The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in New Hampshire 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.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

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 is fairly straightforward, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

Related: Should you use a Formation Service, Hire an Attorney or Do it Yourself?

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.

Before settling on a name, you may want to see if a domain name is available in order to have a matching website address.

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 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 LLC 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

Tasks After Forming Your LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare an Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed and more.

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished
  • Members may not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities which could lead to costly disputes in the future

Related: New Hampshire operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.  

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more. 

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, a New Hampshire Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC 

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – All businesses operating in the State of New Hampshire are required to register with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.  Additionally, some cities also require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate. 
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, hunting and fishing guides and others must be licensed.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in New Hampshire?

File Annual Reports

LLCs are required to file an annual report with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a New Hampshire LLC Annual Report