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A registered agent is a person or company that accepts official documents on behalf of a company. Every New Hampshire company, whether its a partnership, LLC, or a corporation, must select a registered agent when establishing a business in the state. 

A registered agent should be someone you trust, whether that’s yourself, a company employee, or a professional registered agent service, the choice is yours. 

To help entrepreneurs establish a business in New Hampshire and select a qualified registered agent, this guide should help. It’s full of educational information meant to ease the process of launching a new business.

How is an LLC formed in New Hampshire?

A Certificate of Formation is filed with the New Hampshire Department of State to officially establish a company. However, there are a few things an owner must do before and after filing this document with the state. Follow these steps to set up an LLC in New Hampshire:

1. Name the company

The company name must be original. In other words, there can’t be another company in the entire state with the same name. To see if the name you like is already in use, check the New Hampshire Department of State website and run a business name search.

Company names can also be reserved for a period of 120 days for a fee of $15. 

The State of New Hampshire follows the same naming rules as other states. Those rules include: 

  • The company name must include “Limited Liability Company” in its title or the abbreviation “LLC.”
  • The name must not be confused for a government agency and shouldn’t include any references to the government. (A company name can’t include FBI, for example).
  • There are some names that may require additional approval from state officials to make sure the company isn’t making false claims to the public. 

Once you’ve selected a name that meets all of these guidelines, it’s also a good time to see if a domain name is available. Most companies want the company name and the domain name to match. Check the availability of domain names before registering it with the state. 

2. Pick a registered agent

A registered agent is a person or company that accepts documents on behalf of a company. This person will likely receive sensitive information like tax notices or service of process papers, which are filed during a lawsuit. 

A registered agent doesn’t collect a company’s mail. The registered agent only receives important documents that are sent in an official capacity, like from the government or a lawyer. 

A registered agent should be someone you trust. A reliable registered agent service is also an option.

3. File the Certificate of Formation

With a company name selected and a registered agent in mind, it’s time to go ahead with the Certificate of Formation documents. This document will legally establish a business in the State of New Hampshire. 

The Certificate of Formation will ask for the company name, the company address, the registered agent’s name, the registered agent’s address, the start date of the company, a list of services or products that it will offer the public, and a list of managing members. The LLC organizer, which is usually the owner, must sign and submit the documents. 

The cost to file this document with the New Hampshire Department of State is $100. It can be filed online or by mail. The cost is $100 regardless of how it’s filed.  

Once approved by the state, your company is officially established in New Hampshire.

4. Create a company operating agreement

Before opening your doors to the public, it’s a good idea to create an operating agreement. While the State of New Hampshire doesn’t require this, it’s still a good idea to have one on file. This agreement is meant to explain how the company will run, who’s responsible for certain actions, how the decision-making process works, and how profits and losses are doled out.  

For those who aren’t sure how to create this document, there are several templates online that you can use for direction and guidance.

5. Obtain an EIN

Before doing any official business action, like opening a bank account or paying an employee, you need an EIN or an employer identification number. This nine-digit number is issued by the IRS in a five-minute online process. Simply visit the IRS website to obtain your EIN in minutes. 

6. File an annual report

New Hampshire, like most states, requires LLCs to file an annual report. The report is due by April 1 each year. The fee to file this report is $100.

What is a New Hampshire registered agent?

A New Hampshire registered agent is a person or company that serves as an official point of contact for a business. This person could receive documents like tax notices or legal correspondence. 

The owner selects the registered agent for the company. The owner can serve as the registered agent, but so can another employee, a friend, or even a family member. A registered agent service can be hired to fill this role too.

Do I really need a registered agent in New Hampshire?

Yes. The State of New Hampshire requires every LLC to list the name and address of a registered agent on its LLC formation documents.

Can I be my own registered agent in New Hampshire?

Yes. The owner can be the company’s registered agent, which is fairly common. The owner can also select another person like an employee or friend, or another company like a registered agent service.

Who can be a registered agent in New Hampshire? 

In New Hampshire, there are some rules regarding who can and can’t be a registered agent. A registered agent can be any resident or company in the state that maintains a physical street address. The person or company must be available during regular business hours and be willing to accept documents via postal mail or in-person deliveries.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

A registered agent service comes with a lot of benefits. A service will collect documents for the company and notify the owner when they come in. Here’s a look at why some entrepreneurs are willing to pay a few bucks for this service:

  • ConvenienceSome owners simply don’t want to handle this job. A registered agent must always be ready to accept documents even though it might only happen a few times a year. They prefer, for convenience, to have a company take on the responsibility.  
  • Peace of mindA registered agent service provides peace of mind. The owner knows that a company is ready and willing to accept documents at all times and he or she will be notified if it happens.
  • AvailabilityA registered agent service is open during normal business hours. This kind of availability might not be obtainable for an owner. Maybe an owner travels a lot, for instance, and isn’t in one place all the time to receive documents.
  • PrivacySome of the documents that a registered agent receives are confidential. If your company is sued, for example, the service of process paperwork is “served” offsite when a registered agent service is in place. It provides an extra layer of privacy that some owners prefer.

List of New Hampshire registered agent services 

There are many qualified registered agents in the State of New Hampshire. Here’s a look at three registered agent services that are available in the state. Each of these companies offers services in addition to registered agent services that may be helpful.

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Northwest is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but they’ve grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company offers worry-free compliance too, to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Incfile: Incfile is another trusted name for business services, including its registered agent services. Business owners can get a registered agent free for a year. That’s right, free. After the first year, the price kicks in at $119. An online dashboard, automatic mail forwarding, and tailored notifications also come with the service.

How much does a registered agent service cost in New Hampshire?

Cost is a concern for every business owner. However, the cost of a registered agent service isn’t as expensive as you might think. A registered agent service with basic mail forwarding features costs about $50 a year. 

There are companies that offer more services that coincide with the registered agent’s tasks, like assistance filing annual reports. Companies that offer advanced features like this are more expensive. Expect to pay between $100-200 for companies with extensive business services. 

How does an owner select a registered agent in New Hampshire?

Selecting a New Hampshire registered agent is done by listing the person or company on the LLC formation documents. In time, the registered agent can change. If that’s the case, an update must be filed with the state. 

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. There is a change form that can be filed with the New Hampshire Department of State, Corporate Division to update a registered agent’s name, address, or both. 

There are many reasons to update or change your company’s registered agent. Perhaps the employee who holds this position is retiring or maybe the friend that’s serving as the company’s registered agent is moving. No matter what the reason is, the change form should be filed with the state.

The form can be filled out online and submitted digitally. There is a $15 fee to file. 

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another name for a registered agent. The name differs by state. Other names include service of process agent or resident agent. 

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial agent is a registered agent service. A non-commercial agent is a person like an owner or an employee that holds the position.