In New Jersey, any business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a Trade Name. Learn more about what a Trade Name is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a Trade Name?
A Trade Name, often referred to as a DBA or “Doing Business As”, Trade Name, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a business, that is different from the legal name of the business.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of New Jersey, like most states, require the business to register their business name. The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.
Who needs to register?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA.
The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, 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.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for a DBA 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.
DBA Registration Forms
Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships – 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.
Corporations & Limited Liability Companies – The Registration of Alternate Name form (C-150-G) is available from the New Jersey Department of Treasury website.
How much does it cost to register?
The filing fee to register a business name in New Jersey is $50.
Names have to be renewed every five years.
What are the steps to file a DBA in New Jersey?
Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships
Step 1 – Obtain the Certificate of Trade Name Form
Obtain the form from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
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 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 and LLCs
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 Department of Treasury’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
Information requested on the form includes:
- Type of Business Entity
- Current legal name of business
- Department of Treasury 10-digit ID number
- Date of formation
- Alternate name being requested
- Purpose of the business
Step 3 – Submit the Form
Mail form to:
NJ Division of Revenue
PO Box 308
Trenton, NJ 08646
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.
Protecting your business name
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that same name in other places. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark – See how to protect your name through a trademark.