New Jersey Business License Requirements for an LLC

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A New Jersey business license gives your Limited Liability Company (LLC) permission to operate in a certain location or within a specific industry.

We can’t walk you through any applicable license applications step-by-step, because every business is unique. But we do provide helpful resources like:

  • information about state licensing rules
  • instructions for researching municipal licenses

And if you want to just hire a company to do the research for you, we have a recommendation below.

New Jersey Business License Requirements

Business License

After you form a New Jersey LLC, you may need to obtain a business license or permit.

Your requirements are determined by the industry you are in and where your New Jersey Limited Liability Company is located.

Because of the large number of industries and all of the municipalities in New Jersey, it’s not possible for us to explain them all. However, you can use the search tools below, call your local municipality, or hire a company for help.

Need to save time? We recommend hiring MyCompanyWorks (for $99) to handle the business license research for you.

How to get a Business License in New Jersey

You can obtain a business license in New Jersey by applying with the relevant licensing or regulatory agency. The agency you apply with will depend on where your business is located and what business activities it engages in.

The business license application typically requires basic information, such as your LLC name, EIN Number, business address, and contact information. Many also include a questionnaire that asks about your business activity.

There are three main licensing jurisdictions:

  • State licensing
  • Local licensing, such as county, city, township, etc.
  • Federal licensing

Does New Jersey Require a Business License?

That depends on where your business is located, and what it does.

There are two types of state-level business licenses:

  • a general business license
  • and an occupational license

New Jersey General Business License

Some states have a general license requirement, which means all businesses operating in those states must have the license, regardless of what they do.

But good news: New Jersey doesn’t require a general license to do business in the state.

Meaning, your New Jersey LLC doesn’t need a general state business license. But depending on what type of business you run, your LLC might need an occupational license (aka “industry-specific” license).

New Jersey Occupational License

Most states have occupational business license requirements. This means a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does or what your occupation is. For example, if you sell used cars, or run a hair salon, you may need an occupational business license. But a license may not be required for other types of businesses.

The Business.NJ.gov Licensing & Certification Guide page has a list of different occupational licenses and permits, and which agency to contact about applying for the license.

You can also use the Business.NJ.gov Navigator to find potential licenses for your LLC. This interactive tool asks questions about your business and provides you a list of agencies and boards to contact about licensing.

You can also contact the Business.NJ.gov team with questions.

Note: New Jersey business licenses are not issued by the Department of State. The Department of State is responsible for business entity administration, for example Limited Liability Company formation.

You can also look at these specific departments’ list of licenses and permits:

How much is a New Jersey Business License?

New Jersey doesn’t have a general business license at the state level, so there are no fees there.

However, your business may need a state-level occupational license or municipal-level license or permit to operate. The filing fee for these licenses will vary depending on where you’re doing business and what industry you’re in. To be honest, we can’t predict your specific New Jersey business license cost.

For example, licenses issued by a county that contains a large city are usually more expensive than licenses in less populated, rural counties. And licenses for regulated industries, like child care facilities, are usually more expensive than generic business licenses.

But your LLC might not need a license or permit at all. So your New Jersey business license cost could be $0.

See LLC Cost in New Jersey to learn about all the possible LLC fees.

Municipal Business License

Municipal business licenses can be issued by the city, town, county, parish, township, borough, etc. We refer to all of these as a “municipality” to keep things simple.

There are two types of municipal business licenses:

  • general business license
  • industry-specific license

For example, if a municipality has a general business license requirement, all businesses operating in that municipality must have the license, regardless of what they do.

And if a municipality has industry-specific business licenses, a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does. For example, if you operate a food truck, or run a daycare, you may need an industry-specific municipal business license. Or if you’re purchasing or leasing real estate, you may need a zoning permit.

But a license may not be required for other types of businesses, like making wedding invitation templates or offering marketing consulting.

You can contact your municipality to check on their local licensing requirements: County and Municipal Websites.

New Jersey Sales Tax License

If you sell products to consumers in New Jersey, you may need to collect sales tax and file a Sales and Use Tax Return.

If your business activities are subject to sales and use tax, your LLC must register with the Department of Revenue. The sales tax license in New Jersey is called a “Sales Tax Certificate of Authority”.

Note: This requirement will apply whether you sell products online or in a physical location in New Jersey. Read the rules for Sales and Use Tax for Remote Sellers

When you file your required New Jersey LLC Registration, you can register for a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority license at the same time.

For additional information about the Sales Tax License, see these resources from the New Jersey Department of Revenue:

Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using TaxJar. They'll help you register for, collect, and pay sales tax.

Do I need any federal business licenses?

Most businesses in New Jersey don’t need a federal business license. However, certain industries do need federal licenses:

If your business…Contact this agency about business licenses
Transports animals, plants or biotechnology over state linesDepartment of Agriculture
Imports or exports animal products, wildlife, or products derived from wildlife (including fish)Fish and Wildlife Service
Fishes commerciallyFish and Wildlife Service
Broadcasts on radio or TVFederal Communications Commission
Makes alcohol and sells it at a retail storeTobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Makes or sells firearms, ammunition or explosivesBureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives
Transports cargo by seaFederal Maritime Commission
Transports goods or people by airFederal Aviation Administration

Check out the Small Business Administration’s Licenses and Permits page for a full list of industries with federal license requirements.

If your business isn’t one of these special cases, then the only federal requirements are that your LLC get a New Jersey EIN Number (aka Federal Employer Identification Number) and that you file taxes.

New Jersey Business License FAQs

How much does a business license cost in New Jersey?

New Jersey doesn’t have a general business license for LLCs, so there are no fees there.

If your business has to get an occupational license or municipal (city or county) permit, the fees are hard to predict. Depending on your LLC’s location, and what type of business or industry you’re in, the fee varies.

And you might not need a business license at all!

Unfortunately, we can’t say what your LLC’s business license costs would be, because it depends on several factors and the cost of New Jersey licenses varies.

Is an LLC considered a business license?

No, an LLC is not a business license. They are two completely different things.

An LLC is a type of business structure created by filing a document with the state government.

And a business license is a document that gives a person, or a company, the right to transact business. It doesn’t create an LLC.

Does a Sole Proprietor need a business license in New Jersey?

Sometimes a new business owner chooses to operate as a Sole Proprietorship in New Jersey instead of an LLC.

Even if you’re just trying out a business idea as a Sole Proprietorship, you may still be subject to license requirements at the state and municipal levels. It just depends on what you will be doing, and where you will be operating your business.

Does the New Jersey Department of State provide a business license?

No, the New Jersey Department of State doesn’t handle licensing requirements. Instead, they manage business entity formation and registration. For example, depending on business entity type, business owners file different paperwork with the Department of State to create their business entity.

For more information, or to determine if there is a New Jersey business license cost for your business, we recommend contacting the relevant agency or board, and/or your local government agency. For example, your local county or city government will have information about any local licenses.

How to start an LLC in New Jersey

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in New Jersey:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your New Jersey Registered Agent
  3. File the New Jersey LLC Certificate of Formation
  4. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  5. File the New Jersey LLC Registration with the Division of Taxation
  6. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  7. Research business license requirements
  8. Open an LLC bank account

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

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