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Are you eager to establish your business in the Garden State? Register a business name in New Jersey is a crucial step to ensure legal compliance and build brand recognition. From LLCs to corporations and DBAs, New Jersey offers various options to suit your business structure. Our guide will take you through the process seamlessly.
To streamline the registration process and focus on your business goals, consider leveraging ZenBusiness – a reliable partner with expertise in business registrations. Let’s embark on your entrepreneurial journey in the great state of New Jersey!
4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in New Jersey
Registering your business name in New Jersey is a crucial step toward establishing your entrepreneurial presence in the state. To help you through this process, here are four simple steps to get your business name officially registered in New Jersey:
Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in New Jersey
Selecting the right business structure is a crucial step when registering your business name in New Jersey. The choice will depend on your business’s nature and your growth aspirations. In New Jersey, there are several options available for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses.
Let’s explore each of these options and understand their functionalities to help you make an informed decision.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in New Jersey, where the owner and the business are considered one entity in the eyes of the law. As a result, the owner assumes personal liability for the business’s debts and obligations. Establishing a sole proprietorship is straightforward, involving minimal legal and administrative requirements. While registration with the state isn’t mandatory for a sole proprietorship in New Jersey, you may need to obtain local permits or licenses.
A general partnership involves a business owned by two or more individuals who share both profits and losses. Each partner carries personal liability for the business’s debts and legal obligations. In New Jersey, you’re not obligated to register a general partnership with the state. However, you may need to file a “New Jersey Assumed Name Certificate” (DBA) in the county where your business is located.
Limited Partnership (LP)
A limited partnership in New Jersey consists of one or more general partners responsible for managing the business and having unlimited personal liability, along with one or more limited partners who contribute capital but have limited liability. To establish an LP in New Jersey, you must file a “Certificate of Formation” with the New Jersey Secretary of State.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC provides a flexible business structure that combines liability protection similar to a corporation with the tax benefits and simplicity of a partnership. To form an LLC in New Jersey, you need to file a “Certificate of Formation Limited Liability Company” with the New Jersey Secretary of State and create an Operating Agreement to outline the company’s management and ownership structure.
A corporation is a distinct legal entity from its shareholders, offering limited liability protection. In New Jersey, there are two types of corporations: C-corporations and S-corporations. To establish a corporation in New Jersey, you must file either a “Certificate of Formation For-Profit Corporation” or a “Certificate of Formation Nonprofit Corporation” with the New Jersey Secretary of State, depending on your business type. Corporations involve additional formalities, such as creating bylaws, issuing stock, and conducting regular board and shareholder meetings.
Choose the business structure in New Jersey that aligns best with your requirements in terms of liability protection, taxation, and management demands. If necessary, consult legal or business professionals for guidance to ensure you make the right choice for your business’s success.
Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in New Jersey
When it comes to registering your business name in New Jersey, choosing the right name is crucial. To ensure professionalism, uniqueness, and legal compliance, you have several options at your disposal:
Legal Entity Name
New Jersey requires businesses to register a unique legal entity name. This name serves as the official identifier recognized by the state, making your business distinct and minimizing the chance of others using the same name. Remember to follow naming guidelines, including appropriate suffixes (e.g., LLC, LP, or Corp) and reflecting the nature of your business. You can verify name availability through the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.
Securing a trademark provides legal protection for your business name or logo at the national level. Conduct a thorough trademark search within the USPTO database to ensure your chosen name or logo isn’t already registered. A successful trademark registration grants exclusive rights and prevents others from using a similar name or logo for similar goods or services.
Doing Business As (DBA)
Operating under a distinct name while maintaining a legal name is another option in New Jersey. This is known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To establish a DBA, file a Certificate of Trade Name with the county clerk’s office in your business’s location. While DBAs are subject to federal trademark laws, uniqueness at the state level isn’t a requirement.
By understanding these naming options, you can effectively register your business name in New Jersey while ensuring legal compliance and protecting your brand identity. Research the specific requirements to make the best decision for your business.
Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in New Jersey
Before registering your business, it’s crucial to check if the desired name is already in use. To ensure this, follow three essential steps for a thorough name availability search:
Begin by conducting a federal trademark search to ensure your chosen business name isn’t already trademarked. Federal trademarks take precedence over state-level registrations, so it’s essential to confirm your name isn’t already protected. For this search, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and utilize the TESS Search tool.
New Jersey Business Name Search
Once you’ve confirmed that your name isn’t trademarked, proceed to check its availability at the state level in New Jersey. Use the New Jersey Business Entity Name Search tool to search for registered business names in the state. During this search, check for not only exact matches but also any significantly similar business names.
