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How to Start an LLC in New Hampshire

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start an LLC in New Hampshire

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of New England, New Hampshire offers an attractive blend of natural beauty, vibrant communities, and a supportive business environment for entrepreneurs.

The Granite State is rapidly gaining recognition as an ideal location to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC), thanks to its business-friendly policies, absence of sales tax, and commitment to promoting economic growth. If you’re considering setting up an LLC in New Hampshire, you’re in the right place.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll provide you with a roadmap to successfully establish your New Hampshire LLC. We’ll begin by discussing the advantages of an LLC structure and then delve into the specific requirements and procedures unique to the state.

Along the way, we’ll share valuable insights, practical tips, and essential resources to help you navigate the process with ease and confidence.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in the vibrant and opportunity-rich environment of New Hampshire. You can form an LLC by yourself or you can use New Hampshire LLC formation service.

So, let’s get started on your path to launching a thriving LLC in the Granite State.

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Should you find video content more appealing, we’ve provided a comprehensive visual tutorial on creating an LLC in New Hampshire.

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your New Hampshire LLC

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Once you have a few potential names, check the New Hampshire secretary of state’s website to confirm they are available to register.

To search for business entities in New Hampshire, you have several options:

Search by Name:
Start by navigating to the Business Search page and submit your desired name into the search field. You can choose between options such as “Starting With,” “Sounds Like,” “Exact Match,” “All Words,” or “Only Active Corporations.” A list of matching entities will emerge on a secondary page. Click on the highlighted name or business ID to view detailed business information, including filing history.

Search by File Number:
Go to the Business Search page and submit the file number into the provided field. The search will direct you immediately to the business information, as there should only be one file number for each entity on file with the Secretary of State.

Search by Registered Agent:
Submit the name of the individual or entity representing the registered agent into the field on the specified webpage and click Search. The subsequent page will display a list of all agents whose names resemble the one you entered. Click on the name to proceed. On the next page, you’ll see all the businesses that the agent represents in the state, along with basic information about each business. Clicking on a business name will allow you to review detailed entity information.

If you find the name during your search, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and choose a different name.

New Hampshire Business Entity Search

You should also confirm that the name you want to register conforms to New Hampshire regulations on business names.

In New Hampshire, your LLC name must be distinguishable from any other businesses in the state and must contain the words “limited liability company” or the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC” or any other similar abbreviations.

Your business name also must not imply any other business activity than the one you’re legally permitted to engage in or confuse your business with a government entity.

Your business name cannot contain any vulgar language or words like bank or credit union.

It’s also a good idea to check for nationally trademarked names, to ward off any potential problems later if your business expands, and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Consider these additional suggestions when choosing a name for your New Hampshire LLC.

Once you’ve found a name that clears these hurdles, go ahead and reserve the name with this Name Reservation Request form on the secretary of state’s website. 

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

In New Hampshire, your LLC needs to have a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business authorized to accept legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business, and communicate with the state on relevant matters. 

The purpose of a registered agent is to ensure compliance with state laws and make sure official documents are handled in a timely manner. Having one person or entity to handle important documents helps to ensure nothing is missed, helping avoid potential potholes.

In New Hampshire, you can be your own registered agent for your LLC, or it can be another member of the LLC. An individual who is not a member or a professional agency can also serve as the registered agent for your LLC. 

In New Hampshire, the requirements to be a registered agent are:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in the state 
  • Be personally available during normal business hours 
  • If the agent is a business entity, it’s registered to operate in the state

Here’s how to appoint a New Hampshire registered agent for your New Hampshire LLC.

Many LLCs choose a member who is highly involved in the business to be the registered agent, although a registered agent service saves you time and ensures compliance.

Advantages of a Registered Agent Service   

Benefits of the registered agent services

A registered agent service is a professional service that will handle official correspondence and documents for your business. Registered agents ensure that all official correspondence is handled on time and keep copies of documents for you. They also keep track of deadlines and send reminders of things you need to file, such as tax forms and annual reports.

A registered agent service will help keep you in compliance with the law and save you time by keeping track of key documents and filing deadlines. This also frees you up to focus on growing your business. The agency will also offer support if problems or questions come up.

