Why Get a New Jersey Registered Agent?
Before filing the Certificate of Formation with the New Jersey Division of Revenue, you are required to choose a Registered Agent for a successful LLC formation. In this guide, we will be providing you all the relevant information regarding a registered agent in New Jersey. We hope that through this guide, we can aid in the process of your New Jersey LLC formation.
What is a New Jersey Registered Agent
First, let’s talk about what a registered agent is. A registered agent is usually a person or a company that accepts legal mail on behalf of your LLC in the event where the business is served in a lawsuit. The other name for legal mail is also the Service of Process.
It is also required by law for every formal business in New Jersey like an LLC or corporation to have a New Jersey registered agent. Not only does the registered agent receive every service of process for the business, but they also act as the point of contact for your LLC for all communication with the State of New Jersey like the New Jersey Annual Report and Certificate of Good Standing.
Why does a New Jersey LLC need a Registered Agent?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your New Jersey registered agent acts as the point of contact for all legal documents for your LLC and is an important role to how the court and legal systems work. Having a registered agent on file with the state will allow a proper tracking of service of process and legal documents.
It is similar to the concept of ‘certified mail return receipt’, but from a legal aspect, it is how process servers, or otherwise known as people that send legal documents, make records that something was delivered.
How to choose a Registered Agent for your New Jersey LLC
According to the revised statutes of the New Jersey state, 42:2C-14 Office and Agent for Service of Process, a registered agent must have a physical street address in New Jersey. The NJ Division of Revenue will use that address to deliver official documents to your business.
You should note that the registered agent address cannot be a PO box address, a mailbox rental service or a telephone answering service. The New Jersey registered agent must be available during normal business hours from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. This is because the service of process will normally be sent during normal business hours.
Can I be the Registered Agent for my New Jersey LLC
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in New Jersey, as long as you are over the age of 18, have a street address in New Jersey, are available during the business hours and you don’t mind your address existing on public record, then you are free to be the registered agent of your own LLC.
Besides that, you could elect a member of your LLC or others, which we will cover in a while, as your LLC’s registered agent. But first, you should also be aware of some of the risks of being your own registered agent in New Jersey.
Risk of being your own Registered Agent in New Jersey
One of the risks of being your own registered agent in New Jersey involves listing your information in public records. While this might not be a big risk, some business owners might not prefer to expose their address.
If you do decide to be your own registered agent, the information you submit in the Certificate of Formation will become public record with the NJ Division of Revenue. In that case, this information will be available and accessible to the public and other websites can also download the records to republish them on their own website.
Eventually, the cycle goes on as other so-called “public record websites” get a hold of this information and it will be listed on their website again. Soon enough, your address will be on multiple websites and anyone can find it through a Google search. Fortunately, there is a solution to ensure your address is off the public records, which we will discuss later.
Additionally, another possible risk, though unlikely to happen, is that you could lose your liability protection and the NJ Division of Revenue has the ability to shut down your New Jersey LLC if you’re not in compliance with the state laws. This will only happen if you’re unable to “continuously maintain” a registered agent on file or if the Division is unable to get a hold of your LLC’s registered agent.
Besides that, if in any case the process server (person who sends lawsuit notices and court documents) is unable to reach your LLC’s registered agent or unable to successfully serve your LLC through the Division of Revenue, the court case can still go on without your presence and you may not be aware too. The worst case scenario is that the court case could go into a default judgment against your LLC if you’re not there to defend yourself.
Who else can be a New Jersey Registered Agent
Friend or Family
If you don’t have a street address located in the state of New Jersey, but you’ve got a friend or a family member who stays in New Jersey and has a New Jersey street address, they can be your LLC’s registered agent too. The same requirements apply where they will need to be reachable during business hours and they should be fine with their address listed on public records.
Registered Agent Service
Besides choosing a friend, family member or a member of your LLC, the other convenient option is to hire a registered agent service. They usually cost about $50 to $300 per year but for such a small cost, you’re getting incredible convenience. We will be exploring more about registered agent services in New Jersey, so keep reading to find out more.
Why businesses Use a Registered Agent Service
A registered agent service is also known as a commercial registered agent and they are specialized in receiving service of process on behalf of your LLC. Hiring a professional registered agent service is a common thing to do for business owners and here are some of the reasons why.
