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.
A New Jersey Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail (known as “service of process”) on behalf of your New Jersey LLC 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. A New Jersey Registered Agent address can’t be a PO Box address.
Your NJ Registered Agent must also be available (generally speaking) 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.
Your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component to how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all New Jersey LLCs 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.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
Can I be my own Registered Agent 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.
However, you actually have 3 options when forming an LLC in New Jersey:
Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in New Jersey (are there risks?)
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a New Jersey Registered Agent Service.
Note: The terms “Registered Agent Service” and “Commercial Registered Agent” mean the same thing. We will use them interchangeably.
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.
There is a solution though if you’d like to keep your address off public records. We’ll discuss this below.
What’s the best Registered Agent option to choose?
Option #1 (You):
If you have a street address located in New Jersey, are available during business hours, and don’t mind your address being on public records, then you can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option #2 (Friend or Family):
If you don’t have a street address located in New Jersey, 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 business hours and they shouldn’t mind having their address being listed on public records.
Option #3 (Registered Agent Service):
If you don’t have a street address in New Jersey (or you’d rather not use it for this purpose), you can hire a Registered Agent Service in New Jersey.
New Jersey Registered Agent Service
A New Jersey Registered Agent Service specializes in receiving Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your LLC.
Most Registered Agent Services in New Jersey cost between $100 and $300 per year.
The Registered Agent Company we recommend in New Jersey is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
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 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 Registered Agent 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 Registered Agent services 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 Registered Agent in New Jersey
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 “continuously maintain” (always have) a Registered Agent on file, or if the Division is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s 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 New Jersey 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
Next Step: Public Records Filing/Certificate of Formation
Once you determine who will serve as your New Jersey LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next lesson: New Jersey LLC Formation & Registration.
If you plan on hiring a New Jersey Registered Agent Service (a Commercial Registered Agent), please do so before going to the next step. You’ll need their address for your Public Records Filing/Certificate of Formation.
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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