How to Start an LLC in New Jersey and Take Advantage of Big Tax Benefits, Step By Step

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The State of New Jersey has its own online walkthrough platform, business navigator, to help residents form a Limited Liability Company with ease.
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Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
From $0, plus government filing fees
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Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
From $49, plus government filing fees
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Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
From $79, plus government filing fees
Jump to details
Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
From $100, plus government filing fees
Jump to details

Creating an LLC in New Jersey is the first step toward bringing your entrepreneurial visions to life, and doing it online can take less than 24 hours.

“My overall experience with starting an LLC in New Jersey was fast and simple,”says Cheneral Freeman, founder of Muscles & Mane, a New Jersey-based e-commerce company. “However, if you plan to start an LLC without an attorney, researching and navigating through the online tools to begin a business can be time consuming.” You can file for a New Jersey LLC yourself, hire a lawyer to help you, or use a third-party service to walk you through the process.

Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness
Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $0, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

When you’ve helped launch over 300,000 businesses, you know you’re doing something right.

ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), a type of corporation that generates services that contribute to the public good, and agrees to operate sustainably and responsibly. The Austin-based company is also a unicorn, last valued at $1.7 billion in November 2021. ZenBusiness’ website includes recommended resources for women and BIPOC business owners, along with clear statements on diversity, equity, and inclusion. ZenBusiness also has an “excellent” rating on TrustPilot, based on the average of the over 10,000 reviews it has received from customers.

Most notably, however, the company’s Starter package will let you file the essentials for free, plus the cost of state filing fees.

Starter package

  • Standard filing service: ZenBusiness team will file and return your completed documents with the state.
  • Standard filing speed: ZenBusiness will process and return the completed state documents, based on when the order is received, as well as the backlog the state is working through at that time. This can range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the state.
  • Expense and deduction tracking: Each Starter package includes a free Money Essential tool that allows customers to easily track expenses and tax deductions for improved accounting and easier tax return preparation.
Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings
Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $49, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

Swyft Filings has helped over 250,000 business owners in all 50 states with filings since its inception in 2015. Founded by a lawyer, the company’s services assist with LLC formation, DBAs, registered agents, and S corporation elections. They also work with new and established nonprofits. Continued support or professional guidance is available after you file if you want a helping hand.

The company is focused on business filings only, and does not offer personal legal counseling. Swyft Filings has a 4.8/5 rating from over 5,300 reviews on Trustpilot, a reviews aggregator service. The company has formation-specific FAQ sections, live chat, and a toll-free phone number you can call if you want to speak to someone personally. As its name suggests, Swyft Filings’ website is lightning fast and easy to navigate.

Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
LegalZoom
Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $79, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

LegalZoom helps you set up an LLC in your state quickly, easily, and entirely online. An LLC is needed for important business functions, such as opening a business bank account. Different states have different business formation requirements; LegalZoom customizes the process for you based on what state you live in, and the company helped consumers form 447,000 businesses in 2021, according to a press release.

Mistakes can be made when trying to form an LLC by yourself, and business formation professionals can be expensive. If you want a cost-effective and convenient way to create your LLC (and keep more of the money you make from your side hustle or business when tax time rolls around), LegalZoom is a great option.

Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent
Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $100, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

Northwest Registered Agent became popular for its $39 LLC formation service, which it offered in its early years. It’s also well known for its commitment to customer service; the company’s tagline is “We’re just not annoying”, and the website manifesto outlines the family-owned business’ commitment to communication and transparency. Northwest Registered Agent’s website makes checkout very simple, and it automatically directs you to state-specific filing details, making it easy to customize your order.

A handy feature of Northwest Registered Agent’s checkout process is that you don’t totally need to know everything you might need or want from a filings perspective when you sign up. The guided checkout process explains filings as you go, allowing you to customize your order and ensure you’ve set yourself up for success.

Business formations took off during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have remained high, with New Jersey residents forming over 10,000 new businesses every month since March of 2020, according to reporting from the United States Census. New Jersey is unique in that the Secretary of State’s office has its own business navigator, a set of free enterprise services you can use for step-by-step application guidance. 

Here’s what to know about how to start an LLC in New Jersey.

What Should I Know Before Starting a New Jersey LLC? 

You can register your New Jersey Limited Liability Company (LLC) on your own. However, there are instances where it’s best to consult with an attorney or business structure formation service well-versed in New Jersey LLC laws and filing requirements. 

“If there are several parties involved, I recommend hiring professional help,” says Shantell Thomas, licensed cosmetologist and owner of Shani’s Hair Gallery, a beauty salon in North Plainfield. “But if you’re on your own, you should be able to do everything on your own.” 

Step 1: Name Your New Jersey LLC

You’ll need a name for your new business. It must end with Limited Liability Company or the abbreviations “Co.” or “Ltd.”, per state law. Also, be mindful that select industry-specific terms may require approval from certain state agencies. 