Generally, a registered agent service keeps a compliance calendar which notifies you when annual reports or other filings are due and they will also help to file them. Having this compliance calendar can help in avoiding fines and keep your company in good standing. This is especially crucial if you intend to maintain your limited liability protection.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, if you do not respond to the service of process in time, you may face legal matters, fees or other problems. The registered agent service will help to scan your documents, share them with you and notify you when they are available.
If your work is in your home or a private office, acting as your own registered agent means your address will be in the Certificate of Formation and is available to the public. But if you care about your privacy and do not want to expose where you are staying or working, hiring a registered agent service would be the ideal choice because they will allow you to use their own street address instead of yours.
It’s never a good feeling to be getting a service of process for a lawsuit against your company and it can be a sensitive matter especially when it happens in front of your clients or employees.
But with a New Jersey registered agent service, they will be receiving your LLC’s service of process and other relevant documents at their office as opposed to yours and they will deliver them to you online in a discreet manner.
Being your own registered agent in New Jersey means you need to be available during regular business periods every working day throughout the year. This is extremely inconvenient and why businesses hire a New Jersey registered agent service. Registered agent services normally have physical offices and staff working at those periods so they will be available at those times.
This allows you to have more flexibility in a sense that you don’t need to be available at all the time and you can choose to go on a vacation, work wherever you have to or travel around. You can do all that knowing that the registered agent service in New Jersey will be handling your LLC’s paperwork.
Normally, a registered agent will scan your documents once they receive them and store a digital copy of every business document and service of process on an online dashboard. If you use an LLC formation service from the same company, you will most likely use them as a registered agent as well and the copy of your formation documents will also be on the dashboard online.
Keeping the information is helpful for your business when you want to open business bank accounts, apply for a credit card or small loans. There are also other things that may need a copy of these documents.
One of the reasons that businesses hire a registered agent is if they plan on expanding their business into other states, it is necessary to have them for your foreign LLC or other business entity. Many registered agent services operate in all the states but you do need to pay a little more for the new state and documents will be delivered to the same online dashboard.
Best New Jersey Registered Agent Service
The best New Jersey registered agent service that we highly recommend is the Northwest Registered Agent. They have been around for more than 20 years and people know them for providing exceptional customer service. Besides its remarkable customer service, they allow you to use their address to form your LLC, ensuring that your address is not on public records.
There are many recent New Jersey business owners that start a business entity from their home. As a result, all the addresses including the business address stated in the Certificate of Formation will be in public records.
So if you were thinking of using your personal home address but you would prefer to keep it off public records, you can hire the Northwest Registered Agent as your LLC’s New Jersey registered agent.
This registered agent service in New Jersey charges $125 per year and allows you to use their address in your Certificate of Formation with no additional cost. For that price, they will scan and upload every mail sent to your LLC in your online account where you can access it from an online dashboard.
Electing a Registered Agent in New Jersey
After a New Jersey registered agent is chosen, the state of New Jersey requires you to elect the registered agent when completing your LLC’s Certificate of Formation. This can be done in two ways, which are online and by mail.
Your LLC formation can be done online when you create an account through the State of New Jersey website. All the requirements and resources to appoint a registered agent for your LLC in the state of New Jersey will be available. A filing fee of $125 is also required.
If you form your LLC by mail, you will have to download the Business Registration Packet, fill out the necessary fields and give a copy to the Division. The registered agent’s name and address is required on page 23, Section 8.
Change of Registered Agent
When you intend to change your LLC’s registered agent in New Jersey, you will have to fill out a change form. After that, submit the change of registered agent form to the NJ Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. A filing fee of $25 is also required.
How to be a registered agent for an LLC in New Jersey?
As an individual or business entity, if you intend to be a registered agent you must:
- Be older than the age of 18.
- Have an address in New Jersey
- Have the LLC you intend to represent list your name and address on their LLC formation form or in the change of registered agent form.
Once this is done, the state of New Jersey will deliver the official correspondence for annual report, service of process, and other compliance information for the business to you.
Am I liable for the LLC if I am the registered agent?
No. Just because you’re the LLC’s registered agent, doesn’t mean you’ll be responsible for the debts, liabilities, or obligations of the LLC.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.