New Hampshire

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Ready to start your New Hampshire LLC? Here's everything you need to know.

If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss, you aren’t alone. According to a survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans dream of opening their own business. Establishing a New Hampshire limited liability company (LLC) is a great way to attain this goal.

New Hampshire offers unique benefits for small business owners. For instance, there’s only a limited personal income tax in the state. To take advantage of such benefits, however, you have to carefully create your LLC to meet local, state, and federal requirements, covering everything from business permits to taxes.

Luckily, the process is relatively straightforward. It’s all about breaking it down into digestible steps, following a particular order. This guide gives you the tools you need to do just that. Below, get a comprehensive, step-by-step overview of what it takes to start a New Hampshire business — and find out how the right LLC service can make the process even easier.

How do I start an LLC in New Hampshire?

Creating Your New Hampshire LLC requires you to take the following steps:
 

1Name Your New Hampshire LLC

2

Appoint a Registered Agent in New Hampshire

3
File New Hampshire Certificate of Formation
 
4
Create an Operating Agreement
 
5
Apply for an EIN
LLC 1

Step 1: Name Your New Hampshire LLC

Your business is like a baby — you want to give it the perfect name. Strive for something that isn’t too complex so that people can recall it easily. A great business name should also provide some idea of what products or services you offer.

These practical naming suggestions aside, there are also legal elements to consider when naming your New Hampshire LLC. 

According to state law, your LLC’s name must:

  • Include the words “limited liability company.” An abbreviation of “LLC” or “L.L.C.” is acceptable.

  • Steer clear of prohibited words. Specific terms like “corporation” can’t be used, as they might confuse people regarding the type of business you own. You also can’t use restricted words, such as phrases associated with a government agency.

  • Be distinguishable. This means the name is one-of-a-kind so that it can be easily identified in records. To ensure no other business is already using your desired name, check the New Hampshire Department of State Quickstart’s database of business names.

When selecting a name, also do your research regarding domain names. Your business website is a great marketing tool. Securing a domain that mirrors your business name makes it easy for customers to find you online. Check to see if your desired domain is available.

Once you have the perfect name, reserve it to make sure it doesn’t get taken by someone else. Complete the Application for Reservation of Name and send a copy to: Corporation Division, NH Dept. of State, 107 N Main St, Rm 204, Concord, NH 03301-4989. You must pay a $15 filing fee.

Decoration

ZenBusiness can reserve your business name and your chosen domain. We also offer DBA or “Doing Business As” name registration. A DBA name can be used to launch future products and brands associated with your LLC and spares you the hassle of establishing a new company.

Lastly, one thing you want to check before deciding on a name is whether it’s trademarked. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if your business name or logo is federally trademarked. If it’s not, you can take steps to trademark your name, if you wish. An easier route to go may be to get a state trademark, one that applies only within New Hampshire.

Idea

Dojo Insights

As a trained chiropractor, Jason wanted to start his own business. To protect himself from personal liability, he established a New Hampshire LLC. Before filing his Certificate of Formation, he checked the state’s database of names to make sure his chosen name, “Jason’s Joint Care, LLC,” was free. Happily, it was.

Locked

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in New Hampshire

A New Hampshire registered agent accepts legal mail on your LLC’s behalf. This must be a person or business with a physical address in New Hampshire, not just a P.O. box, because certain documents — like lawsuits — are legally required to be delivered in person. New Hampshire requires you to appoint a registered agent for your LLC.

While you are allowed to appoint yourself as the registered agent, this presents drawbacks. For one thing, the registered agent’s address is a matter of public record, and you probably don’t want your home address easily accessible. For another thing, likely, you won’t always be at your business during regular business hours. Hiring a third-party agent gives you privacy and flexibility.

Some additional benefits of using a registered agent service include:

  • Easily operate as a foreign LLC: If you plan on doing business outside the state where your LLC is registered, a registered agent service can easily hold a small registered office in those states for you.
  • Avoid the risk of noncompliance: With someone designated to receive all of your legal paperwork, you can rest easy knowing they’ll make sure you meet deadlines so that you remain in good standing.

New Hampshire does allow you to hire an external registered agent, provided they are a legal person or business with an in-state address.

Idea

Dojo Insights

Jason regularly travels to chiropractic conferences to stay on top of the latest updates in the field. He can’t man his business constantly. That’s why he hired a registered agent service to receive any legal mail that may come his way.

Decoration

ZenBusiness offers registered agent services that keep you covered and ensure no important paperwork slips through the cracks.

Information

Step 3: File New Hampshire Certificate of Formation

With your LLC name and registered agent, you can go ahead and file your New Hampshire Certificate of Formation. Commonly referred to as “Articles of Organization” in other states, this paperwork is submitted to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Corporation Division. If approved, it formally establishes your LLC as a legal business entity.

You can file the paperwork by mail, online, or in person. The filing fee for mail is $100, and processing usually takes one to three weeks. The filing fee for online is $102, and processing usually takes three to seven business days. For a walk-in filing, you’ll have to pay $125, but your paperwork can be approved in just a couple of hours.

To complete the Certificate of Formation paperwork, you need to provide the following details:

  • The LLC’s name
  • The LLC’s physical business address and (if different) mailing address
  • The resident agent’s name and address
  • A description of the nature of the business and/or the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. You can look up the code applicable to your business here.
  • The names of the LLC’s managers (owners)

You must also specify whether the management of the LLC is “vested in a manager(s).” This means choosing between a “member-managed” and “manager-managed” model of business. If you’re a smaller operation, and all managers are involved in day-to-day business decisions, member-managed is suitable. Larger LLCs with multiple members may do better with a manager-managed structure.

