Step 1) Verify Name & Get Form
This is Jersey we’re talking about, so first, conduct a business name search in your County Clerk’s office or do a state-wide Business Entity Search through the Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services. The State of New Jersey doesn’t track DBA’s, rather its 21 counties register trade names for use by sole proprietorships.
Note: A trade name registration is technically not needed for the name of the person running the business.
In case there might be trademark issues, use the TESS System through the U.S. Patent office to check. We recommend searching both databases to be prudent. So, head to the webpage of the County Clerk of the County where you intend to set up shop and obtain the “Trade Name Application” form.
Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA.
Step 2) Correctly Fill Out Form & Notarize
Once you get your hands on the form, digital/hard copy (if you don’t have legal representation and you aren’t working with a DBA filing service), read and understand every word. Once you’ve double and triple-checked, sign it before a notary who needs to notarize the form and then file it with the right county.
The fees are included in the instructions on the form itself. To save yourself stress, walk in the form and file it at the counter because mailing in a form means you must do it perfectly right, whereas at the filing office the clerks can help you fix errors you might miss.
Step 3) Open a Bank Account
Once you have the DBA (“Trade Name” in New Jersey terminology) registration you can Open a Business Bank Account using just your social security number and a copy of the Trade Name registration document. If the business will have employees, get a separate Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business free of charge through the IRS website.
Don’t mix your business accounts with personal accounts because it opens you up to IRS audits! Also, remember to call ahead at your chosen bank. Most banks require the Trade Name registration document and the EIN document from the IRS (if you have one); some require additional documents such as a business license from the local municipality.
Need Help Filing Your DBA?
A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.
- LegalZoom ($99 + state fee) for the most popular DBA filing service available.
- MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a more personalized DBA filing service.
This is an informational guide on NJ DBA filing and should not be taken as legal advice. Expert advice from a business lawyer should be consulted when you want to know the legalities involved in filing a New Jersey Trade Name or starting a business in general. We recommend JGW INcounsel/John G. Webb, III, Esq.