Using an agency enables you to have flexible hours. If you’re your own registered agent, you must be personally available from 8 AM to 5 PM at your registered agent address. If you use an agency, they are available during those hours so that you don’t have to be.

Step 3: Determine Your Management Structure

An LLC offers its owner or owners considerable flexibility in terms of management. You can choose your management and operational structure. 

LLC owners are known as members. In a member-managed LLC, the members run the business. In a manager-managed LLC, non-members are hired to oversee and run the business. 

In a member-managed LLC, members are involved in day-to-day operations. Most LLCs are member-managed because the majority are small businesses that cannot afford to hire a management team. 

Many LLC owners prefer to have a member-managed structure because they want to be in control of decision-making and directly involved in operations. Unlike corporations, most LLCs do not have boards of directors to oversee the management. This means that whoever manages the company is in control of all decisions. 

In New Hampshire, LLCs must specify if they are member-managed or manager-managed when the certificate of formation is filed.

In a manager-managed LLC, non-members are hired as managers. Some members still may be managers alongside the non-member managers, or none of the members can be managers. In this structure, any members who are not managers are passive investors and have no role in the operations of the company. 

This structure works when some or all of the owners want that passive ownership, or if there are a large number of members – too many to all effectively manage the LLC. Another reason to choose a manager-managed structure is when members simply don’t have management skills. 

Having a great business idea and the capital to start a company does not necessarily mean that someone can run a company. In such cases, hiring professional managers can give the company a better chance of success.

Step 4: File a Certificate of Formation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State

To make your LLC official, you’ll need to file a certificate of formation with the state. This is the legal document that officially creates your LLC as a legal entity in New Hampshire. The Certificate of Formation includes information about your LLC, such as its address, owners, registered agent information, and management structure. 

To file this formal legal document, go to the website of the secretary of state, register for an account, and fill out the form. Here are the steps that you need to take to file your New Hampshire Certificate of Formation.

The fee is $100 and you should receive confirmation within seven days.


Step 5: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required in New Hampshire but is highly recommended. It is not filed with the state, but instead kept in your LLC’s records and used to resolve disputes, even in court. 

We offer a free LLC Operating Agreement template for both single member and multi member LLC.

An LLC operating agreement is an important legal document that details who owns the business and provides essential information pertaining to member duties. An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between members and the basics of the working relationships between those members and the managers who oversee daily operations. 

It’s advisable to hire an attorney to ensure your operating agreement is thorough and legally binding. 

The operating agreement should clearly define:

  • The percentage of each member’s interests in the LLC
  • How profits and losses will be allocated to each member
  • Each member’s rights and responsibilities
  • The management structure and management roles of members
  • The voting rights of each member
  • Rules for meetings and voting
  • What happens when a member sells their interest, becomes disabled, or dies

If the LLC has a board of directors, the operating agreement will also include the role and responsibilities of the board members and how they are compensated. 

An LLC operating agreement provides legal and financial recourse for a number of situations. If conflicts arise between LLC owners pertaining to any of the above issues, the operating agreement will provide clarity and guidance. 

Though New Hampshire has default rules on the books that address some of the potential challenges that might arise between LLC members, the LLC operating agreement has the potential to override such presumptions. 

Step 6: Apply for Business Licenses

Business Licenses and Permits

In New Hampshire, forming an LLC doesn’t require a business license, but you’ll need to follow New Hampshire state procedures, as you may need local, state, or federal permits depending on your type of business. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits. Refer to the SBA guide for federal licenses and permits to determine if your business activities are regulated by a federal agency.

New Hampshire doesn’t mandate a general business license for LLCs at the state level.

Nevertheless, if your LLC participates in specific business sectors or professions, you might need to obtain state-level licenses. The New Hampshire state government site has a list of professional licenses, while New Hampshire Employment Security site has a list of licensed, certified and registered occupations.

Additionally, certain counties and municipalities might necessitate business licenses for local operations. To understand the local business license requirements where your business is situated, you can contact authorities at the county or city/town level.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties. If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

We recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

Here are the steps to follow when applying for business licenses in New Hampshire.