Idea

Dojo Insights

DOJO Insights Jason was eager to get his business off the ground. Although a postal filing was the cheapest option, he opted to pay the extra money and filed his New Hampshire Certificate of Formation paperwork in person. As a result, he got approved on the same day.

Agreement

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Creating an LLC Operating Agreement is best practice in the business world. This valuable document defines who owns your business and how it will be run. Points to cover include who owns the LLC, how much of the LLC they own, how profits are to be divided, and how important decisions — like a potential sale of the company — might be made.

New Hampshire doesn’t require an Operating Agreement with your Certificate of Formation, but you should create one anyway. By providing clarity on business operations, this document prevents disputes between LLC members. It also makes your business more credible. For example, any reputable potential investor will ask to see an Operating Agreement to ensure your business is run well.

Idea

Dojo Insights

Jason’s goal is to expand “Jason’s Joint Care, LLC” and bring on additional chiropractors to handle more business. In fact, he already has a fellow professional chiropractor who is interested. Before bringing in new members, however, he decided to establish an Operating Agreement that would define daily operations and member duties.

Decoration

If you aren’t sure what points to include in the Operating Agreement, ZenBusiness can help. Our template can be adapted for a fast and easy creation of a comprehensive Operating Agreement that covers the essentials.

EIN

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

With the above steps complete, you can request an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This unique tax ID is what you will need for your tax paperwork if you have more than one member or plan to have employees. However, even if you’re the only owner, it’s still a good idea to apply for an EIN. Having an EIN also simplifies bureaucratic steps like opening a business bank account.

Apply for your EIN on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. It doesn’t cost a thing. If you want help with the process, ZenBusiness can take care of your EIN application. While we handle the tax details, you can focus on the more exciting aspects of starting your business.

Idea

Dojo Insights

“Jason’s Joint Care, LLC” doesn’t just hire chiropractors. Jason also needs an administrative team to handle appointments and client relations. As soon as his Certificate of Formation was approved, Jason filed for his EIN so that he would have the identifying information needed to hire staff.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in New Hampshire?

When you file your Certificate of Formation, you must pay a $100 filing fee. There is an added $2 processing fee for online filing. If you choose to file in person, expect to pay $125.


New Hampshire also requires LLCs to file an annual report by April 1 of every year. The fee is $100 to file, plus $50 if filed late. You may also need to pay for business permits and licenses. Check with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for federal licensing requirements. New Hampshire has a list of business areas requiring licensure. It’s up to you to ensure your LLC has all the federal, state, local, and industry-specific licensing it needs.

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Failing to secure licenses and permits in a timely fashion can result in fines. Let ZenBusiness eliminate the headache (and needless fees) with our advanced business formation services. We can help determine your New Hampshire small business license, permit, and reporting needs.

What are the benefits of an LLC in New Hampshire?

The benefits of forming a New Hampshire LLC include:

  • Unique tax requirements: Personal income taxes are limited, and New Hampshire is also one of the few states that don’t impose a sales tax.

  • Well-protected Operating Agreements: The New Hampshire LLC Act aims to give “maximum effect to the principle of freedom of contract and to the enforceability of operating agreements.” Basically, this means Operating Agreements are strongly upheld, which prioritizes the interests of LLCs.

  • Different member classes: The New Hampshire LLC Act also allows for the contractual freedom to establish different “classes” of membership. For instance, you can have voting and nonvoting members when it comes to important decisions.

Learn more about the benefits of the general LLC business structure.

How is a New Hampshire LLC taxed?

Most LLC owners decide to have their business taxed the default way, which is as a sole proprietorship (for single-member LLCs) or a partnership (for multi-member LLCs). This method only requires partners to pay taxes on their percentage of their profits on their personal tax returns. The LLC itself is not taxed. Another option is to choose to be taxed as a corporation. If you have formed a large LLC or bring in high earnings, this option might make more sense. Note that New Hampshire does not impose a sales tax. Personal income tax is also limited, taxing investment profits like dividends at just 5%. 

However, New Hampshire imposes a business enterprise tax, ranging from 0.5% to 0.75%, which usually impacts businesses with an enterprise value of over $104,000. There is also a business profits tax, which varies annually but is generally around 8.5%. Only LLCs with more than $50,000 in gross receipts must file the business profits tax.

New Hampshire offers a unique situation in terms of taxes, which can be advantageous — but also confusing. A professional accountant can help guide you.

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New Hampshire LLC FAQs

What is the processing time to form my New Hampshire LLC?

This depends on how you file your Certificate of Formation. If you file by mail, expect to wait for one to three weeks for processing. An online filing is usually processed within three to seven business days. An in-person filing can be completed on the same day.

Do I need to file my Operating Agreement with the state of New Hampshire?

While it’s not mandatory to file it with the state, creating an Operating Agreement helps to prevent conflicts between members and clarifies general operations.

What tax structure should I choose for my New Hampshire LLC?

Every business has different needs. The answer depends on your LLC’s unique characteristics, like annual profit and the number of employees. Consult a tax professional for personalized advice.

Does New Hampshire allow a Series LLC?

You may not establish a Series LLC in New Hampshire.

Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in New Hampshire?

This is determined by the type of produce or service you provide. Depending on your business, you may need licenses, permits, and/or insurance coverage in everything from health and safety to building and construction.

Want to learn more about starting a business in New Hampshire? Contact us today!

Already a New Hampshire small business owner? Learn how ZenBusiness can help you run or grow your New Hampshire small business today!

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