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Forming an LLC in New Hampshire

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are a popular business structure among small businesses. To start one, forms must be filed with an appropriate state government agency. For example, in New Hampshire, you can create a limited liability company by filing the certificate of formation with the Corporation Division of the New Hampshire Secretary of State Department. After the filing, there are several more steps to take and obligations to fulfill.

If you fail to meet the requirements of state LLC laws, you could end up facing legal penalties, or worse—your business entity could be dissolved. To avoid these pitfalls, familiarize yourself with the requirements and steps to form and maintain an LLC in New Hampshire before you start the process.

We make business formation EASY. Learn about our DIY business formation services here.

Steps To Start an LLC in New Hampshire

Step 1: Name Your New Hampshire LLC

You'll need to pick a name for your business that attracts potential customers to your products and services and meets state law requirements. Keep both of these considerations in mind as you begin the process of brainstorming and making a list of potential names.

You'll want to have a list of several potential names because a name that you like may not be available. Because your New Hampshire LLC name must be distinguishable from all other names on file with the Secretary of State, you must conduct a name search to determine name availability. If a name on your list is already taken, you need to choose a different name. You risk rejection if you attempt to register an LLC name that's already taken by another business.

Additionally, your LLC name must include the term "limited liability company" or an abbreviation thereof. Don't include any entity designator that would mislead the public about the type of entity you have. Also, don't use any words or phrases that suggest that your business is a governmental agency. Don't use any restricted words, such as "bank" or "attorney," unless you have the appropriate licenses or approvals.

Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent

You're required by law to appoint a registered agent to handle service of process for your company. The registered agent could be a person or a company, so long as they're available during regular business hours and they have a physical street address in the state of New Hampshire. You can appoint someone within your company, but it's typically best to select an individual outside the company or use a registered agent service.

Step 3: File Your New Hampshire Certificate of Formation

The certificate of formation, commonly referred to as "articles of organization" in other states, is the document that creates your LLC. The New Hampshire certificate of formation must be filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State onlineby mail, or in person.

Be prepared to provide the following information when you file your certificate of formation:

  • LLC name
  • LLC address
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Purpose of the business

The filing fee for a New Hampshire certificate of formation is $100 (with an additional $2 processing charge for online filings). If your filing is approved, you'll need to keep up with the deadlines for annual reports to keep your LLC in compliance with state law. New Hampshire annual reports are due by April 1 each year.

Step 4: Draft an LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are important internal documents for LLCs. Although they're not filed with the state, they can be helpful during disputes in your organization.

Don't forget to include provisions relating to members' rights and responsibilities, voting procedures, ownership, and liabilities. Without these provisions in your operating agreement, state law rules will apply if a conflict arises.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Getting an EIN (Employer Identification Number) is required for most new businesses. You need to get this number for identification purposes. It's like a social security number but for your business.

Getting an EIN is easy and free. You can apply online on the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) website.

Step 6: Get a Business Bank Account

You'll need to keep your business and personal funds separate. This is important because you could lose your personal asset protection if you don't keep business funds separate from your personal funds. This would mean that you could lose your personal assets, such as a house or car if someone sues your business over a debt or obligation.

Make sure you get a bank account dedicated solely to your business and also get a credit card or debit card for expenses. It will make accounting and tax preparation more manageable, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About New Hampshire LLC Formation

1. How much does it cost to form a New Hampshire limited liability company?

The filing fee is $100, and you could owe an additional fee for reserving your business name before filing (if you choose to do so).

2. How do I handle business licenses and permits for my LLC?

You'll need to contact local and state licensing agencies to find out what licenses or permits you might need for your type of business. Some licenses or permits are industry-specific, so it's vital to get information about your specific type of business requirements.

3. How do I handle business taxes for an LLC?

Contact the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration office for detailed information about state income tax.

4. How long does it take to form an LLC in New Hampshire?

After filing your certificate of formation in New Hampshire, it could take 3-7 business days to process your online filing. If you file by mail, it could take up to three weeks.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Get Help Starting Your New Hampshire LLC

Fortunately, forming an LLC can be a straightforward process with FindLaw’s Business Formation Service. If you have questions, reach out to a local business organizations attorney and receive some guidance getting your New Hampshire LLC off the ground.

Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links listed below.

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