When is a Registered Agent Needed in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire registered agents accept service of process and other legal notifications on behalf of certain types of businesses in New Hampshire. All corporations, Limited Liability Companys (LLC), Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), and Limited Partnerships (LP) operating in the state are legally required to have a registered agent.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not need a registered agent.
Learn what registered agents do, their job duties, the requirements to be one, and more.
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent (also referred to as a resident agent or statutory agent in some states) is a person or company that is designated to be the official point of contact between the government and your business entity.
The primary responsibility of a registered agent in New Hampshire is to accept important legal notices and tax documents and then forward them to the appropriate person in the business.
Who can be a registered agent in New Hampshire?
A registered agent in New Hampshire can be any resident of the state who is 18 years or older, a registered New Hampshire domestic business entity, or a foreign business entity authorized to do business in the state. An entity may not be its own agent.
The registered agent needs to have a physical street address (often referred to as a registered office or principal office) in the state of New Hampshire. This can be your home address, the address of a family member, an accountant or attorney, the address of the business, or a commercial registered agent service. Any physical address in the state may be used, but PO Boxes and mail drop services are not acceptable since someone has to be available to sign for documents.
The agent will also need to be available to receive Service of Process on behalf of the business during normal business hours. Service of process refers to the delivery of legal documents, often a summons, subpoena, or lawsuit filed against a business entity.
What happens if you don’t have a registered agent?
Not only is a registered agent required when forming an LLC or corporation, but you must maintain a registered agent to keep the entity in compliance. Besides the requirement of designating a registered agent at the time of formation, there are several reasons to have one:
- Not Receiving Legal Notices – If the listed registered agent cannot receive legal notices, this lawsuit will still proceed. If a process server is unsuccessful in reaching the company’s registered agent, the court can proceed with the case. This could result in a judgment being placed against the business without the owners knowing.
- Administrative Dissolution – In New Hampshire, if the business doesn’t have a registered agent, the state can dissolve the entity.
- Penalties and Fees – By not maintaining a current registered agent, penalties and state fees can be levied against the entity and, in some cases, the owners too. Once an entity is no longer in good standing with the state, the owners may lose their liability protection and are at risk personally.
Common Questions About New Hampshire Registered Agents
Are you required to have a New Hampshire registered agent?
All New Hampshire corporations, Limited Liability Companys (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), and Limited Partnership (LP) are legally required to have a registered agent.
How is a registered agent appointed in New Hampshire?
A registered agent is initially appointed when the entity formation documents are filed – Certificate of Formation (LLC) or Articles of Incorporation (corp) – or by filing the Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent Form with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
What is required of a registered agent in New Hampshire?
The requirements of a New Hampshire registered agent are found under New Hampshire Statutes § 304-C:36 (Limited Liability Company) and § 293-A:5.01 (corporation).
Registered entities are required to have and continuously maintain a registered agent and registered office within the state.
The registered agent must be available during normal business hours to accept any service of process, notice, or demand pertaining to the entity and forward it to the appropriate individuals.
Should you be your own New Hampshire registered agent?
While any individual, business owner, member, officer, director, etc., of a business entity that meets the state of New Hampshire’s registered agent requirements can be a registered agent, there are a few reasons not to. A few reasons include the following:
– Privacy – The address of the registered agent becomes public record and is available for anybody to see. This can be especially concerning if someone is doing business on the side, and they don’t want their employer to know about the business. Also, if the business is sued, the notice will be delivered to the address on file. This could mean employees, customers, or even neighbors witnessing the event. There is also the remote possibility of a vindictive litigant or upset customer showing up at your house.
– If the Business Expands to Additional Locations – If the business has a physical presence in multiple states (offices, warehouses, employees, etc.), a foreign entity registration will often need to be filed with those states. A registered agent will need to be appointed with a physical address in each state.
– Due Date Reminders – Registered agent services provide annual report reminders and updates on any state requirements.
– Availability – New Hampshire requires the registered agent to be available at the principal address during regular business hours. The biggest issue with availability, especially if a home address is used, is if the agent goes on vacation or is otherwise away for some period of time and can’t be reached.
How much does a registered agent service cost in New Hampshire?
Depending on the services provided, a commercial registered agent service typically costs between $100-$150 per year. Northwest Registered Agent is a popular service that charges $125 per year and offers several extras such as document scanning and mail forwarding and Harbor Compliance has a basic service starting at $99.
Some entity formation companies, like IncFile, includes registered agent service at no cost for the first year when you register your corporation or LLC with them.
Can a registered agent be changed in New Hampshire?
If the New Hampshrie registered agent changes, the entity is required to file a change of registered agent.
A registered agent can be changed by submitting the Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent Form along with the filing fee to the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
In addition to filing the form, if your entity has one, be sure to update the operating agreement or bylaws with the contact information of the new agent.