Whether you’ve already come up with the perfect name, or are still brainstorming ideas, check the Business Name Database on the State of New Jersey website to confirm it’s available. You can reserve the name you select for up to 120 days, assuming it’s not already claimed, by submitting an Application for Reservation until you file a certification of formation to legally register the business. The fee to hold a name is $50.

“The process was very simple,” says Thomas. “I navigated to the state website to get started. The business name selection was the first step. Once I did that and [determined that] the name was available, I was prompted to register my LLC.” 

If you’re planning to register your company under a different name than you’ll use when doing business — known as a “Doing Business As” (DBA) — state law requires that you register it. LLC owners can also register your alternate name by mail, fax, or in person at the Trenton location. The trade name registration fee to start an LLC in New Jersey is $50.

“I used the business navigator and it was very easy to do,” says Dawn Ruffin, owner of a Mathnasium franchise in Robbinsville. “As a franchise, we have to have our own LLC. They want to make sure that there are no duplicate names. My last name is Ruffin, so I came with the name “Ruff’n” for my LLC; I didn’t have any problems getting registered.”

Pro Tip

If you have a franchise, you should still form your own LLC. This will give you additional liability protection in the event an incident takes place on your franchise property.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

Next, you’ll need to identify a person or another business entity that currently operates in New Jersey to serve as your limited liability company’s registered agent. The registered agent is the point of contact for official mail or legal notices from the government, and must have a physical address in New Jersey, not a P.O. box.

Related: What Is a Registered Agent?

Step 3: Check if You Need a Business License

Certain industries, such as medicine and law, require additional approval from various New Jersey department agencies. Refer to New Jersey’s Licensing and Certification Guide to determine if your company requires a business license. The site also lists the type of license or certification required by the industry, the state department that regulates the industry, and a phone number you can call for additional information or guidance.

Step 4: File Your LLC Articles of Organization

Also known as your articles of formation, your articles of organization must be filed with the state of New Jersey to make your business official. You can file online or by mail through the New Jersey Division of Revenue.

Here’s what you’ll need to file your articles of organization: 

  • Your LLC’s name, formation date and purpose.
  • Your registered agent’s name, physical address and email address.
  • Your authorized representative’s signature.

If you intend to dissolve your LLC in the future, you’ll also need to include that date in the filing. 

The filing fee is $125, whether you’re a New Jersey resident, or a non-resident applying to operate as a foreign LLC in New Jersey. Online filings are generally approved immediately, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks to receive your certificate of formation if you file by mail.

Step 5: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements for LLCs aren’t required by state law. Still, it’s in your company’s best interest to draft an operating agreement detailing how the LLC will operate and be managed, along with each member’s rights and responsibilities. If you choose not to create an operating agreement, the way your LLC operates will be determined by state law. 

Step 6: Adhere to Federal and State Employer Obligations

Once your LLC is up and running, you’ll need to decide how it will be taxed. You have the option to be taxed as a pass-through entity or a New Jersey corporation. If you choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, each member will report their share of earnings and losses on their personal tax return. But if you opt to be taxed as a corporation, a tax return will be filed on the company’s behalf, with earnings subject to the federal corporate tax rate. 

Another step to consider taking care of now is signing up for an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. An EIN is free to obtain, and it’s required if any of the following apply: 

  • The LLC has more than one owner.
  • The LLC is taxed as an S corporation. 
  • You plan to open a business bank account for the LLC.
  • You plan to apply for financing in the form of loans, lines of credit, or credit cards on behalf of the LLC.

There’s also an annual report filing requirement for New Jersey LLCs. You must file the report each year, which comes with a $75 fee. 

An extra step if you have employees

Federal and state law require that new employee information be submitted to the New Jersey Child Support Employer Services Portal within 20 days of the hire date. You must also withhold federal and state income tax from employee wages and remit unemployment insurance taxes on your payroll once it’s at or above $1,000. Worker’s compensation insurance is also required for LLCs with employees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How much does it cost to start a New Jersey LLC?

It costs $125 to file the articles of organization required to operate an LLC in New Jersey, and $75/year to file your annual report. If you choose to reserve an LLC name beforehand, there is an additional fee of $50. Guided services or working with an outside lawyer will incur an additional cost.

What are the annual fees for a New Jersey LLC?

The annual fee to maintain a New Jersey LLC is $75.

How long does it take to set up a New Jersey LLC, and is it easy?

If you apply online, you can receive your certificate of formation the same day. However, the processing time increases to a few weeks if you file by mail. “It only took me 15 minutes to complete the process from start to finish,” says Thomas.

Do I need a lawyer?

You’re not required to hire a lawyer when starting an LLC in New Jersey. However, it may be in your best interest to do so, as they can help you navigate the filing process to ensure you’re in compliance with state law.

