Start an LLC in New Hampshire (Free Guide + Helpful Resources)

In recent years, increasingly more entrepreneurs have chosen to start an LLC in New Hampshire thanks to the state’s favorable economic conditions, keeping the numbers of both standard and Professional LLC in New Hampshire on the constant rise.

If you’re thinking about launching a business here, the first sure step to success is to conduct thorough research. This step-by-step guide aims to provide a summary of the New Hampshire LLC business launch process, including state requirements, fees, and legal forms.

While considering your formation costs, it’s generally a good idea to decide whether you want to go DIY or hire one of the formation services. These options are also outlined in the article.

Set Up an LLC in New Hampshire: How To Guide

Name a New Hampshire LLC

Finding a suitable business name is a process that requires a careful approach as well as considerable creativity on your part. To name an LLC appropriately, choose something memorable to attract new customers but don’t forget to follow the guidelines. Naming requirements for LLCs in New Hampshire include:

  • Avoiding any words that imply a connection to state agencies;
  • Only use words like “attorney”, “university”, “bank”, “insurance” etc if you have relevant licensing;
  • Make sure the name doesn’t match directly or partially to an already existing company name;
  • Include your business designation:
    • “limited liability company”;
    • “limited company”;
    • “L.L.C.”;
    • “LLC”.

But how do you check name availability against thousands of currently operating New Hampshire LLCs? Luckily, the Secretary of State offers a free Business Search tool using which can yield the following search results:

  1. “No data found with your search criteria” means the name is available;
  2. If the names aren’t too similar to yours, you can go ahead with the filing;
  3. If your chosen name is considered “deceptively similar” to the name you want to use, it’s likely your application will be rejected;
  4. If your chosen name appears on the results list exactly as you entered it, you will need to come up with a new name or amend the existing one.

If you don’t plan on launching the business right away even with a readily available name, the state allows you to file for a reservation. In New Hampshire, you can reserve an LLC name for 120 days and only for $15. 

You can file the Application for Reservation of Name by mail or in person.

Mail

Download the form, fill it out, and send the printout along with the $15 payment check to:

Corporation Division, NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St, Rm 204
Concord, New Hampshire 03301-4989

Mail applications are usually processed within 1-3 weeks.

In Person

If you live in Concord, you can apply in person at the following address:

the State House Annex 3rd Floor, Rm 317 at 25 Capitol St., Concord, NH

Note that this method requires an additional $25 fee for expedited processing.

Obtain an EIN for a New Hampshire LLC

The EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit code assigned by the IRS to keep track of a business entity’s tax activity. This number is necessary if you plan to conduct New New Hampshire LLC by:

  • Hiring employees;
  • Opening a business bank account;
  • Running a multiple members LLC;
  • Paying taxes in New Hampshire.

Any limited liability company in New Hampshire can apply for an EIN for free using one of the following methods:

Online

If you’re in a hurry, apply for the EIN online and receive the number right away. Online applications are only available between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST. This method also requires a valid Social Security Number.

Mail

With this method, the processing time can take up to 4 weeks. Still, if you prefer to rely on the post, send the filled out printout of the Form SS-4 to:

Internal Revenue Service Operation
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax

If you can’t file online but want similarly fast results, you can send the application by fax. The ready Form SS-4 should be faxed to:

(855) 641-6935

The review time for these filings is about 4 business days.

Appoint a Registered Agent in New Hampshire

A registered agent is a type of representative that receives official correspondence and other state documentation on behalf of your LLC.

All entities are required to choose a registered agent in New Hampshire at the early stages of the process, whether it’s to register LLC or expand a foreign one.

Almost any individual can perform the duties of a New Hampshire registered agent as long as they are:

  • Over 18 years of age; 
  • In a possession of a physical and postal NH address;
  • Able to be present at the registered office throughout standard business hours to receive correspondence.

Legal entities can also act as registered agents, provided they have relevant state permits. The LLC itself is not authorized to take that responsibility, but you can do it yourself as the LLC owner or delegate it to a friend or family member.

That said, hiring a professional—such as an online formation company like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile – is a more advantageous option.

This method is, above all, conducive to retaining your privacy. Registered agent addresses go on New Hampshire’s Certificate of Formation and are then made public. Hiring a professional also means lowering the risk of losing valuable paperwork.

Draft an Operating Agreement for an LLC in New Hampshire

After opening an LLC in New Hampshire, it’s your duty as the owner to ensure its ongoing compliance. Most entrepreneurs choose to draft an internal document that standardizes various procedures and managerial structures. This document is often referred to as the operating agreement.

Although the state doesn’t insist that LLC create an operating agreement, drafting one will only help your business in the long run. Some of its key benefits include:

  • Allocation of rights and responsibilities between members;
  • Legitimizing the entity’s status in the eyes of banks, courts, etc.
  • Further proof of personal and business asset separation;
  • Ability to bypass New Hampshire default laws that don’t factor in the individual properties of an LLC;
  • Systematization of internal processes.

There is no single state-approved form for a New Hampshire LLC Operating Agreement, so you can either outline it however you see fit based on the needs of your company, use one of the many free templates available online, or hire an attorney.

