Our picks for LLC formation services

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FAQs

Can I operate an LLC in New Hampshire under a different name from the registered business name?

Yes, you can operate under a different name by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Some states call this a trade name. This allows your LLC to conduct business under a trade name, separate from the official registered name.

What is the difference between a member-managed LLC and a manager-managed LLC?

In a member-managed LLC, all members (owners) actively participate in the business’s daily operations. In contrast, a manager-managed LLC designates one or more managers (who can be members or outsiders) to handle the operations, while other members are not involved in day-to-day management.

What tax advantages does an LLC offer in New Hampshire?

LLCs, like all businesses in New Hampshire, benefit from no state income tax on personal income, which can be advantageous for pass-through taxation where business profits pass directly to owners’ personal tax returns. There is also no sales tax for them to pay.

How do I maintain good standing with New Hampshire for my LLC?

To maintain good standing, your LLC must comply with New Hampshire regulations by filing annual reports, renewing any necessary licenses and permits, and fulfilling tax obligations. Consistent record-keeping and timely submissions are essential to avoid penalties and maintain your business’s legal status.

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When starting a new company, choosing a business entity is the most important decision that the founders must make. For most businesses with more than one founding member, forming as an LLC is often the best option for a number of reasons.

An LLC is an uncomplicated business structure that affords business owners legal protection by separating personal assets from business debts. Moreover, LLCs often enjoy a lower tax rate than corporations. Nevertheless, creating an LLC can get complicated depending on where you are based, with the formation process, filing fees, and continuing legal obligations differing from state to state.

Forming an LLC in New Hampshire does not impose any unusual requirements on the part of its founders, so starting a business in the state should not prove especially difficult.

1. Select a name for your New Hampshire LLC

Follow naming requirements

There are two major guidelines to follow when naming your LLC in the state of New Hampshire:

  1. An LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of existing businesses on file with the New Hampshire Secretary of State Corporation Division.
  2. An LLC’s name must contain “Limited Liability Company”, “L.L.C.”, or a similar abbreviation at the end.

Need help coming up with a business name? Check out our free business name generator.

Determine the availability of your LLC name

After picking a name that complies with state rules, make sure it is available to use in New Hampshire by performing a search with the New Hampshire Secretary of State Business Search.

Reserve your LLC name with the Secretary of State

It’s a good idea to reserve your chosen LLC name with the New Hampshire Secretary of State to ensure that another business entity doesn’t take it before you file your Certificate of Formation. You can reserve a name for up to 120 days by filing an Application for Reservation of Name.

Filing can be done online or by postal mail with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $15.

2. Designate a registered agent

As in every U.S. state, forming an LLC in New Hampshire requires the appointment of a registered agent service to handle state and federal legal documents and service of process on the business’s behalf. The registered agent must either be a state resident or business entity with a street address in New Hampshire OR if the individual or business is based out-of-state, they must have a business office in New Hampshire.

Our picks of the best registered agent services

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Starting a business requires a lot of state-mandated paperwork, which can be confusing for new business owners. Northwest offers business services that can help entrepreneurs find the right documentation, fill it out, and file it on time with the right government agency. In addition to helping you set up an LLC, Northwest has a host of additional services, like registered agent services, that new owners will find useful too.
  • ZenBusiness: There’s no need to stress about filing paperwork when you work with ZenBusiness. This company offers a great variety of LLC services, the focus of which is to ensure your business is set up correctly with the proper paperwork filled out and delivered to the right branch of your state government. Of course, ZenBusiness does charge for their services, but customers say they get the most bang for their buck.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

FAQs

Can I operate an LLC in New Hampshire under a different name from the registered business name?

Yes, you can operate under a different name by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Some states call this a trade name. This allows your LLC to conduct business under a trade name, separate from the official registered name.

What is the difference between a member-managed LLC and a manager-managed LLC?

In a member-managed LLC, all members (owners) actively participate in the business’s daily operations. In contrast, a manager-managed LLC designates one or more managers (who can be members or outsiders) to handle the operations, while other members are not involved in day-to-day management.

What tax advantages does an LLC offer in New Hampshire?

LLCs, like all businesses in New Hampshire, benefit from no state income tax on personal income, which can be advantageous for pass-through taxation where business profits pass directly to owners’ personal tax returns. There is also no sales tax for them to pay.

How do I maintain good standing with New Hampshire for my LLC?

To maintain good standing, your LLC must comply with New Hampshire regulations by filing annual reports, renewing any necessary licenses and permits, and fulfilling tax obligations. Consistent record-keeping and timely submissions are essential to avoid penalties and maintain your business’s legal status.

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3. File a Certificate of Formation

An LLC is formed in New Hampshire through the filing of a Certificate of Formation of New Hampshire Limited Liability Company with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

The Certificate of Organization must include the following details:

  • LLC name, office address, email address, and phone number
  • Registered agent name and address
  • The nature of the LLC’s business
  • Whether the LLC is member-run or manager-run
  • A list with all LLC members and/or managers
  • An LLC member or manager’s signature

The certificate may be filed online or printed and mailed to the Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is $100 and a credit card is the preferred payment option.

