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Learn How to Form a New Hampshire Nonprofit Corporation

Here are the steps you need to follow to form a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation in New Hampshire.

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If you’ve been wanting to help your community on a grander scale but didn’t know where to start, then opening a nonprofit might be just what you need. Unlike a typical business, a nonprofit corporation, or charitable corporation, exists to benefit a cause other than its owners. There are several important steps you need to take if you’re looking to incorporate your nonprofit. Below, we discuss these steps and everything else you need to know about how to form a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire.

When you decide it’s time to incorporate your nonprofit corporation, follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Select a team of initial directors

In New Hampshire, a nonprofit corporation must have a minimum of five voting members, according to state law. These members can’t be related by blood or marriage, nor can they be employees of the nonprofit.

Step 2: Choose your nonprofit’s name

Your nonprofit corporation needs to have a name, and there are several rules you need to follow when choosing it. Your corporation’s name must:

  • Not include language that’s misleading or confusing
  • Not imply that your nonprofit conducts any business aside from its intended purpose
  • Be unique and distinguishable from all other registered businesses and corporations in the state
  • Be unique from foreign corporations that are authorized to conduct business in New Hampshire

To check if the name you’d like to use is available, you can search the New Hampshire Department of State’s business name database.

After you decide on a name, you’ll want to come up with your domain name. If it’s available, use our domain name registration service to get your online presence up and running.

Step 3: Choose a New Hampshire registered agent

You’ll need an individual or a third-party business entity that can accept official correspondence from the New Hampshire Secretary of State on your nonprofit’s behalf and legal documents such as subpoenas. The person or company that you appoint is known as your registered agent.

It’s vital that your registered agent is available to accept registered mail during regular business hours. They must also be authorized to conduct business in the state and keep an office within New Hampshire.

While acting as your own registered agent isn’t out of the question, many nonprofit corporations opt to employ a third party so they aren’t tied to the office. Working with a third-party registered agent service ensures that someone is always available to accept correspondence on your behalf. ZenBusiness’s registered agent service will make sure that your documents are accepted when they’re delivered, uploaded to your dashboard, and forwarded to you.

Step 4: File Articles of Agreement with the state

When you’re ready to form a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, you need to create and file your Articles of Agreement. When completing this form, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Your nonprofit corporation’s intended purpose
  • The address of your corporation’s offices
  • Procedures for establishing membership and participation
  • Provisions for disposition of corporate assets if the corporation should dissolve

You might also want to include provisions for limiting the personal liability of your directors or officers.

Step 5: Create corporate bylaws

As a nonprofit corporation, you’ll need to create bylaws that outline procedures and rules for your corporation. These bylaws should contain procedures for electing directors, meeting schedules, and any other rules you’d like to formalize.

As per New Hampshire law, your bylaws must be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the signers of your Articles of Agreement.

Step 6: Hold an organizational meeting for your directors and set up record-keeping procedures

Once you become a New Hampshire nonprofit corporation, you need to hold the first meeting of your board of directors. This meeting is typically referred to as an organizational meeting. At this meeting, you’ll take care of tasks such as:

  • Appointing additional directors, if necessary
  • Approving bylaws
  • Approving transactions, such as overhead operating costs and new accounts
  • Determining your accounting period and tax year

At this meeting, you may also establish your methods for record-keeping, either manually or electronically. At each board meeting, you should keep detailed minutes. You also need to maintain additional records for any other contracts, forms, and accounting information.

Step 7: Obtain tax ID numbers and apply for tax exemptions

Nonprofit status can help with exemptions from paying federal and state income, property, and sales taxes. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to file tax returns each year. To do this, your nonprofit corporation will require a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which can be obtained from the IRS or you can save yourself some time and apply for one via ZenBusiness’s EIN service.

You’ll also need a New Hampshire tax identification number, which you can apply for from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.

Once you’ve obtained your tax ID numbers, you’ll want to apply for tax exemptions from the IRS To gain tax-exempt status from the IRS you need to fill out form 1023 to apply. When it comes to the state, if the IRS has approved your 1023 they’ll send you a letter of determination, which the state will recognize. However, if your nonprofit earns income from activities unrelated to your purpose, you’ll have to file a business enterprise tax return.

You can find out more about federal tax exemptions by visiting the IRS’s website. Exemptions from New Hampshire’s business profits tax can be obtained from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.

Step 8: Apply for all necessary licenses or permits

While New Hampshire nonprofit corporations don’t require a statewide business license, you might need specific permits or licenses based on your activities and municipality. For example, if your corporation regularly provides meals, it might be necessary to obtain food service licensing. To determine what permits and licenses your nonprofit needs, contact the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification. You may also need to contact the licensing offices in your municipality.

To make sure you don’t miss anything, use our business license report.

Step 9: Acquire insurance and a bank account

Insurance is important for every corporation. You can protect your cause by acquiring appropriate insurance, such as unemployment insurance if you have employees. To determine what you need, contact a qualified insurance agent. Nonprofits that have employees must carry workers’ comp insurance in New Hampshire, and general liability insurance is usually recommended.

In addition to insurance, your nonprofit will also require a bank account in the corporation’s name. This enables you to collect monetary donations and cover expenses.

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At ZenBusiness, we are proud to support small businesses through a variety of different tools and services. Whether you need a registered agent service, want to reserve a business name, or looking to register a domain, our goal is to help you stay on the road to success. Check out our services, and contact us today to see how we can help you grow your company.

New Hampshire Nonprofit Corporation FAQ

  • Can the founder of a New Hampshire nonprofit receive a salary?

    If your nonprofit’s founder is working for your group as an employee, they may receive fair compensation for the work they do.

  • What happens if a nonprofit makes money in New Hampshire?

    If your nonprofit earns money, those funds can be used to invest in activities that support your cause. Compensation provided to the board of directors must be reported to the IRS, and board members will have to pay tax on their income.

  • What kinds of New Hampshire businesses qualify as nonprofit?

    Your corporation can become a nonprofit corporation if you’re organized to do charity, educational, religious, literary, or scientific work. Your work must benefit a public or social cause.

  • Can nonprofits sell products in New Hampshire?

    You may sell products if the profits go towards your cause.