With its fast startup growth, a strong economy, and good support services, New Jersey is a good place to start your own business. Startups and small businesses in New Jersey have proven to play a major role in the local economic expansion, which saw an average growth of 2.3% in 2019.
Also known as "The Golden State," New Jersey has over 860,000 active small businesses, making up 99.6% of businesses in the state. However, the cost of doing business in New Jersey is high, with the state ranking as the 50th most expensive among all states.
How to Start a Business in New Jersey:
Starting a business in New Jersey is quick and easy. The Treasury Department's Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services provides a seamless online registration process for filing your business entity and registering for business taxes in one go.
Form your business.
Review New Jersey formation options.
New Jersey offers six ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
Before registering your business name you will need to perform a trademark search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a name availability search via the State of New Jersey's portal to verify that your potential name is available.
A domestic corporation can reserve a name for 120 days and a foreign corporation can reserve the name up to the end of the calendar year.
Trade names for sole proprietorships and general partnerships need to be filed at your County Clerk's office. For all other business structures that wish to do business with another name (other than your legal name), you will need to register an alternate name with the state.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
To check the availability of your business name, go to the NJ government portal.
Enter your business name in the space provided and hit "search."
You should receive a result right away letting you know if your name is available or not.
Get an employer identification number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an employer identification number.
Register your business in New Jersey.
If your business is a domestic or out-of-state legal entity, you are required to file formation documents with the state.
You will need to obtain a Business Registration Certificate by registering your business with the NJ Treasury Department's Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.
You will need:
- Business Name and Type.
- Registered Agent information.
- Good Standing Certificate from your home state (only for foreign entities)
- Credit Card or eCheck.
The filing fee for domestic and foreign businesses is $125.00.
If you are establishing a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership, you need to register here.
On the filing page, select "Get Started."
Select your entity type from the drop-down list and enter your business name in the space provided. Then click "Continue."
Select a business designator from the drop-down list, e.g. LLC, and click "Continue."
Enter your business data, i.e. EIN, NAICS code, duration, and effective date.
Enter a "Business Purpose" or a short description of your business (optional).
Enter your main business address.
Enter your Resident Agent's information.
List the members/managers of your business and their street addresses.
Enter your signatures.
Review your information.
Pay the filing fee.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
In New Jersey, there is no statewide business license available. However, your business or employees may need to obtain professional or occupational licenses. You may also need construction or safety permits, as well as environmental licenses. Furthermore, you may require a license/permit to operate within your city or county. Be sure to check with your local municipality for more information.
Here are a few of the most commonly opened businesses that require licenses/permits:
- Home Contractors.
- Restaurants and Caterers.
- Food Trucks.
- Auto Body Repairers.
- Home Health Aides.
- Employment Agencies.
Visit the State of New Jersey's official website to learn more about licenses and permits in this state.
You can also get in touch with a business advocate at the New Jersey Business Action Center at 1 (866) 534-7789.
Register your business for taxes.
File Form NJ-REG.
You may register your business entity and submit your tax registration filings at the same time, or file Form NJ-REG within 60 days of filing your new business entity. This means that you do not have to register for any business taxes separately.
After filing, you will receive forms, returns, and other information pertaining to ongoing compliance with state taxes.
Common business taxes in New Jersey include Sales and Use Tax, Corporation Business Tax, and Income Tax. You can find a complete list of New Jersey taxes here.
Hire employees and report them to the state.
Go to the NJ Employer Services Portal.
You will need to report all new hires or employees who have been rehired, within 20 days of hiring, via the New Jersey Employer Services portal.
Obtain Workers' Compensation Insurance.
By law, all employers in New Jersey with one or more employees are required to obtain workers' compensation insurance. This applies to full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees who are paid wages/salaries and have taxes deducted.
Display mandatory posters in your place of business.
All New Jersey businesses with employees must prominently display the required labor law posters at their workplace. You can download and print all labor law posters here, free of charge.
New Jersey Business Filing Fees:
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Limited Partnership (LP)
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
New Jersey Business Types:
1. Sole Proprietorship.
A Sole Proprietorship is the simplest business structure as you are not required to file formation papers with the state. The business is owned and operated by one individual, with no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. In New Jersey, your business license requirements are dependent on your occupation.
A Corporation, owned by multiple shareholders, is a formal business structure that needs to be registered with the state of New Jersey. The business is authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law, meaning that the shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
3. Limited Liability Company.
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the most common business structure. It separates the owner/s and the company from a business and liability perspective. An LLC is the best option for a small business as it is flexible, easy to set up, and requires minimal paperwork. LLCs are formed by filing Articles of Organization with the state.
4. General Partnership.
A General Partnership is run by two or more individuals who manage the day-to-day business operations and are personally liable for all of the company's debts. This is the simplest form of a partnership with minimal paperwork. If you want to use a different name from your personal name, you will need to file a DBA name with the state.
5. Limited Partnership.
A Limited Partnership (LP) is similar to a General Partnership except that limited partners do not manage the business and are only liable for the amount they invest in the company. To form an LP, you must have a registered agent and file a Certificate of Formation with the state.
6. Limited Liability Partnership.
A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is similar to a General Partnership but each partner is protected from other partners' debts and obligations. To form an LLP, you must have a registered agent and file a Certificate of Formation with the state.
How much does it cost to register a business in New Jersey?
The filing fee for domestic and foreign businesses is $125.00.
What permits do I need to start a business in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, there is no statewide business license available. However, your business or employees may need to obtain professional or occupational licenses.
Is New Jersey a good place to start a business?
New Jersey has some of the highest taxes in the country, but its dense population, large educated workforce, and proximity to New York makes it an attractive option for small business owners.
What constitutes doing business in New Jersey?
The selling of goods or services constitutes doing business in New Jersey.
How much does an LLC cost in NJ?
An LLC costs $125.00 to register in New Jersey.
What is considered a small business in NJ?
A small business is a firm with fewer than 500 employees.
Do I need a sellers permit to sell online in NJ?
Yes, anyone who engages in business or trade in New Jersey must register for a sales tax permit, known as a Certificate of Authority.