4. Create an operating agreement

Although not a legally mandated step for forming an LLC in New Hampshire, drafting a comprehensive LLC operating agreement is strongly recommended for all nascent limited liability companies.

The operating agreement should do the following:

  1. Describe the LLC’s business structure
  2. Establish the individual responsibilities and obligations of LLC members
  3. Detail how the LLC will be run

Without an operating agreement clarifying the specific duties of its members, an LLC may face significant legal and operational difficulties.

5. Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) 

All newly formed LLCs in the United States must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (with the exception of single-member LLCs). The nine-digit EIN is like a social security number for a business and is necessary to pay income tax, file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and perform many other important functions.

You can apply for an EIN online on the IRS website without paying a filing fee.

6. Fulfill your legal obligations

Forming an LLC is just the beginning; you will need to maintain the LLC according to state and federal law to avoid fines or dissolution. Each New Hampshire business will have its own set of requirements, but some of the most universal are below.

File Annual Reports

In New Hampshire, LLCs are required to file annual reports to maintain good standing with the state. This report is due by April 1st of each year and can be filed online through the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s website, or via mail. There is a $100 filing fee.

The process involves updating any changes to the business’s contact information, management structure, or registered agent details. However, if there have been no changes, New Hampshire also offers a one-click option to make the process simpler.

Obtain business licenses and permits

While some states require a general business license for all LLCs, that is not the case in New Hampshire. All licenses and permits are based on the specifics of your business, so it is important to know exactly what your business needs before beginning operations. For example, any LLC that provides room rentals, meals, or vehicle rentals will have to pay the Meals and Rooms (Rentals) tax.

You can find information on the different required taxes on the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) website.

  • Business tax license: New Hampshire does not have any state or local sales tax, so there is also no seller’s permit required of all LLCs. However, businesses in certain industries will still need to have tax licensure.
  • Occupational licenses: Certain types of businesses and professions have their own licensing requirements that ensure services offered are being regulated. This may apply to providers like barbers and hairstylists or to professional service providers like lawyers and doctors.
  • Local licenses: Individual cities and towns can set their own requirements for businesses, including licensing, permitting, and zoning regulations. Be sure to understand any applicable rules for your business’s location and have the proper formation documents in place.

The New Hampshire Occupational Licensing Information System lists information on what professions need these licenses and how to obtain them. For information on local licensing requirements, contact a city or county clerk in the area where your LLC is based.

Understand state taxes

Usually, LLCs are treated as pass-through entities by default, though you can opt to be treated as a corporation. Pass-through entities allow all profits and losses to avoid corporate tax rates, instead treating them as personal income for each owner and taxing them at personal income tax rates. This is true for federal and state taxes.

However, New Hampshire does not have a personal income tax. Instead, the net profits of businesses are subject to the Business Profits Tax (BPT), which is assessed on any income derived from conducting business in New Hampshire.

  • New Hampshire tax rates: The current BPT rate is a flat 7.5% of all income derived from conducting business activity in the state.
  • Self-employment taxes: LLC owners are considered self-employed for tax purposes, which comes with its own set of tax obligations. To make Medicare and Social Security contributions, LLC owners pay a 15.3% self-employment tax in federal tax filings.
  • LLCs with employees: Not all LLCs have employees, but if yours does, another layer of tax responsibility comes into play. Employers are responsible for withholding taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.

Your LLC must be registered with the Department of Revenue Administration to pay any state taxes, including the BPT. This can be done online at no cost.

Understand BOI reporting

The Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Reporting Rules, initiated by the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), took effect on January 1, 2024. Under these regulations, a variety of business entities such as corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and similar organizations that are established or registered to operate in the United States are required to disclose information regarding their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This mandate is part of a broader effort to enhance transparency and combat financial crimes.

Filing deadlines:

The new regulations outline specific reporting deadlines for companies based on their date of establishment or registration:

  • Entities that existed before the beginning of 2024 are required to submit their initial reports by the end of that calendar year.
  • Businesses established or registered after the start of 2024 must file their report within 90 days of receiving their official business formation notice.
  • Companies registering in 2025 and beyond have a 30-day window from their registration date to submit their report.
  • All submissions must be completed digitally through FinCEN’s dedicated Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) reporting system.

Learn more about BOI Reporting.

LegalZoom can help you file a compliant and stress-free BOI Report for only $149.

FAQs

Can I operate an LLC in New Hampshire under a different name from the registered business name?

Yes, you can operate under a different name by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Some states call this a trade name. This allows your LLC to conduct business under a trade name, separate from the official registered name.

What is the difference between a member-managed LLC and a manager-managed LLC?

In a member-managed LLC, all members (owners) actively participate in the business’s daily operations. In contrast, a manager-managed LLC designates one or more managers (who can be members or outsiders) to handle the operations, while other members are not involved in day-to-day management.

