How to Incorporate in New Hampshire (May 2024 Update)

Written by

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Published on

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

How to Incorporate in New Hampshire (May 2024 Update)

Starting a business can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor. One of the most important early decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the right legal structure for your company. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about incorporating in the state of New Hampshire.

What Does it Mean to Incorporate?

Incorporation refers to the legal process of establishing your business as a corporation in the eyes of the state. As a legal entity separate from its owners, New Hampshire corporations can enter into contracts, sue and be sued, conduct business under the corporate name, and more. They also provide owners with personal liability protection.

There are many benefits to the corporate structure, which is why over 7 million corporations have incorporated across the United States. Small business owners choose this model for reasons such as:

  • Limited liability protection for owners’ personal assets
  • Greater credibility and prestige
  • Access to more financing options
  • Tax advantages (especially if electing S corporation status)
  • Longevity and transferability of ownership

Incorporating in New Hampshire: 10 Steps to Success

Follow these key steps to successfully form your New Hampshire corporation:

Step 1: Choose Your Business Name

Your corporation’s name needs to be distinguishable from other registered names in New Hampshire. It must contain a corporate designator such as:

  • Corporation
  • Incorporated
  • Limited
  • Corp.
  • Inc.
  • Ltd.

It cannot imply your company engages in unlawful business activities or acts as a government agency. You’ll need to check name availability through the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

If you find the perfect name, you can even reserve it for 120 days by filing an Application for Reservation of Name with the state along with a $15 fee.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

All New Hampshire corporations have to designate a registered agent. This is a person or company responsible for receiving service of process (government and court papers relevant to your business) on behalf of your corporation.

The registered agent must have an in-state physical address (no P.O. boxes allowed) and be available during normal business hours. Many business owners hire third parties to act as registered agents and keep their own address off public records.

Step 3: File Articles of Incorporation

The New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation form the state outlining key details about your corporation. Filed with a $100 fee, this document makes your business a legal entity after approval.

Information required on the Articles includes:

  • Your corporation’s name
  • Number of shares to be issued
  • Registered agent name & registered office address
  • Primary purpose
  • Name & address for each incorporator

Plus additional optional provisions allowed by state law. Hiring an incorporation service can help correctly fill everything out.

Step 4: Obtain an EIN from the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) serves as a tax ID number to identify your business to the IRS. While only mandatory for corporations with employees, most banks want an EIN before letting you open a business account too.

Luckily, obtaining an EIN is free & easy through the IRS website. We recommend taking care of this as soon as possible once incorporated.

Step 5: Write Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws act as an operating manual detailing the inner workings of your New Hampshire corporation. During your first board meeting, directors customarily adopt the corporate bylaws.

Typical bylaw topics include shares, meetings, directors & officers selection/removal processes, duties & powers delegation, bookkeeping, and amendment procedures. While not filed with New Hampshire, maintaining current bylaws proves to authorities your corporation follows legal formalities.

Step 6: Hold Organizational Meeting

Document your corporation’s first official meeting with written minutes showing bylaw adoption and appointment of directors & officers. Your New Hampshire Articles name initial directors - additional individuals elected at this meeting will serve until shareholder votes at the first annual meeting.

Step 7: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Maintaining company funds separate from personal finances keeps your New Hampshire corporation in good standing while protecting your liability shield. Visit banks armed with your approved Articles of Incorporation, EIN, and meeting minutes showing account authorization.

Step 8: Stay Compliant

On an annual basis, New Hampshire corporations must file an annual report and may owe unique state taxes. Let’s take a closer look at each requirement:

  • Annual Report – file yearly by April 1st to update your corporation’s directors and contact information with a $100 fee.
  • Business Enterprise Tax – New Hampshire charges corporations 0.675% on compensation like dividends/interest. You must file a return if your enterprise value exceeds $104K.
  • Business Profits Tax – income over $50,000 gets assessed a 7.9% business profits tax when doing business in New Hampshire.

Hiring a registered agent service with compliance tracking helps avoid any accidental lapses impacting your corporation’s good standing.

Incorporating in New Hampshire: Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Deciding between an LLC vs corporation or other business structures constitutes one of the most important early decisions for a startup. Assessing factors like your goals, taxes, and ideal ownership model determines what works best.

While incorporating requires following steps like writing corporate bylaws and holding annual meetings, New Hampshire entrepreneurs agree the small initial effort pays dividends protecting personal assets down the road. Whether starting a bakery, consultant agency, or web development shop, incorporating lends serious credibility with partners and customers too.

We hope this comprehensive guide shed insight into launching your New Hampshire corporation.

Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-insured depository institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

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