Choosing a Registered Agent for your New Jersey LLC
Before filing your Certificate of Formation with the New Jersey Division of Revenue (discussed in the next lesson), you need to choose a Registered Agent for your New Jersey LLC.
What does a Registered Agent do?
A New Jersey Registered Agent is an individual or business entity who agrees to accept legal mail (known as “Service of Process”) on behalf of your Limited Liability Company in case your business gets sued.
The NJ Division of Revenue will also use your Registered Agent’s address as your LLC’s point of contact for official notices sent to your business.
As per Section 42-2C-14 of the New Jersey LLC Act, your LLC’s Registered Agent must have a physical street address located in the state of New Jersey. An NJ Registered Agent address can’t be a PO Box address.
New Jersey Registered Agents must also be generally available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process for an LLC includes the delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and subpoenas.
Note: Companies that specialize in being Registered Agents are sometimes called “Commercial Registered Agents”. These mean the same thing. We’ll primarily use the term “Registered Agent Service” in this guide.
Why does my LLC need a Registered Agent?
Your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component to how the court and legal systems work. By requiring every business entity to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state, the delivery of legal mail and court documents can be tracked and accounted for within the state.
This is similar to how ‘certified mail return receipt’ works. In the legal world, this is how process servers (people delivering legal documents) create a record that something was delivered.
Who can be a Registered Agent in New Jersey?
You have 3 options when forming an LLC in New Jersey:
- You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in New Jersey (are there risks?)
- A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
- You can hire a New Jersey Registered Agent Service.
What’s the best Registered Agent option?
If you have a street address located in New Jersey, are available during normal business hours, and don’t mind your address being on public record, then you can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
If you don’t have a New Jersey street address, but you have a friend or family member who does, they can be your LLC’s Registered Agent. They’ll need to be available during regular business hours and they shouldn’t mind their address being made public record.
If you don’t have a street address in New Jersey (or you’d rather not use it), you can hire a Registered Agent Service in New Jersey.
Registered Agent Information is Public Record in New Jersey
While you do have the option to be your New Jersey LLC’s Registered Agent (or use a friend or family member), you may not want to have your address listed on public records.
The information you enter in your Public Records Filing (Certificate of Formation) becomes public record with the Division of Revenue.
Not only is this information searchable by the public, but other websites download the state’s records and republish them on their website. Then things begin to multiply as other “public record websites” take that same information and list it on their website again (and the process repeats itself).
Pretty soon your address is listed on various websites and people can easily find it by doing a google search.
If you’d like to keep your address off public records, we have a strategy for that.
New Jersey Registered Agent Service
A New Jersey Registered Agent Service specializes in receiving Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your LLC.
How much does a Registered Agent cost in New Jersey?
Most Registered Agent Services in New Jersey cost between $100 and $300 per year.
The Registered Agent Service we recommend in New Jersey is Northwest Registered Agent.
Why we recommend Northwest
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their business address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public records.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in New Jersey start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that your LLC’s Main Business Address (and all addresses listed in your LLC’s Public Records Filing) become a part of public record.
If you want to keep your address off of public records, you can hire a service that will allow you to use their address as your LLC’s address.
The only company that allows this is Northwest Registered Agent. Northwest Registered Agent offers their Registered Agent service for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your entire LLC Filing.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.
Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
Risks of being your own New Jersey Registered Agent
As mentioned above, you can be your own Registered Agent in New Jersey.
Besides the address privacy we mentioned, are there any risks to being your own Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not extremely likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection and the NJ Division of Revenue has the power to administratively shut down your New Jersey LLC if you’re not in compliance with state laws.
This can happen if you don’t always keep a Registered Agent on file, or if the Division of Revenue is unsuccessful in reaching your New Jersey Registered Agent.
Additionally, if a process server (a person who serves court documents and notices of lawsuits) is unsuccessful in reaching your New Jersey Registered Agent (or is unsuccessful in serving your LLC through the Division of Revenue), a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could enter a default judgment against your LLC if you aren’t there to defend yourself.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- You, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
- You/they are on vacation or out of town
- You/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state
New Jersey Registered Agent FAQs
Does New Jersey require a Registered Agent?
Yes, the NJ Division of Revenue requires every LLC to designate and keep a Registered Agent as long as the LLC is active.
Can the business owner be the Registered Agent for a company in New Jersey?
Yes, you can be your New Jersey LLC’s Registered Agent, as long as you have a street address located in the state.
Can I use a PO Box for my LLC in NJ?
No, you can’t use a PO Box for your LLC’s Principal Office address in NJ. The Principal Office address is the main address for your New Jersey business. This must be a physical address, but it can be in any state or an international address.
You also can’t use a PO Box for your LLC’s Registered Agent address. This must be a physical address and it must be located in New Jersey.
How do I find a Registered Agent cost in New Jersey?
The cost of New Jersey Registered Agents range from $100 to $300 per year if you hire a Registered Agent Service.
While you can google various different Registered Agents and check on their pricing, here is a list of some of the most popular Registered Agent Services and their fees:
- Northwest Registered Agent is $125 per year
- Our #1 recommendation for privacy
- ZenBusiness is $199 per year
- MyCompanyWorks is $99 per year
- Harbor Compliance is $99 per year
- IncFile is $119 per year
- Rocket Lawyer is $150 per year
- LegalZoom is $299 per year
To learn more about how these companies compare against each other, check out Best Registered Agent Services in New Jersey.
Note: If you want to save money, you can also be your own Registered Agent in New Jersey.
How do I remove a Registered Agent from my LLC in NJ?
You can remove a Registered Agent from your LLC in NJ by filing a Certificate of Change of Registered Agent.
Filing this form costs $25.
However, you can’t remove a Registered Agent’s name without designating a new one. You must always keep a Registered Agent on file with the NJ Division of Revenue in order to keep your LLC in good standing with the state.
If you hire Northwest as your new Registered Agent service, they’ll file the Certificate of Change paperwork for you and pay the state filing fee.
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NJ LLC Act: 42-2C-14, 42-2C-15, 42-2C-16, and 42-2C-17
NJ Division of Revenue: Change Registered Agent/Office
NJ Division of Revenue: Annual Reports and Change Services
NJ Division of Revenue: L-122 Certificate of Change of Registered Agent/Address or Both
NJ Division of Revenue: L-121 Certification of Resignation of Agent/Appointment of New Agent
NJ Division of Revenue: L-123 Certification of Resignation of Registered Agent Without Successor