Website Domain Search
In addition to ensuring that your business name is available for use in New Jersey and not trademarked, it’s a good idea to check the availability of the .com domain version of your name. While not every business may need a website, securing the .com domain can be beneficial for future online presence.
Register the .com version of your business name with ZenBusiness, ensuring exclusive use and protecting your brand from others.
By following these three steps, you can be confident that your business name is available and ready for registration in New Jersey.
Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of New Jersey
Once you’ve decided on your business structure and name, the next step is to officially form your business by registering it with the State of New Jersey.
For a New Jersey LLC, you’ll need to submit the Articles of Organization to the New Jersey Division of Revenue. This can be done through an online application, by mail, or in person. If you’re forming a New Jersey corporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the same division.
You May Also Want to Know
Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark
After confirming the availability of your business name and securing it, you may choose to apply for a trademark. While this step isn’t mandatory, it can offer nationwide protection for your brand under federal law. Trademarks can be obtained by paying a fee, typically ranging from $225 to $400, plus any associated attorney fees. It’s worth noting that trademarks need to be renewed every 10 years.
How to File a New Jersey Fictitious Name – DBA?
To file a New Jersey Fictitious Name (DBA), follow these steps:
- Choose a Fictitious Name: Select the desired name for your business that’s different from its legal name
- Verify Name Availability: Check if the chosen name is available by conducting a business name search on the New Jersey Division of Revenue website
- Download the Form: Obtain the “Trade Name Certificate” form from the New Jersey Division of Revenue website
- Complete the Form: Fill out the required information on the form, including your business name, address, and the chosen fictitious name
- Notarize the Form: Have the completed form notarized by a notary public
- Submit the Form: Mail the notarized form along with the filing fee (as of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, the fee was $50) to the address provided on form
- Processing: The New Jersey Division of Revenue will process your application, and once approved, you will receive a Trade Name Certificate
- Display the Certificate: Display the Trade Name Certificate at your place of business to operate legally under the chosen fictitious name
How to Change the Name of a New Jersey Business?
If you need to change the name of your business in New Jersey, you have two options:
- Filing for an Alternate Name (DBA name): This is the simplest way to operate your business under a different name without altering its legal name. It’s suitable for sole proprietorships, general partnerships, LLCs, and corporations. By using a DBA name, you can avoid the need to amend your legal documents and continue operating under a brand name without the necessary suffixes (e.g., LLC or Inc.) in the legal name.
- Submitting an Amendment to the Legal Name: If you wish to officially change the legal name of your LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file an amendment with the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. This method requires the completion of specific forms and entails a statutory fee of $100 for LLCs or $75 for corporations.
Both options can be completed via mail or online submission to the relevant state division. Choose the method that best suits your business needs and follow the necessary steps for a successful name change.
Business Name Registration Laws in New Jersey
The laws and regulations related to business name registration in New Jersey are as follows:
- Business Entity Name Availability Search: Before registering a business name in New Jersey, it’s essential to conduct a name availability search to ensure that the chosen name isn’t already in use by another business. This search can be performed on the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services (DORES) website.
- Business Entity Formation: Businesses in New Jersey can choose from various business entity types, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each entity type has its own registration requirements and legal implications.
- Trade Name Registration: If a business operates under a name different from the owner’s legal name (for sole proprietorships) or the registered business name (for entities like LLCs or corporations), it needs to register a trade name (also known as a “Doing Business As” or DBA name) with the county clerk’s office where the business is located.
- Online Business Registration: Most business registrations in New Jersey can be done online through the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services’ website.
- Federal Trademark Registration: While business name registration at the state level protects your business name within the state’s borders, if you want broader protection, especially if you plan to expand beyond New Jersey, you may consider registering your business name as a federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Please note that laws and regulations may change over time, so it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date information from official sources or consult with a legal professional or the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services for the latest guidance on business name registration in the state.
Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in New Jersey
In conclusion, registering a business name in New Jersey marks the beginning of a rewarding entrepreneurial journey in the Garden State. By diligently selecting a unique business structure and name, fulfilling all required registrations with the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, and exploring potential trademark protection or DBA options, you establish a strong foundation for success.
Embracing the assistance and guidance of LLC services like ZenBusiness streamlines the registration process, making your foray into New Jersey’s diverse business environment even more seamless. With passion and dedication, your registered business name is poised to leave a positive impact on the bustling landscape of the Garden State.
How to register a business name in every US state: