Start a Corporation in New Jersey
Use our free business tools below to complete your New Jersey Public Records Filing. This is the document you file directly with the New Jersey Division of Revenue to form your corporation.
If you want more, hire us to form your corporation in New Jersey. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.
How to Start a Corporation in New Jersey
A New Jersey corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.
To start a corporation in New Jersey, you need to appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file a Public Records Filing with the New Jersey Division of Revenue. You can file the document online, by mail or by fax. The Public Records Filing costs $125 to file (plus a payment processing fee). Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your New Jersey corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps. This guide shows how to form and maintain your corporation in New Jersey.
1. Name Your Corporation
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your corporation. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services’s New Jersey Business Name Search and browse until you find the perfect name for your corporation. New Jersey’s rules for naming a corporation are outlined in NJ Rev Stat § 14A:17-14.
What’s the difference between my corporations name and an alternate name?
Your corporation’s official name is the one stated on your Public Records Filing. An alternate name (sometimes called a DBA) is any other name under which your corporation does business. In New Jersey, company’s that wish to use alternate names must register with the New Jersey Division of Revenue by filing Form C-150G.
Thinking about using an alternate name? Learn more about How to Get a New Jersey DBA.
What’s the difference between an alternate name and a trade name?
In New Jersey, an alternate name is a different business name adopted by a registered business—like an LLC or corporation. A trade name is a business name adopted by a sole proprietor or general partnership. Alternate names are registered with the New Jersey Division of Revenue, while trade names are registered at the county level.
Do I need to renew my New Jersey DBA?
That depends. Trade names do not need to be renewed with the county. Once you have your trade name, it’s yours until you withdraw it. Alternate names registered at the state level need to be renewed every five years.
Alternate name renewals are registered by filing a Renewal of Registration of Alternate Name form online, by mail, in person, or by fax. Renewals cost $25 for corporations and $50 for LLCs, non-profits, and limited partnerships. You’ll need to file two copies of the renewal form, and three for non-profits.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
Per NJ Rev Stat § 14A:4-1 (2019), every New Jersey corporation must appoint a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your Public Records Filing wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
What does a registered agent do?
Your New Jersey registered agent is responsible for accepting legal documents (services of process) and official mail on behalf of your business at a physical address (no P.O. boxes) in the state. This location is called a registered office. In other words, your registered agent’s address acts as the official place where any service of process and official mail for your New Jersey LLC, New Jersey corporation or New Jersey nonprofit will be sent.
Can you be your own registered agent in New Jersey?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in New Jersey. However, after considering the registered agent requirements most business owners elect to hire a registered agent service instead. Why? Well although being your own registered agent will cost you $0, a New Jersey registered agent’s name and address becomes part of the public record. Additionally, the registered agent is required to be available to accept service of process during normal business hours 5 days a week.
Can I change my registered agent after I start a corporation?
Yes! There are two ways to change your registered agent in New Jersey.
- Hire us and we’ll complete the change of agent form for you for free.
- Do it yourself and file a Certificate of Change – Registered Name or Address, or Both (for LLCs) or a Certificate of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent (for corporations) form with the New Jersey Division of Revenue. There is no fee to file this form.
3. Submit Public Records Filing
Learn more about each Public Records Filing requirement below.
Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
You’ll need to include the following information on your New Jersey Public Records Filing:
NOTE: While the state may still accept the old paper filing, they are transitioning to fully online incorporation. The steps below are for online signup, but the paper form requests the same information, barring a few optional items.
- Business Type. The state uses the same online and paper form for different entities. For a regular business corporation, select “NJ Domestic For-Profit Corporation” online or “DP” on the paper form.
- Business Name. Online, the form will automatically check if the name is available (but not if the same is too similar to another, so it’s still a good idea to do a thorough name search before filling out your application.) The state also has quite a few words you can’t use as well, including some surprising ones like “blind,” “cemetery,” “mail,” “Olympic” and “urban renewal.”
- Business Designator. At the end of your business name, you’ll need a corporate identifier, such as “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated” or an abbreviation for one of these words, such as “Corp” or “Inc.” On the paper form, you’ll include this with the name.
- EIN. This category is optional. While the Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services websites says you need an EIN to incorporate, this is only if want to sign up for tax registration, withholding, etc. at the same time. Note that it’s unusual for businesses to get an EIN before formation (but not impossible).
- NAICS. This category is also optional. The NAICS code is the category of business you are undertaking. If you choose to provide one, you can use the link on the state online form to find the most appropriate code to describe your business.
- Duration. Want your corporation to continue indefinitely? Leave “perpetual” in the box in online form (or skip this section on the paper form). Prefer to put a self-destruct timer on your business? Enter the number of years you’d like your New Jersey corporation to exist in the space instead. Tip: Most corporations have perpetual duration.
- Effective Date. Don’t add or change anything in this section if you’d like your business to start immediately. Otherwise, enter an effective date up to 90 days in the future if you want to hold off until, say, the start of the next tax year.
- Stock. List the number of shares you wish to create. You must create at least one share. You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting.
- Purpose. This section is optional. If you’d like to add a specific purpose, such as brief description of your primary business activity, you can do so here.
- Main Business Address. This section is optional as well. To better maintain privacy, you can skip this section or use our business address when your hire us.
- Registered Agent and Office. For your New Jersey registered agent, you can list an individual state resident (like someone in your New Jersey corporation) or a business that provides registered agent service (like Northwest). Your registered office is the address where your agent will be regularly available to accept legal mail for your business. Rather not list your personal home or office address on this public filing? When you hire Northwest, our information goes here.
- Board of Directors. List the names and addresses of the directors on your board of directors. For-profit corporations must list at least one director. When you hire us, you can use our business address in the address section here.
