How to File a DBA in New Jersey
In New Jersey, any business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a Trade Name or Alternate Name. Learn more about what a Trade Name and Alternate Name are, who needs one and how to register.
What is a Trade Name?
A Trade Name and Alternate Name are often referred to as a DBA or “Doing Business As” in New Jersey, and the distinction between the two is that certain business structures will register for one and not the other. A DBA can also be referred to as an Assumed Name or a Fictitious Name.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of New Jersey, like most states, requires the business to register its business name. The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.
In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank account, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.
Who needs to register?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name and Alternate Name vary depending on the type of business structure.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a Trade Name.
The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the full legal name of the owner, which can be used without registering. For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register. If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, then he will need to register for a Trade Name.
Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Limited Partnerships won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for an Alternate Name if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.
How much does it cost to register a DBA in New Jersey?
The state filing fee to register a business name in New Jersey is $50.
Names are effective for five years and may be renewed in five-year periods
What are the steps to file a DBA in New Jersey?
Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships
Step 1: Obtain the Certificate of Trade Name Form
Businesses needing a Certificate of Trade Name will obtain a form from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. Several Clerks have the form online, and all will have them available to pick up.
Step 2: Verify the Name is Available
Each Trade Name has to be unique from other business names in the county where the name is being registered. Several counties have the name search available online, or they can be searched by reviewing the Trade Name book at the Clerk’s office.
Step 3: Fill out the Trade Name Form
Information requested on the form includes:
- Fictitious Name
- Business Address
- What the business does
- Name of the owners
Step 4: Notarize the Form
Before filing the form, be sure to have it notarized. Most County Clerk’s offices have a notary service available at no cost.
Step 5: File the Form
Upon filing the form, the business owner will get a Trade Name Certificate.
Corporations, LLCs, and LPs
Step 1: Verify Name Availability
Every name registration must be unique to other businesses on the and not too similar to other names on record. Before filling out the form, visit the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Service’s Business Entity Database to see if the name you want is available.
Here is more information on how to do a name search in New Jersey.
Step 2: Fill out the Form
The Registration of Alternate Name form (C-150-G) is available from the New Jersey Department of Treasury website.
Information requested on the form includes:
- Type of Business Entity
- Current legal name of the business
- Department of Treasury 10-digit ID number
- Date of formation
- The alternate name being requested
- Purpose of the business
Step 3: Submit the New Jersey Alternate Name Form
The form can be filed online, in person, by mail, or by fax to:
The address to send by mail is:
NJ Division of Revenue
PO Box 308
Trenton, NJ 08646
The address to deliver in person is:
NJ Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services,
33 West State Street, 5th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608
The fax number is: 609-984-6851
Are there any naming restrictions when filing a New Jersey DBA?
DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banks, including bank, banker, and banking, unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Names should also not include wording that is similar to any government agency such as FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.
Other words that need approval before using include blind, cemetery, citius, con-con, dba, e-com, express mail, handicapped, little league, mail, Olympic, Olympus, Olympia, Olympian, Olympiad, Altius Fortius, realtor, trust, United States, urban renewal insurance, zip code, and USPS.
Can someone steal my business name after registering a New Jersey DBA?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in New Jersey, it does very little to stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states.
If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).
Learn more about trademarking a business name.
Do you need to register a DBA in NJ?
Any New Jersey sole proprietorship or partnership that wants to do business under a name that is different from the owner’s full name or a New Jersey corporation or LLC that wants to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the business is required to register the name.
Is an Alternate Name the same as a DBA?
Alternate Name is essentially a DBA for New Jersey corporations and LLCs. Sole proprietorships and partnerships file a Trade Name for their DBA.
Does a Trade Name need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.
Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.