One of the first things you’ll need to determine before filing your paperwork to form a limited liability company (LLC) in New Hampshire is who will serve as your registered agent. The state requires all LLCs to have one, but what is a registered agent? What are their duties, and what are the requirements one has to meet to be one?
What is a New Hampshire Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company designated by the business to receive important legal documents on behalf of the company. This position is vital because it ensures that the correct people within an LLC are notified in the event of time-sensitive events such as service of process for lawsuits, notices of annual reports, and tax notifications.
Who can be a Registered Agent in New Hampshire?
According to New Hampshire statutes (NH Rev Stat § 304-C:36 ), each limited liability company must have and maintain in the state of New Hampshire a registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business (but must be a physical street address), and a registered agent, who may be:
- An individual who resides in this state and whose residential or business office is identical with the registered office; or
- An authorized corporation whose business office is identical with the registered office; or
- An authorized limited liability company or professional limited liability company whose business office is identical with the registered office; or
- An authorized limited liability partnership whose business office is identical with the registered office.
Should you be your own New Hampshire Registered Agent?
There are definite disadvantages to serving as your own agent, which is why many LLC owners instead use a registered agent service. Here are some reasons to consider hiring a service to act as your registered agent:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This makes it difficult to leave the office to run errands, meet up with potential clients, etc.
- Compliance Reminders – Some registered agent services (like ZenBusiness) provide reminders on upcoming state requirements, such as filing annual report filings. Forgetting compliance obligations can get you in trouble with the state.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for administrative dissolution.
- Avoiding Embarrassment – If a lawsuit is filed against the business and you are the registered agent, you could have papers served to you at your office in front of clients. Obviously, that could be bad for business.
How is a Registered Agent appointed in New Hampshire?
You’ll need to name your registered agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you’ll need to decide who your registered agent or registered agent service will be before you begin that process. Of course, you need to be sure to inform whomever you’re appointing and get their permission to serve in that role.