What is an LLC formation service, and is it worth it?

As the name implies, LLC formation services assist with the filing process. They will help you gather the necessary documents needed to register with the Department of Revenue and navigate the filing process from start to finish to ensure your application isn’t rejected.

How do I name my New Jersey LLC?

The name you select must include the term Limited Liability Company or the abbreviations “Co.” or “Ltd.”, per state law. If you plan to use industry-related terms in your business name, you may need approval from select state agencies.

What is a DBA, and do I need one for my New Jersey LLC?

A DBA or “doing business as” name is a term used when a company chooses to operate under a title that differs from its legal name. New Jersey uses the term “alternate name” instead of DBA, and the fee to register an alternate name is $50.

How do I check if my name is available in New Jersey?

Refer to New Jersey’s Business Name Database to check if your name is available or currently in use.

What are Federal LLC Tax requirements?

LLCs can choose to be taxed as pass-through entities or corporations. Pass-through entities do not file returns and pay taxes. Instead, the LLC members remit their share of federal and state taxes on the company’s profits. But the LLC pays federal and state taxes on the company’s income if it’s taxed as a corporation.

Start Your New Jersey LLC Now

New Jersey is one of the only states in the nation that can deliver a same-day certificate of formation. If you’ve been itching to get your side hustle or small business idea off the ground, the time to get your New Jersey LLC up and running is now.

Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
From $0, plus government filing fees
Jump to details
Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
From $49, plus government filing fees
Jump to details
Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
From $79, plus government filing fees
Jump to details
Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
From $100, plus government filing fees
Jump to details
Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness
Best pricing for simple filings
ZenBusiness
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $0, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

When you’ve helped launch over 300,000 businesses, you know you’re doing something right.

ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), a type of corporation that generates services that contribute to the public good, and agrees to operate sustainably and responsibly. The Austin-based company is also a unicorn, last valued at $1.7 billion in November 2021. ZenBusiness’ website includes recommended resources for women and BIPOC business owners, along with clear statements on diversity, equity, and inclusion. ZenBusiness also has an “excellent” rating on TrustPilot, based on the average of the over 10,000 reviews it has received from customers.

Most notably, however, the company’s Starter package will let you file the essentials for free, plus the cost of state filing fees.

Starter package

  • Standard filing service: ZenBusiness team will file and return your completed documents with the state.
  • Standard filing speed: ZenBusiness will process and return the completed state documents, based on when the order is received, as well as the backlog the state is working through at that time. This can range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the state.
  • Expense and deduction tracking: Each Starter package includes a free Money Essential tool that allows customers to easily track expenses and tax deductions for improved accounting and easier tax return preparation.
Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings
Good for Speedy Checkout
Swyft Filings
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $49, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

Swyft Filings has helped over 250,000 business owners in all 50 states with filings since its inception in 2015. Founded by a lawyer, the company’s services assist with LLC formation, DBAs, registered agents, and S corporation elections. They also work with new and established nonprofits. Continued support or professional guidance is available after you file if you want a helping hand.

The company is focused on business filings only, and does not offer personal legal counseling. Swyft Filings has a 4.8/5 rating from over 5,300 reviews on Trustpilot, a reviews aggregator service. The company has formation-specific FAQ sections, live chat, and a toll-free phone number you can call if you want to speak to someone personally. As its name suggests, Swyft Filings’ website is lightning fast and easy to navigate.

Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
LegalZoom
Best for business and personal filings in one place
LegalZoom
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $79, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

LegalZoom helps you set up an LLC in your state quickly, easily, and entirely online. An LLC is needed for important business functions, such as opening a business bank account. Different states have different business formation requirements; LegalZoom customizes the process for you based on what state you live in, and the company helped consumers form 447,000 businesses in 2021, according to a press release.

Mistakes can be made when trying to form an LLC by yourself, and business formation professionals can be expensive. If you want a cost-effective and convenient way to create your LLC (and keep more of the money you make from your side hustle or business when tax time rolls around), LegalZoom is a great option.

Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent
Best for step-by-step guidance
Northwest Registered Agent
Learn More externa link icon
  • Price:
    From $100, plus government filing fees
  • Additional help available:
    Yes
  • State-specific checkout:
    Yes
Overview:

Northwest Registered Agent became popular for its $39 LLC formation service, which it offered in its early years. It’s also well known for its commitment to customer service; the company’s tagline is “We’re just not annoying”, and the website manifesto outlines the family-owned business’ commitment to communication and transparency. Northwest Registered Agent’s website makes checkout very simple, and it automatically directs you to state-specific filing details, making it easy to customize your order.

A handy feature of Northwest Registered Agent’s checkout process is that you don’t totally need to know everything you might need or want from a filings perspective when you sign up. The guided checkout process explains filings as you go, allowing you to customize your order and ensure you’ve set yourself up for success.