Step 7: Obtain an EIN

Your New Hampshire Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is like a social security number for your company, allowing the IRS to easily identify your business. It is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN), or sometimes for corporations it’s called a Tax Identification Number (TIN). 

An EIN is used to identify US businesses and contains information about the state the company is registered in. It also identifies the taxpayers who are required to file tax returns for the business. It is used by employers for filing taxes and is generally required for businesses when they open a business bank account. 

Here are the IRS requirements for obtaining an EIN:

All EIN applications (mail, fax, electronic) must disclose the name and Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or EIN) of the true principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner or trustor. This individual or entity, which the IRS will call the ‘responsible party,’ controls, manages, or directs the applicant entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. Unless the applicant is a government entity, the responsible party must be an individual (i.e., a natural person), not an entity.

The application is free and can be found on the IRS website. The application is form SS-4, and it can be mailed to the IRS or submitted electronically. Once your information on the application has been validated, your EIN is assigned immediately. The EIN will never expire, and is never duplicated, even if you go out of business.

Next Steps

Opening a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

In New Hampshire, banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN, Certificate of Formation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Getting Small Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Decision on LLC Tax Status

LLCs are unique in terms of taxation as their owners have a choice about how the company will be taxed. By default, an LLC is taxed like a sole proprietorship if it has one member and a partnership if it has more than one member.

In both cases, business income “passes through” to the members, while profits and losses are reported on their individual tax returns. The LLC itself is not taxed, which simplifies the process for members. Also, losses and operating costs of the business can be deducted personally by the members. Taxes are paid at the personal tax rate of the members, although the owners may also have to pay self-employment taxes. 

Note that a multi-member LLC must also file form 1065 with the IRS, which is the U.S. Return of Partnership Income. Attached to this will be form K-1s for each member showing their share of the business income.

But LLCs owners can instead choose to be taxed as a corporation. To do so, the LLC must file a document, referred to as an election, with the IRS. The LLC must then decide if it wishes to be taxed as an S corporation or a C corporation.

C-Corp status means profits are taxed at the current rate for corporations (21% as of early 2022), which is significantly lower than the typical individual taxpayer rate. But keep in mind, C-Corp shareholders, which includes members, must also pay taxes on their distributions (but not self-employment taxes). Thus, the C-Corp is subject to what is sometimes referred to as double taxation. 

As with sole proprietorship and partnership status, S-Corp taxation considers the LLC a pass-through entity, which means income passes through the company and into the hands of the owners. At this point, taxes are applied at the same rate as those of individual taxpayers.

S-Corps use Form 1120S to file their taxes, which is used to report the income, losses, and dividends of shareholders. S-Corp shareholders do not pay self-employment taxes, which is the primary advantage of S-Corp status compared to sole proprietorship or partnership. 

Generally, S-Corp tax status is beneficial if the company is profitable enough to pay the owners a salary and at least $10,000 in annual distributions so the owners can be taxed as employees and not pay self-employment taxes. It costs more to run an S-Corp than an LLC due to additional bookkeeping and payroll expenses. Thus, the tax benefits should be more than the additional costs for an S-Corp status to make financial sense. 

LLC tax classification

File Annual Reports 

In New Hampshire, LLCs need to file a New Hampshire annual report to remain in good standing. The annual report will just confirm your business information. The fee to file an annual report is $100.


Starting an LLC in New Hampshire is a straightforward process, but it does take time and involves several filing fees. Here are the costs associated with starting an LLC in New Hampshire. To make sure you’re in full compliance with the law, you might want to consult an attorney or hire an online LLC formation service. The last thing you want is for your newly created LLC to run afoul of the law and face fines or other restrictions.

New Hampshire LLC FAQs

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

The fee to register an LLC in New Hampshire is $100. You may also need various business licenses and permits that will require additional fees.

How long does it take for an LLC to be approved in New Hampshire?

If you register your LLC in New Hampshire online, it should be approved within 7 days. If you file by mail, it can take 3 to 4 weeks.

Is there an annual fee for LLCs in New Hampshire?

You’re required to file an annual report in New Hampshire for your LLC. The fee to file the report is $100.


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How to Start an LLC in New Hampshire