The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in New Jersey is to verify the business name is available to use. Each business entity that is registered with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the state’s Business Entity Database.
How to do a New Jersey Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Step 2: Search your Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Sew What” and then click “Search.”
Step 3: Review the Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Sew What.” To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in New Jersey, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, a warning is displayed stating that the name you chose may conflict with other names on file. If you feel your name is different, you will have to contact the Department of the Treasury for a manual review.
While the name “Sew What” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Sew What Quilting” or “Sew What Seamstress” is. Searching for those business names brings a result that says “Available!”. While final approval is still with the Department of the Treasury, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in New Jersey. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Department of the Treasury will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Active Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Inactive Voluntary Dissolution, Inactive Revocation,” “Cancelled,” among others. The names of these results may be available to register.
- Principal Address – This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal, or tax notice needs to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t listed.
- Date the entity was filed with the
Department of the Treasury
- Names of the officers and their title
How to Register a Trade Name for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
The Department of the Treasury’s Business Entity Database provides information on corporations and LLCs registered in New Jersey. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
A Certificate of Trade Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Name, is a name used by a sole proprietorship or partnership and is different from the owner’s legal name.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in New Jersey?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file an Application for Name Reservation. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days, at the cost of $50.
How do I form an LLC in New Jersey?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a New Jersey LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in New Jersey, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
Also, be sure to check for New Jersey business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.