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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses.  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.

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 can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own.  That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more.  There are companies like IncFile or ZenBusiness and others that do all of this for as little as $49.

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.

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”.

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 Registered 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.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

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 existance, 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.

That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in New Jersey.  Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing.  If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or ZenBusiness to make sure everything is done correctly.

Wrapping Up

While the LLC is formed, be sure to register with the New Jersey Division of Taxation.  More information is on how to do that is on our guide for Registering for Licenses and Permits in New Jersey.

After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account.  There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get.  See how to apply for an EIN.

While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases.  An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC.  Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.

Last, before starting a business in New Jersey, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in New Jersey.  See the Guide to Starting a Business in New Jersey for more information.

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