- Incorporator. Your incorporator signs and submits your Public Records Filing. You need at least one incorporator, who is often a director or officer but doesn’t have to be anyone in your corporation. Incorporators must include their names and addresses. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your New Jersey corporation.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
It’s a fact that all the information provided in the Public Records Filing will become part of the public record. When your personal information is accessible by anyone, it opens your business up to hassles like junk mail.
To keep your information off the public record, you can hire a registered agent company—like us. We’ll list our address on this form so you don’t have to. Your personal addresses will stay off the public record and away from prying eyes.
How can I submit the New Jersey Public Records Filing?
You can file online or by mail. However, filing by mail is being phased out and can take 3 months or more to process, whereas online formation is usually completed within 48 hours. For this reason, online filing is highly encouraged. Mailed filings must be submitted to the following address:
Department of the Treasury
Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services
PO Box 308
Trenton, NJ 08646
Start Your New Jersey Corporation Today!Get Started
4. Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my New Jersey corporation need an EIN?
The state of New Jersey directs you to obtain your EIN before registering your corporation. Also, the IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
5. File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Most US corporations are required to fill out and file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). To complete the BOI Report, you’ll have to provide information about your corporation, its beneficial owners, and (for new corporations) the company applicant.
Beneficial Owner: defined as anyone with at least a 25% ownership stake in your company. This also includes anyone with significant control over company operations, such as your CEO, CFO, or General Counsel.
Company Applicant: the individual who filed your Public Records Filing with the New Jersey Division of Revenue. It is important to note that corporations formed prior to 2024 are not required to include company applicant information.
What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?
The deadline for your first BOI Report will depend on when you formally formed your business:
- Companies formed before 2024 will need to file by January 1, 2025.
- Companies formed in 2024 need to file within 90 days of incorporation.
- Companies formed in 2025 or later need to file within 30 days of incorporation.
What information is required on the BOI Report?
You’ll need to provide some information about the corporation itself as well as identifying information for each beneficial owner and (for corporations formed in 2024 or later) your company applicant.
Beneficial owner and company applicant information:
- Full legal name
- Birth date
- Residential or business street address
- Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs or assumed business names
- Physical business address
- State of incorporation
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Will I need to update the BOI Report?
Probably. Anytime your corporate information changes (change of ownership, new CEO, change of address, etc…) you’ll need to file an updated BOI Report. The report is free to update, but you only have 30 days after the change occurs to comply.
Are there any exemptions from the BOI Report?
Yes, there are 23 classes of exemption from the BOI Report. Exemptions include (but aren’t limited to):
- Large operating companies
- Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
- Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Tax-exempt entities
Does information on the BOI Report go on the public record?
No. The BOI Report isn’t public. The information on your report will only be accessible to government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions that need to confirm customer identity.
6. Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on New Jersey Corporate Bylaws (including a free New Jersey Corporate Bylaws template), see our New Jersey Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need bylaws for my New Jersey corporation?
Yes. State statute NJ Rev Stat § 14A:2-9 (2019) notes that bylaws shall be adopted by the board at its organizational meeting.
You don’t have to submit bylaws to the state though. Corporate bylaws are internal documents you keep with your other corporate records, such as meeting minutes and resolutions.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
New Jersey bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law. For example, NJ Rev Stat § 14A:2-9 (2019) states that shareholders may forbid the board of directors from altering any bylaw that the shareholders make. It also allows you to require that New Jersey federal and state courts be the sole venue for certain legal actions brought against your corporation.
How do I write bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your New Jersey corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
7. Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for New Jersey organizational meetings?
The organizational meeting is to be called by a majority of board members, and they’re required to give a minimum of five days notice by mail to each director named in the Public Records Filing before holding the meeting.
8. Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my New Jersey corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in New Jersey, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
The corporation’s bylaws
A copy of the New Jersey corporation’s Public Records Filing
The corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
9. File New Jersey Reports & Taxes
In New Jersey, corporations file an annual report each year. In addition, corporations are subject to state taxes, including the Corporate Business Tax.
What is the New Jersey Annual Report?
The New Jersey Annual Report is a $75 form your corporation is required to file each year with the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. In your report, you update your ownership information and confirm your contact information.
Miss your filing deadline? There’s no late fee, but if you fail to file two years in a row, the state will dissolve your corporation. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, we’ll send you reminders to file your reports. Or, for $100 plus state fees, you can hire us to file your New Jersey Annual Report on behalf of your corporation.
How much is the New Jersey Annual Report?
$75 plus a $3 credit card processing fee if you file online.
When is the New Jersey Annual Report due?
The Annual Report is due by the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated in June, then your report is due by June 30th each year.
What should I know about New Jersey corporate taxes?
Instead of a traditional corporate income tax, New Jersey has a Corporate Business Tax. The following rates are based on your corporation’s entire net income (but only applied to your taxable income):
6.5%: $0 to $50,000
7.5%: $50,001 to $100,000
9.0%: over $100,000
So, if your entire net income is $101,000, you’ll then pay a 9% rate on all your taxable income. There’s a minimum tax of $500.
Have an S corp? Even though most S corp income isn’t subject to corporate rates, the state still imposes a $375 minimum tax. (Note also that a federal S election isn’t sufficient for S corp tax status in New Jersey—you’ll also have to fill out S election Form CBT-2553 with the state’s Division of Taxation.)
The state sales tax is 6.625%. Cities and counties don’t add on local sales taxes, so customers will pay the same 6.625% at the counter from Newark to Atlantic City.
Do corporations have to register with the New Jersey Division Of Revenue?
All corporations incorporated in New Jersey must file the tax/employer registration form (Form NJ-REG).