How to Start an LLC in New Hampshire (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in New Hampshire? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Certificate of Formation with the Department of State ($100 processing fee).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized New Hampshire LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in New Hampshire in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in New Hampshire, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
- Name Your New Hampshire LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the Certificate of Formation
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your New Hampshire LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your New Hampshire LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under New Hampshire law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for New Hampshire LLCs:
- Your name must contain the words “limited liability company” or a suitable abbreviation (e.g., “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” etc.).
- Your name must be distinguishable from all business names that have been registered with the New Hampshire Department of State.
- Your name cannot contain language that implies that it has been organized for a purpose that is not permitted by its Certificate of Formation.
- Your name cannot include words that suggest that your LLC is affiliated with or sponsored by a state or federal body (e.g., State Department, FBI, etc.).
For more information, have a look at New Hampshire’s statutory naming guidelines for LLCs.
2. Is the name available in New Hampshire?
To check whether your desired name has already been taken by another business entity in New Hampshire, you can perform a business search on the New Hampshire Department of State’s website.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 120 days. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a $15 filing fee in order to do this.
For more information, you can have a look at our New Hampshire LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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If you need additional information before getting started, you can have a look at our in-depth comparison of the Best LLC Services in 2024 instead.
FAQ: Naming a New Hampshire LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while still providing legal protection for your personal assets. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the New Hampshire LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a trade name in New Hampshire, also known as a DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in New Hampshire
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a New Hampshire registered agent. This is a necessary step in your Certificate of Formation (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC with the Department of State).
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business’s primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of New Hampshire or a corporation that is authorized to transact business in the state. As a small business owner, you can elect to act as your own registered agent, use an LLC member, hire a business attorney, or work with a registered agent service.
Keep in mind that your registered agent will need to have a registered street address that will be used for in-hand service of process deliveries. A P.O. box will not be accepted.
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes, but you’ll need to be a resident of the state of New Hampshire.
Keep in mind that using your home address is generally not recommended as this will become publicly available.
Read more about being your own registered agent.
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
Step 3: File the New Hampshire LLC Certificate of Formation
To register your New Hampshire LLC, you will need to file the Certificate of Formation with the New Hampshire Corporation Division. You can do this by mail or with the online portal.
Before filing, you will need to have completed your Certificate of Formation correctly. We recommend having the following information on hand:
- The name of your LLC
- Your LLC’s principal office address, business phone number, and business email
- Your LLC’s purpose and applicable NAICS Code
- The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent
- The manager and/or member information of your LLC
File the Certificate of Formation
OPTION 1: File Online With NH QuickStartFile Online
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by MailDownload Form
Fee: $100, payable to the "State of New Hampshire."
Corporation Division, NH Dept. of State
107 N. Main St., Rm. 204
Concord, NH 03301
For help with completing the form, visit our New Hampshire Certificate of Formation guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of New Hampshire, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).
New Hampshire NAICS Requirement
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) consists of six-digit codes given to a business depending on the type of trade it engages in. When filing the New Hampshire LLC formation documents, you are required to include your NAICS code.
You can look up the NAICS code for your type of business by using our NAICS Code Lookup Tool.
FAQ: Filing New Hampshire LLC Documents
According to the New Hampshire Secretary of State, the processing time for Certificate of Formation filings is between seven and ten business days after the document has been received.
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
The cost of filing your formation documents – known as the Certificate of Formation – with the Department of State is $100, regardless of whether you file online or via mail.
Having said that, your total LLC formation cost may be higher depending on how you go about filing.
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a New Hampshire LLC.
Step 4: Create a New Hampshire LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for a New Hampshire Limited Liability Company (LLC), but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our New Hampshire LLC operating agreement guide.
FAQ: Creating a New Hampshire LLC Operating Agreement
No. The New Hampshire LLC operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your New Hampshire LLC
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your EIN application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
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Maintain Your New Hampshire LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:
- Filing an annual report
- Sorting out your taxes
We’ve broken down how to complete each of these steps in greater detail below.
File the Annual Report
New Hampshire requires all LLCs based in the state to file an annual report and pay a $100 fee. The purpose of this report is to keep the government updated with information about your LLC, such as its current legal name, address, and officers.
This annual report is due on or before the first day of the fourth month following the end of your fiscal year, and can be submitted to the Department of State either online or by mail. If the annual report is not filed by this deadline, your LLC will need to pay a $50 penalty for the first month the report is late and an additional $25 for each subsequent month.
Note: In addition to the penalties mentioned above, you also risk your LLC being administratively dissolved by the Department of State if you fail to file the annual report on time.
Sort Out Your Business Taxes
Regardless of where your LLC is registered, you will be required to pay certain federal taxes. This includes corporation and employer taxes (for LLCs filing as a C corporation), and federal income tax and self-employment taxes (for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities).
While New Hampshire doesn’t have any local or state sales taxes, there are a number of other taxes your LLC may be required to pay at both of these levels depending on your business’s nature.
Below are some of the most common taxes in New Hampshire:
Business Profits Tax
In New Hampshire, the Business Profits Tax (BPT) of 7.60% is imposed on your LLCs gross income over $92,000, though is planned to drop to a rate of 7.50% starting in 2024.
Depending on how much your LLC owes in BPT, it will need to pay this tax in one of two ways:
- Quarterly estimated payments: LLCs that owe more than $200 in BPT must make estimated payments on a quarterly basis using Form NH-1065-ES. The due dates for estimated payments are April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15.
- Annual payment: LLCs owing less than $200 in BPT are instead able to file on an annual basis using Form NH-1065. You’ll need to submit this return and settle your LLC’s BPT bill on or before the due date for your federal income tax return.
If your LLC fails to file your BPT returns or pay this tax on time, it may be subject to penalties. These penalties can include interest, late payment fees, and penalties for failure to file.
Note: You can register for and pay the BPT using the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (NHDRA) Granite Tax Connect platform.
Business Enterprise Tax
In addition to the Business Profits Tax, businesses with a “taxable nexus” (i.e., a legal connection) to New Hampshire will be required to pay Business Entity Tax (BET) if they generate $250,000 or more in annual gross receipts.
This tax is levied at a rate of 0.55% on "the sum of all compensation paid or accrued, interest paid or accrued, and dividends paid by the business enterprise, after special adjustments and apportionment." If your LLC's estimated tax liability exceeds $260, you are required to file on a quarterly basis; otherwise, the filing is due annually. You need to use Form BET-80 to submit a return, which can be done either online or by mail.
Note: Even if your LLC does not meet the filing threshold, it will need to file a Form BT-Summary by the date your business’s federal income tax return is due. If you fail to do this, the NHDRA will assume your LLC is to file a BET return.
Interest and Dividends Tax
In New Hampshire, LLCs are required to pay Interest and Dividends (I&D) tax each year on any gross income from interest or dividend income that exceeds $2,400. For the current taxable period, this tax is imposed at a rate of 4%. This is planned to decrease to 3% after December 31, 2024, and eventually be repealed entirely by December 31, 2025.
The I&D Tax is due on the same date as the taxpayer's federal income tax return using Form DP-10. If your LLC’s I&D tax liability exceeds $500, it will need to pay estimated tax payments equal to 25% of its total bill by January 15, April 15, June 15, and September 15 of the current calendar year. This is done using Form DP-10-ES.
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort out any necessary business licenses, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.