Division of Revenue in order for your LLC to be officially recognized by the state of New Jersey.
The Certificate of Formation must include the following information:
- The name of your LLC
- The address of your LLC’s registered office in New Jersey
- The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent in New Jersey
- The names and addresses of the members (i.e., owners) of your LLC
- The date on which your LLC will dissolve (if applicable)
- Whether your LLC will be managed by members or managers
- The names and addresses of the managers of your LLC (if applicable)
- The name and address of the person who prepared the Certificate of Formation
- The effective date of your LLC (i.e., the date on which your LLC will be officially recognized by the state of New Jersey)
You can find the Certificate of Formation on the Division of Revenue’s website.
Once you have completed the Certificate of Formation, you must submit it to the Division of Revenue along with the filing fee, which is currently $125. The Division of Revenue accepts payments by check or money order.
You can mail your completed Certificate of Formation and filing fee to:
New Jersey Division of Revenue
P.O. Box 252
Trenton, NJ 08646-0252
You can also hand-deliver your completed Certificate of Formation and filing fee to the Division of Revenue’s office in Trenton, which is located at:
Division of Revenue
33 West State Street – 2nd Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608
Once the Division of Revenue receives your Certificate of Formation and filing fee, they will process your LLC and issue you a Certificate of Organization. This document serves as official proof that your LLC has been formed and is in good standing with the state of New Jersey.
You should keep your Certificate of Organization in a safe place, along with the other important documents related to your LLC.
Create an operating agreement
The next step in forming your LLC is to prepare your LLC Operating Agreement. This is one of the most important documents for your Jersey LLC because the operating agreement helps with the business structure, operating rules and no matter if you’re a sole proprietorship or have multiple LLC members, you’re going to want to know what the operating rules are.
Operating agreements are great for that and if there is ever a business dispute, you can use it to help resolve whatever issues come up. If it escalates, you can take it to the New Jersey Department that can help.
If one of the LLC members has put in funds up front, it’s important to document that and make sure it’s filed. You don’t have to go through public records filing but it is important that your operating agreement has the LLC owners on the same page of how you plan on operating your Domestic LLC or Foreign LLC (depending on how it’s going to be incorporated).
Receive a Certificate From the State
The state may issue a certificate verifying the LLC’s official existence once the LLC formation documents are signed. The LLC will also receive a business license for the company’s business account.
You’ll want to make sure you’ve received a New Jersey certificate whether you’re running a professional services business or an online business.
Get your EIN
The next step is to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and it is required in order to open a business bank account and file taxes on behalf of your LLC.
You can apply for an EIN online, by mail, or by fax. If you apply online, you will receive your EIN immediately. If you apply by mail or fax, it will take about 4-5 weeks to receive your EIN.
There is no fee to apply for an EIN.
Now that you have all the steps to officially have a New Jersey LLC, it’s time to take the additional steps to make sure you’ve got the supporting services to make it successful.
Open A Business Bank Account
If you have personal assets that you’ve put into the business, now would be the time to put that information in your operating agreement and move your business funds directly to this business bank account.
You’re going to have to collect New Jersey Sales Tax and as one of many small business owners, you’ll want to have this in a different account for tax purposes and make sure it’s not mixed in with personal assets.
I recommend that you use Novo.co as your banking solution because they make it easy for business funding and if you have more than one member – the application process is pretty simple too.
Check it out and go get your account setup today.
Get Small Business Insurance
If you’re going to hire employees, you’ll need to get workers compensation insurance and be covered for anything that comes up. I’d highly recommend looking at commercialinsurance.net to get a quote and get some owners liability protection too.
You don’t want to be one of the 60% of small businesses that fail because of an unfortunate event. Make sure you’re prepared and get insured today.
Setup Your Accounting Software
The last thing you need to do is make sure your finances are in order and you can do that by using accounting software like QuickBooks. As I’ve been saying – get your personal and business assets separated and use some type of accounting software to keep track of the funds.
Get a Business License
You will need to get a business license in New Jersey if you are planning on having any type of physical presence in the state. This includes things like selling goods or services, having an office or retail space, or employing staff.
The process for getting a business license will vary depending on the city or county in which your business is located. You will need to contact your local business licensing office for specific requirements.
In most cases, you will need to fill out a business license application and submit it, along with any required fees, to the licensing office. Once your application has been processed, you will be issued a business license.
You will need to renew your business license on a yearly basis.
File an Annual Report
All LLCs in New Jersey are required to file an annual report with the state. The report must be filed by April 1st of each year.
The annual report is used to update the state on your company’s contact information and registered agent. It also gives you the opportunity to update the state on any changes to your LLC, such as the addition or deletion of members.
The report must be filed online through the New Jersey Business Gateway. There is a $50 filing fee for the report.
If you fail to file your annual report, your LLC will be automatically dissolved.
So there you have it – everything you
Pay Annual Taxes
All LLCs in New Jersey are required to pay an annual tax of $300. The tax is due by April 1st of each year.
The LLC tax is paid to the state Division of Revenue. Payment can be made online, by mail, or in person.
If you fail to pay the annual tax, your LLC will be automatically dissolved.
So there you have it – everything you need to do to start an LLC in New Jersey. Get started on the process today and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Do I need to have a physical presence in New Jersey to form an LLC?
No, you do not need to have a physical presence in New Jersey to form an LLC. You can form an LLC online through the New Jersey Business Gateway.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in New Jersey?
The filing fee for the LLC certificate of formation is $125. There is also a $50 annual report filing fee and a $300 annual tax due.
How long does it take to start an LLC in New Jersey?
The LLC certificate of formation must be filed with the state. Once the certificate is filed, your LLC will be officially formed.
Do I need to have a registered agent in New Jersey?
Yes, all LLCs in New Jersey must have a registered agent. The registered agent must be located in New Jersey and must have a physical street address.
Do I need to file an annual report in New Jersey?
All LLCs in New Jersey must file an annual report. The report is due by April 1st of each year.
What happens if I don’t file my annual report or pay my annual tax?
If you fail to file your annual report or pay your annual tax, your LLC will be automatically dissolved.
Can I form an LLC with just one member?
Yes, you can form an LLC with just one member.
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