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How to Form a Single-Member LLC in New Jersey

Want to form a single-member LLC (SMLLC) in New Jersey? Pick a business name, obtain an EIN, file a certificate of formation, and register for taxes.

By , Attorney
Updated by Amanda Hayes, Attorney · University of North Carolina School of Law

If you're a solo business owner who's ready to form a limited liability company (LLC), you can create a single-member LLC in New Jersey. While your situation could differ slightly, you can generally follow the steps below to start your New Jersey SMLLC.

Be aware that because you're forming an SMLLC, you'll need to follow New Jersey's Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. New Jersey has a different formation procedure from most states.

1. Name Your SMLLC

New Jersey, like other states, has rules for what you can name your SMLLC. Specifically, your SMLLC name must contain the words "limited liability company" or the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC." Additionally, you can abbreviate "limited" to "ltd." and "company" to "co."

Your SMLLC's name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already reserved or registered with the state. These business entities include any business that's incorporated, organized, or authorized to do business in New Jersey. (N.J. Stat. § 42:2C-8 (2023).)

Make sure the name you want is available by doing a business name search on the New Jersey Department of Treasury (DOT) website. You can reserve a business name with the DOT for six months by filing an application for reservation online. As of 2023, the name reservation filing fee is $50.

2. Do You Need an EIN?

While not usually required, New Jersey requires you to obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) before you register your LLC. SMLLCs have a default tax status of disregarded entity (same as a sole proprietorship). Typically, if you have a disregarded entity and you don't have employees, you don't need to get an EIN. Instead, an SMLLC owner just reports their business profits and losses on their personal tax returns using their own Social Security number or tax identification number.

However, in New Jersey, you use your EIN to register your business with the state. You can use obtain an EIN from the IRS by filling out the agency's online application on its website. There's no filing fee.

Besides needing an EIN to register your New Jersey business, there are other reasons to get an EIN. Banks often require an EIN to open an account in the business's name and other companies you do business with could require an EIN to process payments.

3. File a Certificate of Formation

You create a New Jersey SMLLC by submitting a public records filing to the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services (DORES). You can file online using New Jersey's Online Business Formation. The registration form is designed to work for multiple kinds of new business entities, not just SMLLCs, so be careful when completing it. (The form does include detailed instructions.) As of 2023, the filing fee is $125.

To complete the filing you'll need to provide:

  • the name of your new SMLLC
  • the street and mailing address of the SMLLC's registered office, and
  • the name of the SMLLC's registered agent.

(N.J. Stat. § 42:2C-18 (2023).)

When filling out the application, you'll be asked to provide other basic details, such as your SMLLC's EIN, business purpose, member's name and address, and date of dissolution. Most of these details are optional.

Every New Jersey SMLLC must have a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on behalf of the SMLLC. The registered agent can be an individual New Jersey resident who's at least 18 years old, or a New Jersey or foreign corporation authorized to do business in New Jersey. The registered agent must have a physical street address in New Jersey.

All of the paperwork and procedural steps to start an SMLLC in New Jersey can be done online using our online LLC formation application.

3. Prepare an Operating Agreement

New Jersey doesn't require an SMLLC to have an operating agreement. Even though you're the only member of your SMLLC, you should still create an agreement. The operating agreement is usually made between the single member and the LLC itself.

The agreement typically covers the member's rights, duties, and obligations, as well as the SMLLC's management structure. Having an agreement in place can help with liability protection by separating your business from you personally. It also can be useful with lenders and other businesses when entering into business transactions.

You should also indicate in your operating agreement whether your SMLLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. If you choose to have your SMLLC be manager-managed, you should outline the manager's rights as well as the manager's duties and obligations to the SMLLC and its sole member. In a manager-managed SMLLC, either you or someone else (a nonmember) can be the SMLLC's manager.

If you'd like additional information and help with creating an SMLLC operating agreement, see Nolo's Guide to Single-Member LLCs, by David M. Steingold (Nolo).

5. Register for Business Taxes With the Department of Treasury

You must register your SMLLC with DORES. Register your business using Form NJ-REG. You can complete the form online through DORES's online business registration. You must register your business at least 15 days before you start doing business.

Once you've filed your certificate of formation and registered for taxes, your business will receive a Business Registration Certificate.

6. Apply for Business Licenses

Depending on what kind of business you're running and where it's located, you could need to obtain local or state business licenses, permits, and registrations for your SMLLC. For instance, you might need to apply for licenses, permits, and registrations related to:

Check the New Jersey Online License & Certification website for information. You can also learn more in our article about getting a small business license in New Jersey.

    7. File Your Annual Report

    The State of New Jersey requires you to file an annual report for your SMLLC. Your annual report is due every year by the last day of the anniversary month of your LLC registration. For example, if you formed your SMLLC on October 12, then your annual report would be due the next year by October 31. File your annual report online with DORES.

    You'll need your SMLLC's state-issued entity number and original date of organization to access the online form. Only a few pieces of information—mainly the name of your SMLLC's registered agent and the SMLLC's registered office address—are required to complete the report. As of 2023, the filing fee for the annual report is $75.

    Getting Help Forming Your SMLLC in New Jersey

    If you need additional help with starting your SMLLC in New Jersey, check out the New Jersey Business Portal's One-Stop Shop for Business. This comprehensive website provides information and guidance on how to plan, start, operate, and grow your small business. You can create a personalized guide for your business that provides detailed steps related to which forms you need to file and licenses you need to apply for. If you have questions specific to your business, reach out to a New Jersey business attorney.

    If you're looking for more information on forming and running your SMLLC, check out the single-member LLC section of our website.

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