Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in New Jersey.
New Jersey LLC Costs:
New Jersey LLC formation: $125
New Jersey LLC annual report: $75 per year
★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom
Searching your New Jersey LLC name
The first step to forming an LLC in New Jersey is to compare your desired LLC name against the names of existing businesses registered in the state of New Jersey and make sure it’s available for use.
(This is known as being “distinguishable upon the records” with the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services)
Additionally, your New Jersey LLC name must follow certain requirements and restrictions in order to comply with state laws, known as the New Jersey Statutes.
If you’re familiar with the process of forming an LLC in New Jersey and just want to jump into the searches, here are the two name search pages made available from the Division of Revenue:
NJ Business Name Search:
NJ Business Name Availability:
However, we recommend reading this entire LLC name lesson first to make sure you don’t make any mistakes when naming your New Jersey LLC.
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
New Jersey LLC Name Requirements & Restrictions
Before doing an LLC name search in New Jersey, there are a few requirements and restrictions you need to know (as per Section 42-2C-8):
Comma in LLC Name
You can file your LLC name with or without a comma. Both are acceptable by the state.
For example: If your desired New Jersey LLC name is “Big John’s Tractors”, you can file it as:
– Big John’s Tractors LLC
– or Big John’s Tractors, LLC
Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are other options in New Jersey.
Your New Jersey LLC Name Must Include the Proper Designator
As per Section 42-2C-8(a), your New Jersey LLC must contain one of the following designators at the end of its name:
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Co.
- Ltd. Liability Company
- Limited Liability Company
For example: If your desired New Jersey LLC name is “Big John’s Tractors”, it must be officially filed as one of the following:
– Big John’s Tractors LLC (or Big John’s Tractors, LLC)
– Big John’s Tractors L.L.C. (or Big John’s Tractors, L.L.C.)
– Big John’s Tractors Ltd. Liability Co. (or Big John’s Tractors, Ltd. Liability Co.)
– Big John’s Tractors Limited Liability Co. (or Big John’s Tractors, Limited Liability Co.)
– Big John’s Tractors Ltd. Liability Company (or Big John’s Tractors, Ltd. Liability Company)
– Big John’s Tractors Limited Liability Company (or Big John’s Tractors, Limited Liability Company)
Tip: If you’re not sure what designator to use, “LLC” is the most common. It’s also the shortest and the easiest to recognize. So using the example above, Big John’s Tractors LLC (or Big John’s Tractors, LLC) would be the most common choice.
New Jersey LLC Name Restrictions
Your New Jersey LLC name cannot imply that it is a Corporation or any other type of business entity besides an LLC.
You cannot use the following words or designators anywhere in your New Jersey LLC name:
- Co. (by itself)
- Company (by itself)
- Ltd. (by itself)
- Professional Association
- Professional Corporation
- Non Profit Corporation
Additionally, as per Section 42-2C-8(c), your New Jersey LLC name cannot contain a word, phrase, abbreviation that is prohibited or restricted by any other state law. Some examples are making your LLC sound like it’s a bank, a part of the government, or anything else that misleads the public.
Some examples are: Police, Fire Department, Federal, Government, United States of America, City, Town, and County.
Other prohibited words are:
- Citius Altius Fortius
- Express Mail
- Little League
- United States Olympic Committee
- Urban Renewal
- Zip Code
Only certain special characters allowed
As per the state’s rules, only the following punctuation, symbols, and special characters are allowed in a New Jersey LLC name:
- period (.)
- comma (,)
- apostrophe (‘)
- hyphen (-)
- ampersand (&)
New Jersey LLC Name Must be Distinguishable
As per Section 42-2C-8(b), your New Jersey LLC name must be distinguishable upon the records of the state.
This means that your LLC name must be unique when compared to existing businesses registered in the New Jersey.
How to search LLC names in New Jersey
There are 2 different Business Name Search tools available in New Jersey, so there are 2 ways to check if your LLC name is distinguishable.
Note: When using both search tools below, don’t include your designator (ex: “LLC”).
Business Name Availability
The 1st name search tool is called Business Name Availability:
This is an “intelligent” search tool, meaning, it determines whether or not an LLC is distinguishable on its own.
Business Name Search
The 2nd name search tool is called the Business Name Search:
This search tool shows all existing companies in New Jersey that may be similar to your desired name and you need to determine whether or not your desired LLC name is distinguishable.
LLC University® recommendation
We recommend using both search tools.
Since the Business Name Availability tool only tells you “yes” or “no” (as to whether your LLC name will pass), it won’t show you other similar business names that already exist.
So without also using the Business Name Search tool, there is a chance you could form an LLC with a name very similar to a competitor’s business (and this could confuse potential customers).
Do I need a Fictitious Name/Alternate Name for my New Jersey LLC?
No, you are not required to register a Fictitious Name (aka Alternate Name) for your New Jersey LLC. You only need to do this if your LLC will operate under a name different from how it was legally filed.
Most LLCs just do business under their filed legal name.
For more information, please see the following article: Do I need a Fictitious Name for my LLC.
Exception to the rule: If you are registering a Foreign LLC (out-of-state LLC) in New Jersey, then you can register a DBA (doing business as).
How to Brainstorm LLC Name Ideas
The name of your New Jersey LLC will be the name of your brand, and picking a good name is an important component to the success of your business.
We recommend reading How to Choose a Business Name, then take out a piece of paper and write down as many LLC names as you can think of. Then set the piece of paper aside and sleep on it. The following day, skim through the list and circle your top 2-3 names.
Then sleep on it one more night. The following day, the best name for your New Jersey LLC usually just “presents itself”.
New Jersey Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services
If you have any questions about your LLC name, you can contact the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services at 609-292-9292. Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30am – 4:30pm Eastern Time.
Next Step: New Jersey LLC Registered Agent
After you search your desired New Jersey LLC name and make sure it’s distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: New Jersey LLC Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
New Jersey LLC Act: Section 42:2C-8