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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in New Jersey The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in New Jersey without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC in New Jersey is fairly straightforward, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

Related: Should you use a Formation Service, Hire an Attorney or Do it Yourself?

To form a Limited Liability Company in New Jersey, file the New Business Entity Form with the New Jersey Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services.  The LLC filing fee is $125.

Approval for the LLC typically takes less than 1-hour.

If you have questions, contact the New Jersey Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services.
609-292-9292

HOW TO FILE THE CERTIFICATE OF FORMATION AND FORM A NEW JERSEY LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show how to file online.

How to Form an LLC in New Jersey

Step 1: Business Name Search

First, select the type of business you would like to form from the drop-down menu.  If it is an LLC, select “NJ Domestic Limited Liability Company”.

Next, enter the name you want for the LLC.  The name of the LLC has to differ from other business entity names registered with the state.  You can check for available New Jersey LLC names before filing to be sure the one you want is available or enter your name.  Otherwise, enter the name you want to use and if it is available, you will be able to continue to the next screen.

You will not use a designator during the search, but if your name is available you will be able to pick one on the next screen.  A designator at the end of the business name to indicate what type of business entity it is such as LLC, Corporation, etc.

Before settling on a name, you may want to see if a domain name is also available in order to match your business name and website address.

NJ LLC Business Name Registration

 

Step 2: Select a Business Designator

If the name you wanted is available, select the designator for your LLC.  Available designators include:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Ltc. Liability Co.
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.

NJ LLC Select a Business Designator

Step 3: Business Information

Employer Identification Number – This is optional but you can enter the EIN of the LLC here.  If you don’t have an EIN, a link is available to the IRS to file one.  See our guide on filing an LLC EIN.

NAICS Code – This section is also optoinal and is asking for information regarding the activities of the business.  To do that, there is a number called NAICS (North American Industry Grouping Code).  This code is a six-digit number that classifies and categorize the different businesses.  This information is used in reporting statistical data for each of the industries in the U.S.  Remember this number as you will need it when filing annual tax returns.  Find your NAICS number here.

If the activities of your business aren’t specifically listed, choose one that is close.

Duration – If you intend the business to exist forever, which most businesses do enter “Perpetual” or leave blank as by default all LLCs are set up with a perpetual duration.  If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses) choose a dissolution date.

Effective Date – If you want the LLC to start on today’s date, leave today’s date in the box.  Otherwise, choose a date in the future that you want the LLC to start. The main reason for delaying the LLC start date is when the filer is close to the end of a calendar year and the business isn’t going to have any activity.  By delaying until the following year they will reduce the number of end of year filings.

New Jersey LLC Business Information

Step 4: Business Purpose

Provide some basic information about what the business does.  If you want to keep the business purpose more open-ended, you can just have “Any lawful business activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in New Jersey”.

Related: How to Answer the Business Purpose Statement.

NJ LLC Business Purpose

Step 5: Main Business Address

In this section, enter the street address, city, state and zip code of the initial principal office in order to receive mail from the state.  This address can be the physical address of the LLC or it can be the address where the business records are stored.  The address does not have to be located in New Jersey but you may not use a PO Box.

 

Step 6: Registered Agent

New Jersey Registered Agent must be identified before forming the LLC.  The Registered Agent can either be a resident of New Jersey (Click “Enter a Registered Agent/Office”) or a Resident Agent service (Enter the Registered Agent Number in the field).  The agent must have a physical address in the state (PO Boxes are not allowed) and act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.

Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.

New Jersey Registered Agent

Step 7: Members / Managers

Enter the names of up to 10 Members and Managers.  In this instance, a Manager is not necessarily what one would think of as a manager is sometimes thought of someone managing a retail store for example.

Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the management of the LLC.
Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Related: What is the Difference Between a Member-Managed LLC and Manager Managed LLC?

At least the name and address of one member or manager must be entered.

NJ Manager Member-Managed LLC

 

Step 8: Other Provisions / Additional Information

This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs.  Here you would include additional rules for the operation of the LLC.

One provision that is listed is the duration, just as was asked in Step 3.  If the LLC will have a perpetual existence, leave the field blank.  Otherwise enter the date the LLC will dissolve.

NJ LLC Other Provisions

 

Step 9: Signatures

Have an authorized representative forming the LLC to sign indicating the acceptance of the certificate and the intent to formally execute the filing.  At least one person has to sign, but no more than 10.  Signatures can come from members, managers, or people helping with the LLC formation.  Click the “Continue” button to save the information and proceed.

New Jersey LLC SIgnature

Step 10: Review

Review that all of the information is correct.  If there are no corrections, click “Continue”

Step 11: Additional Certificates and Certified Copies

This is optional, but if you would like to order a Certificate of Standing ($50) or a certified copy of the Certificate of Formation ($25) indicate by clicking on the boxes.  These can both be ordered at a later date if needed.

Step 12: Contact Information

Enter a name and phone number contact should there be any issues with the LLC filing.

Step 13: Pay and File

After payment, the LLC is immediately approved, but the Certificate of Formation will take several minutes before it is ready to download.

Tasks After Forming Your LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare an Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed and more.

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished
  • Members may not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities which could lead to costly disputes in the future

Related: New Jersey operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.  

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more. 

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, a  New Jersey Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC 

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – All business must register with the State within 15 days of starting.   In addition to the state business license, some cities also require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate. 
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons and others must be licensed.
  • Business Registration – In order to sell products and certain services, registration with the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in New Jersey?

File Annual Reports

LLCs are required to file an annual report with the New Jersey Department of Treasury.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a New Jersey LLC Annual Report