Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go to get help?

The William Paterson Small Business Development Center serves Passaic County and is located in Paterson and Wayne.

131 Ellison Street (across from City Hall)
Paterson, NJ 07505
(973) 754-8695

By appointment only:
1600 Valley Road
Wayne, NJ

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Do I need to register the name of my business? How do I go about it?

If you are doing business under any name but your own, you are required to register with the State. Registering with the State enables people to identify who is operating a particular business. For information on how to register your name, visit the New Jersey Division of Revenue at If the business name is your name, registration is advisable but not required. If the business name is not your name, registration is required.

To register a sole proprietorship or general partnership under a trade name or a name including "and Company" or "& Co.", contact the County Clerk in the county or counties where business will be conducted.

For corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships or limited liability partnerships, a Certificate of Incorporation or Business Certificate must be filed with the State of New Jersey.
Or, contact:

NJ Division of Revenue
PO Box 308
Trenton, NJ 08625-0308

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Should I incorporate?

There are several forms of business organizations: sole proprietor, partnership, corporations, and limited liability companies. Legal liability, income taxes, protection of assets, and cost and ease of transfer are some of the issues to consider when choosing a business organization. In order to decide upon the best solution for you, you should make an appointment to consult with the William Paterson SBDC. Choosing the right business structure for your particular business will be the first important decision you make. The most critical issue to consider is legal liability. If the potential exists for a possible major lawsuit against you, you must protect your personal assets. Generally, your personal assets can be protected by incorporating. When you incorporate your business, the business becomes a separate entity apart from yourself. On the other hand, if there is no real danger of a lawsuit you may simply register as a Sole Proprietorship. As a Sole Proprietorship you are the business. The start up and administration costs are much less, but since you are the business, your personal assets may be at risk. A General Partnership carries the same risk as a Sole Proprietorship.

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What is a General Partnership?

A General Partnership is similar to the Sole Proprietorship except there are two or more owners. Start up and administrative costs are low, there are few regulatory requirements, and the owner is only taxed one time. The owners, just like a Sole Proprietor, are personally liable for the actions of the business. In a partnership, however, each owner is responsible for the business dealings of the other partners. While a Partnership Agreement is not required by law, it is highly recommended to address potential conflicts between partners. Most partnership agreements are drafted with the help of an attorney, but it is not necessary. The William Paterson SBDC can provide help in putting together a partnership agreement.

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What is an LLC?

An LLC is a Limited Liability Company and is becoming one of the more popular forms of business structure. It is a hybrid form of business in that is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship with the same liability protection of the corporate structure. There are higher administrative costs and more regulations than partnerships and Sole Proprietorships, however, LLC owners risk only their investment, personal assets are generally not at risk.

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Who do I contact to register a business with the State of New Jersey for tax and employer purposes?

All businesses must register with the New Jersey Division of Revenue 15 days prior to the day business opens. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships with no employees file business taxes under their social security number. All businesses with employees must file business taxes under a federal tax identification number.

To register with the NJ Division of Revenue, contact:

Client Registration Bureau
NJ Division of Revenue
PO Box 252, Trenton, NJ 08625-0252
609. 292.1730

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How do I get a tax identification number?

For a Federal Tax ID number, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form SS4. This form is available through their website at

For State taxes, contact the New Jersey Department of Revenue.

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How do you reserve a business name?

You can check availability and reserve a business name online from and visiting the Online Services link, or by contacting:

Division of Revenue Business Services
NJ Department of the Treasury
PO Box 308
225 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0308

Names for in-state or domestic companies can be reserved for 120 days; out-of-state or foreign companies for one year.

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Is a business license needed?

Certain occupations and business activities require some form of registration, license or certification by the State of New Jersey.

The New Jersey License and Certification Guide can be downloaded from the NJ website at

You can also call the NJ Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, Licenses and Certification Hotline at 609.777.2642 or 800.533.0186.

Municipal and County regulations may also apply; contact your local authorities on regulations and permits applicable to your business.

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As an LLC can I conduct business in a state other than where I am registered?

An LLC conducting business in the state of registration is termed a Domestic Corporation and an LLC doing business outside the state of registration is termed a Foreign Corporation. If an LLC wants to do business outside of the state of formation, that state will usually require the filing of a Foreign Qualification form for a fee.

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How do I organize a Neighborhood Association?

There are no legal registration requirements for neighborhood Associations. One may choose to create a Neighborhood Association as a non-profit organization, or as a “Doing Business As” (DBA), if they so choose, but it is not necessary. The William Paterson SBDC can provide valuable information needed to help organize a Neighborhood Association.

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Does the SBA offer grants to small businesses?

The SBA does not grant funds for starting or expanding a business, but it does offer a variety of loan programs via intermediaries and participating lenders. Generally, the SBA's grant programs fund non-profit organizations only.

You can find some information on sources of grants from non-SBA sources on the SBA website at

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Can you explain the SBA Loan Guaranty Program?

The US SBA's Loan Guaranty Program gives small businesses access to financing by guaranteeing loans by private and non-profit lenders.

The SBA is not a direct lender. Three parties are involved in SBA loans: the borrower, the lender and the SBA. The lender determines if the borrower's loan application is acceptable. If it doesn't meet the lender's criteria, the application and credit analysis may be forwarded to the SBA.

Once approved by the SBA, the lender approves and closes the loan. The borrower makes loan payments to the lender, not the SBA. Not all banks or non-bank lenders are SBA lenders.

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What type of collateral do I need for a loan?

Repayment ability from the cash flow of the business is a primary consideration in the SBA loan decision process but good character, management capability, collateral, and owner’s equity contribution are also important considerations. The SBA does not deny approval for a SBA Guaranty Loan solely due to lack of collateral, however, it can be used as a reason in addition to other credit factors.

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Where can I get more help?

If you don't see the answer to your question, call the William Paterson Small Business Development Center at 973.754.8695.

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How much will one-on-one counseling cost with the William Paterson SBDC?

Counseling sessions with the William Paterson SBDC are at no charge.

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What can I expect when I call the William Paterson SBDC office for assistance?

When you contact the William Paterson SBDC by phone, email or through a walk-in visit, you will generally be asked a few questions to find out more about the kind of assistance the SBDC can provide for you. You will receive information about some of the low cost seminars and workshops that are available to help you start your business. You will also have an opportunity to sign up for one-on-one counseling by completing a request for counseling form. The William Paterson SBDC can provide important resources, direction and other valuable information.

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Are the William Paterson SBDC services just for start-up businesses?

The William Paterson SBDC serves a broad range of businesses, ranging from those who are thinking about starting a business, to very early-stage companies, to firms that have been in business for many years.

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