The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses.  The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in New Hampshire without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC in New Hampshire can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own.  That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more.  There are companies like IncFile or Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.

To form a Limited Liability Company in New Hampshire, file the Certificate of Formation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.  The LLC filing fee is $125 when filing in person, $102 when filing online and $100 when filing by mail.

Approval for the LLC typically takes less than 2 hours when filing in person, one week when filing online and up to 3 weeks when filing by mail.

If you have questions, contact the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
603-271-3246

HOW TO FILE THE CERTIFICATE OF FORMATION AND FORM A NEW HAMPSHIRE LLC

The steps for filing in person, online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots will show how to file online.

Create an Account with the Secretary of State

How to Form an LLC in New Hampshire

  •  After the account is created, log in to the site.

Create the LLC

  • First, click on “Create a New Business”.

NH LLC - Create a New Business

  • Then select “I am creating a new Domestic Business/Trade Name (D/B/A).  A new menu will appear where you will choose “Limited Liability Company”.

New Hampshire Creating a new LLC

Article First: Business Name

Enter the name you want for the LLC.  The name of the LLC also has to differ from other entity names registered with the Secretary of State.  Check on available New Hampshire LLC names before filing to be sure the one you want is available.

Additionally, the name of the LLC must include one of the following designators at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • or similar abbreviations

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.

New Hampshire LLC Name Registration

Business Name Reservation – There is an option to enter a name that was previously registered with the Secretary of State.  There isn’t a requirement to have done so before filing and if that is the case, select “No” and continue.

 

Article Second: Principal Purpose 

This section is asking for information regarding the activities of the business.  To do that, there is a number called NAICS (North American Industry Grouping Code).  This code is a six-digit number that classifies and categorize the different businesses.   Find your NAICS number here or use the drop-down menu.  If your business doesn’t fit any of the selections, just select “Other” and continue.

New Hampshire LLC Principal Purpose

Article Third: Registered Agent

A New Hampshire Registered Agent must be identified before forming the LLC.  The Registered Agent can either be a resident of New Hampshire (Select “Individual”), a Not-For-Profit (Select “Not-For-Profit”) or a Resident Agent service (Select “Business” to find the address that is registered with the Secretary of State).

If you are using a Registered Agent Service, enter their information in the “Search Agent Name” field and select the entry for that firm.  If it’s an individual or a company that isn’t listed, select “Create Agent” and enter their information.

The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state (PO Boxes are not allowed) and act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.

Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.

Article Fourth: Manager/Member Information

This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the management of the LLC.
Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

New Hampshire LLC Manager Member Managed

Duration: 

In this section, you can indicate how long it will remain in existence.  Most LLCs will choose a Perpetual duration however, some businesses (usually investment related) will have a specific closure date.

New Hampshire LLC Duration

Business Email Address:

Enter an email address for someone in the LLC that will be responsible for saving the formation documents.

General Upload

In this section, upload any required licensure certificates (required for a Professional LLC or PLLC), consent letters or pertinent documents like rules for the operation of the LLC.  This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs.

Principal Office Information

Business Address – In this section, enter the street address, city, state and zip code of the initial principal office.  This address can be the physical address of the LLC or it can be the address where the business records are stored.  This address does not have to be in New Hampshire but you may not use a PO Box.

Mailing Address – If there is an address that is preferred for mail to be sent by the Secretary of State that is different from the Business Address, enter it here.  Otherwise, click the box for “Same as Business Address”.

Certify

Click the box and certify that the information entered is correct.

There is also an opportunity to delay the start of the LLC. If you want the LLC to start on today’s date, check the selection for the LLC to be “effective on the date/time of electronic submission” or select a date less than 90 days in the future to start.

NH LLC Certification

Signature

Have a manager, member or appointed organizer sign the Certificate of Formation.  Enter this person’s title and name.

New Hamphire LLC Sign certificate of formation

Review

Review that all of the information is correct.  If there are no corrections, click the checkbox that says “I acknowledge that the information provided above is true and correct”, then click “Next Signature(s)”

Pay and File

Pay and file the Certificate of Formation.

If filing online, the Certificate of Formation will be approved in less than one week.

If filing in person, take to the Secretary of State’s office at:
25 Capitol Street
3rd Floor
Concord, NH 03301

That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in New Hampshire.  Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing.  If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.

Wrapping Up

While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases.  An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC.  Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.

After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account.  There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get.  See how to get an EIN for an LLC.

Last, before starting a business in New Hampshire, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in New Hampshire.  See the Guide to Starting a Business in New Hampshire for more information.

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