Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the New Hampshire Secretary of State website has the information you are looking for.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information on sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in New Hampshire.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Management Style – Used for LLCs, choices would either be Member-Managed or Member-Managed.
- Business Creation Date – Date the entity formally started.
- Principal Office Address – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Business Status – Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Expired”, “Withdrawn”, “Admin Dissolution”, or “Dissolved” The names of these results may be available to register.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- You also have access to the Certificate of Formation (LLC), Articles of Incorporation (Corporation) and Annual Reports.
How to do a New Hampshire Business Name Search
Visit the New Hampshire Secretary of State website.
Enter the name you would like to use under the “Search for a Business Name”. In this example, we will look up “Lawn Envy”.
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn Envy”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in New Hampshire, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If your search comes up with a business name that is exactly like the one you want, be sure to look at the last column named “Status”. If it says anything other than “Good Standing” you may be able to register it.
In this example, if you were looking to form an LLC named Lawn Envy name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Business Name” column to see a detailed report. In this example, we will look up “Lawn Envy LLC”.
While the name “Lawn Envy” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Lawn Envy of New Hampshire” or “Lawn Envy Pros” are. Searching for those business names, brings a result that says “There were no records found”. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in New Hampshire. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an New Hampshire LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Certificate of Formation.
While not required in New Hampshire, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, New Hampshire business licenses and permits may still be necessary.