What tax advantages does an LLC offer in New Hampshire?

LLCs, like all businesses in New Hampshire, benefit from no state income tax on personal income, which can be advantageous for pass-through taxation where business profits pass directly to owners’ personal tax returns. There is also no sales tax for them to pay.

How do I maintain good standing with New Hampshire for my LLC?

To maintain good standing, your LLC must comply with New Hampshire regulations by filing annual reports, renewing any necessary licenses and permits, and fulfilling tax obligations. Consistent record-keeping and timely submissions are essential to avoid penalties and maintain your business’s legal status.

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how to start an llc step by step infographic

Post LLC tasks

Set up business bank accounts

Setting up a business bank account is a crucial step for any LLC, primarily to ensure financial and legal separation between personal and business finances. This distinction is vital for maintaining the personal liability protection that an LLC structure provides. A dedicated business account also simplifies accounting practices, making it easier to track business expenses, manage cash flow, and prepare for taxes.

For LLC owners exploring banking solutions, platforms like Found, Relay, and Mercury stand out as excellent options. These services are specifically tailored to meet the demands of small businesses, offering advantages such as online banking, minimal fees, and a suite of tools that simplify financial management.

Whether it’s through seamless transaction handling, easy integration with accounting software, or cost-effective management of financial resources, these platforms provide robust support for emerging and established businesses alike.

Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing

New Hampshire offers LLCs a document called a Certificate of Good Standing. While this is not mandatory, many businesses choose to have it in case a bank or vendor requires it.

  • What it is: The Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your LLC remains in good standing with the state of New Hampshire. This means that all required documents and fees have been filed with the appropriate offices and that there are no outstanding reports or tax payments due.
  • How to get it: To obtain this certificate, businesses must go through the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Corporation Division. When done online, there is a $5 fee and a credit card processing fee. You can also request the certificate via mail, or in person for an expediting fee of $25.

Build a website 

A website is not just a marketing tool; it’s a fundamental aspect of modern business operations that can significantly enhance reach and impact. With a new LLC, starting a website can allow you to advertise your services and attract clients before you have even opened.

If you aren’t sure where to start, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a domain name that fits your business and purchase the rights to it.
  2. Sign up for website hosting.
  3. Choose a site builder, like GoDaddy or Domain.com, that lets you easily build a website using templates.
  4. Create content that appeals to your clients and allows them to contact you. This can include e-commerce if you’d like.
  5. Review your site and publish it.

Costs to set up an LLC in New Hampshire

When planning to start your New Hampshire LLC, it’s important to consider what costs you are responsible for at the beginning. While this can vary based on your business, here are some of the most common.

  • Incorporation fees: The primary cost is the state fee associated with filing your New Hampshire Certificate of Formation, which is done through the New Hampshire Secretary of State. This can be done online for $102, or $100 for mail LLC filing. You can also choose to go to the Concord, NH 03301 capital office in person and file that way, which will cost an additional $25 for expedited processing.
  • Annual Report filing fee: Each year, between January 1st and April 1st, LLCs in New Hampshire are required to file an annual report. Most business owners do this online via the New Hampshire Secretary of State, or it can be done by mail, with a $100 filing fee either way.
  • Registered agent services fees: A registered agent service, while not mandatory, usually begins at $50 annually and can help maintain compliance with other state laws.

Foreign LLC registration

An LLC formed in another state that intends to do business in New Hampshire must register with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

Follow these steps to do business in New Hampshire as a foreign LLC:

  1. Comply with New Hampshire LLC naming guidelines and confirm that your LLC name is available in the state using the New Hampshire Secretary of State Business Search.
  2. Appoint a New Hampshire registered agent.
  3. File an Application for Registration of Foreign Limited Liability Company with the New Hampshire Secretary of State online or by postal mail. The filing fee is $100. The application must be accompanied by either a Certificate of Existence or a Certificate of Good Standing from the LLC’s state of origin that is dated no more than 60 days before the date of its filing with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

FAQs

Can I operate an LLC in New Hampshire under a different name from the registered business name?

Yes, you can operate under a different name by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Some states call this a trade name. This allows your LLC to conduct business under a trade name, separate from the official registered name.

What is the difference between a member-managed LLC and a manager-managed LLC?

In a member-managed LLC, all members (owners) actively participate in the business’s daily operations. In contrast, a manager-managed LLC designates one or more managers (who can be members or outsiders) to handle the operations, while other members are not involved in day-to-day management.

What tax advantages does an LLC offer in New Hampshire?

LLCs, like all businesses in New Hampshire, benefit from no state income tax on personal income, which can be advantageous for pass-through taxation where business profits pass directly to owners’ personal tax returns. There is also no sales tax for them to pay.

How do I maintain good standing with New Hampshire for my LLC?

To maintain good standing, your LLC must comply with New Hampshire regulations by filing annual reports, renewing any necessary licenses and permits, and fulfilling tax obligations. Consistent record-keeping and timely submissions are essential to avoid penalties and maintain your business’s legal status.

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