Some online formation companies also offer a customized template of operating agreements at more or less reasonable prices made affordable even for smaller startups. You can also get a free operating agreement with companies like ZenBusiness as part of their formation packages.

Submit New Hampshire Certificate of Formation

The first step to commence an LLC in New Hampshire is to file your formation documents. Their approval gets your LLC formed on an official level.

A New Hampshire LLC Certificate of Formation must contain the following:

  • LLC name;
  • The name and address of registered agent;
  • The specific nature of the business;
  • The purpose of the LLC;
  • An LLC’s duration;
  • Management structure;
  • Applicant’s signature.

Then the Certificate of Formation should be sent to the Secretary of State where it will be officially registered as a New Hampshire LLC company. The filing fee in this state is $100. There are three ways to do it:

Online

Online filings are the easiest, allowing you to do it without leaving your office or home. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Register with the NHQuick Start or sign in if you already have an account;
  2. Click on the “Business Services” tab;
  3. Select “Create a Business Online”; 
  4. Select “Limited Liability Company”;
  5. Fill out the form according to the guidelines;
  6. Pay the filing fee online.

These types of applications are processed within 3-7 business days.

Mail

If you prefer to rely on paper documents, download the Certificate of Formation template through your NHQuick Start, then send the filled out form along with your $100 payment check to:

Corporation Division, NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St, Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301-4989  

These applications take about 1-3 weeks to process.

In Person

Concord residents and visitors have the opportunity to file the certificate in person at:

the State House Annex, 3rd Floor, Rm 317 at 25 Capitol St

Note that this method comes with an extra $25 charge for the expedited service.

Steps After Launching an LLC in New Hampshire

Business Checking Account

Separating your personal and business assets is fundamental to the LLC as a structure as well as the preservation of the limited liability rights of its members. One of the key aspects of setting up a New Hampshire LLC is opening a bank account for your company. It’s fairly easy to open an LLC bank account in this state. You will likely only need the following:

  • The EIN;
  • A copy of the New Hampshire LLC Certificate of Formation;
  • The operating agreement;
  • Bank resolution that allows multiple members or only one of them to open a New Hampshire LLC bank account.

New Hampshire LLC Business Taxes

An LLC is automatically classified as a pass-through entity by the federal government unless the owners elect otherwise.

What that essentially means is, all of LLC’s income doesn’t register on a separate federal tax return but instead “passes through” onto the personal 1040 tax returns and/or Schedule C of the owners. 

Owners can still apply for the S-corp taxation with the IRS at any time, though this option is not exactly popular due to its double taxation system.

Unlike some states, New Hampshire LLC tax filing requirements are fairly lenient. The state has no sales tax, use tax, or withholding tax. But this doesn’t mean you won’t need to pay New Hampshire LLC taxes.

If your company hires employees, for instance, it becomes subject to the Unemployment Insurance Tax. Visit the official NH government website for more information.

Among more common taxes in New Hampshire, you should definitely pay attention to the Business Profits Tax (BPT) imposed on companies with an annual gross of $50 000 and higher.

LLCs are also required to pay the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) if their annual gross exceeds $217 000 or their tax base is over $108 000.

The deadline for BPT and BET taxes is set for the 15th of the 3rd month after the end of the fiscal year. Moreover, your city, municipality, or county might also impose additional taxes if you operate in their jurisdiction.

LLC Business Licenses and Permits 

Even though your company becomes official after the LLC registration process, to actually do business in New Hampshire, you will need to obtain certain permits or licenses. Their type and number largely depend on your location and the industry of operation.

Some of the more common permits and licenses include:

  • Zoning permits;
  • Professional license;
  • Home occupation permits.

If you aren’t sure which New Hampshire LLC permits and licenses to apply for, check out the Licensed, Certified and Registered Occupations page available on the New Hampshire Employment Security website. Don’t forget to also contact your local government for more information about the licensing in cities and counties.

New Hampshire LLC Annual Report 

As with most states, New Hampshire employs a set of LLC reporting requirements. All companies must file a New Hampshire annual report with the Secretary of State between January 1 and April 1 of each year.

You can file it online, by mail, or in person. The filing fee for an annual report in New Hampshire is $100 for paper forms and $102 for online forms.

Should you miss the deadline, the state has the right to impose a $50 penalty or revoke your good standing. Failure to file for 2 consecutive years may lead to involuntary dissolution. 

If you still have questions, visit the New Hampshire Annual Report Online Filing web page for more information.

The Bottom Line

All in all, it’s fairly easy to oversee a New Hampshire LLC formation on your own. There are only a few basic steps you have to follow, albeit in the correct order, but the process is accessible even to those who plan to open an NH LLC for the first time.

What it does require, though, is a lot of time and effort. If you want to reduce LLC costs as well, a good idea would be to hire one of the online companies to oversee the paperwork on your behalf.
Working with any of the best LLC creation services can help you speed up the overall process while ensuring all paperwork is in order. Each of these reputable companies is fairly experienced and offers a wide range of relevant LLC services, making them a smart investment in the future growth of your company.