How to Start an LLC in New Hampshire (February 2024 Update)

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Meow Technologies, Inc.

A limited liability company (LLC) can be a great way for small business owners to protect their personal assets and benefit from pass-through taxation. For those considering launching a business in the Granite State, forming a New Hampshire LLC provides these perks while also taking advantage of the state’s business-friendly tax policies.

While no business is required to form an entity like an LLC in New Hampshire, doing so can provide major liability protection. Without an LLC or other official business structure like a corporation, business owners risk having their personal assets pursued in court judgments related to the company. Forming an LLC or corporation creates a legal barrier between business and personal finances.

LLCs also allow business income and expenses to “pass through” the business and be reported on the personal tax returns of the LLC members. This avoids the “double taxation” issue that traditional C corporations face. However, LLCs can elect to file taxes differently if desired. This tax flexibility gives LLC owners options when managing their tax burdens.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the step-by-step process for launching a New Hampshire LLC. We’ll look at naming guidelines, registering agents, completing and filing the Certificate of Formation, drafting operating agreements, obtaining licensing, and staying compliant after filing. Let’s get started!

Steps to Form an LLC in New Hampshire

Forming an LLC in New Hampshire involves several key steps, though the state tries to make the process as simple as possible. Typically, it takes around 7-10 days for the paperwork to be processed and approved through the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office. The steps are:

1. Choose a Business Name
2. Appoint a Registered Agent
3. File Certificate of Formation
4. Create an Operating Agreement
5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
6. File Additional Required Reports

Let's explore each of these steps in detail:

1. Choose a Business Name

The first step is arguably the most creative – choosing your New Hampshire LLC’s business name. You’ll want to pick something catchy and memorable, but there are also rules around LLC names that must be followed.

Name Availability

Before settling on a name, the most important step is actually checking if your desired name is already taken. Complete a name search using New Hampshire’s business database to uncover any identical or deceptively similar names that could cause consumer confusion. Things like different spellings or the use of abbreviations won’t necessarily make your name choice unique enough if it’s too similar to another company’s name.

If the name search shows your preferred LLC name is taken, check out alternatives until you land on something completely unique. Once you’ve got a name secured, consider reserving it while you complete additional steps required to launch the LLC. Name reservations last 120 days and cost $15.

Naming Rules and Guidelines

All New Hampshire LLCs must have certain designators in their business names that identify them as limited liability companies. Appropriate endings include combinations like:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.

Additionally, LLC names cannot imply associations with the government or use restricted words that would falsely advertise professional expertise. For example, an LLC couldn’t include “FBI”, “Treasury”, “law firm”, or “medical practice” without meeting specific licensing requirements.

Be sure to check out the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s full naming guidelines for additional specifications and restrictions. It can save lots of hassle down the line if your LLC has to be renamed for noncompliance.

Trade Names and Domains

If you plan on doing business under a different name than your LLC’s formal legal name, register an assumed or trade name. Trade names, sometimes called "DBAs", allow businesses to use names like catchphrases or branding slogans to market themselves, even if it differs from the official company name.

You’ll also want to check domain name availability to make sure your preferred LLC name, branding, and slogans can be used for online marketing efforts. Verify website domain availability using ICANN-accredited services before committing to your ultimate company name.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

New Hampshire requires all LLCs to designate a registered agent on file with the state. This agent is an appointed point of contact who receives important legal communications and notices from state agencies or courts on behalf of the LLC.

Who Can Serve as a Registered Agent?

Any competent adult living in New Hampshire can serve as a registered agent provided they have a physical street address in the state (no PO boxes allowed). Some LLC members simply elect to serve in this capacity themselves or appoint a responsible family member or friend. However, this does mean your address becomes a part of public state records.

Many businesses prefer to hire third-party specialized registered agent services instead. These companies file all the necessary paperwork and scanning any received mail before forwarding it to you. This also allows LLCs to list the agent's address rather than a home address, maintaining extra privacy.

3. File Certificate of Formation

To formally create your LLC, the New Hampshire Certificate of Formation paperwork must be completed and submitted to the state. Preparing and filing this paperwork officially registers your New Hampshire LLC with the Secretary of State.

The two-page form will ask for key details on your new LLC, including:

  • The LLC’s name
  • Principal business address
  • Name and address of registered agent
  • Nature of the LLC’s business/purpose
  • LLC management structure
  • Names and titles of all LLC members

Filing this certificate is $100, with an additional $2 processing fee if you file online instead of via mail. Be sure every piece of information is completely accurate, as any needed amendments down the line carry additional fees.

4. Create an Operating Agreement

While not strictly required, drafting an operating agreement for your New Hampshire LLC is highly recommended. Think of an operating agreement as an internal guiding document that outlines operational processes, financial agreements, ownership percentages, etc.

Having this agreement enhances credibility with banks and investors, provides helpful organization for multi-member LLC management, and could offer legal protections if disagreements ever arise. Key elements covered in a typical operating agreement include:

  • Member contributions and ownership percentage
  • How profits and losses will be divided
  • Member voting rights and decision-making processes
  • Procedures for buying in new members or removing existing members
  • Steps for dissolving the LLC altogether

Even single-member LLCs stand to benefit from thoughtfully crafted operating agreements. Use online templates to create an easy operating agreement. Then, have lawyers review it for additional credibility.

5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Nearly all LLCs need an EIN, which serves as an LLC’s social security number used when filing taxes and opening business bank accounts. Also sometimes called a Federal Tax ID Number, EINs uniquely identify LLCs across state and federal agencies.

Single-member LLCs can use the owner’s social security number instead of an Employer ID Number in certain situations. However, obtaining an EIN adds an extra, dedicated layer of privacy for your personal finances and tax situations.

Applying for an EIN is free and typically takes only a few minutes to complete online. Be sure to complete this step so your New Hampshire LLC can handle any employer taxes or licensing requirements down the line.

6. File Additional Required Reports

While the Certificate of Formation handles your initial New Hampshire business licensing, maintaining ongoing compliance is key. Keep your LLC in good standing year after year by staying on top of recurring state requirements.

Annual Reports

Every domestic and foreign LLC registered in New Hampshire must file an annual report between January 1st-April 1st each year. This yearly requirement exists even if none of your business’s key details have changed. Annual report fees are $100 in New Hampshire, with an additional $50 late fee assessed for missing the April 1st cut off.

You can quickly file your report electronically online. Alternatively, mail paper copies of the required annual report form to remain compliant. Just like the initial new business application, double check that all LLC information is entered correctly before submitting.

Beneficial Ownership Information Reports

Starting in 2024, new New Hampshire LLCs will also need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information Report with FinCEN within 30 days of the initial Certificate of Formation filing. Preexisting LLCs have until 2025 to file their information reports. These reports include personal information for those with at least 25% ownership stakes in the company.

Staying on top of each mandatory report keeps your business legally compliant and in good standing within New Hampshire year after year. Mark annual filing deadlines on your calendar so you never risk fees from delinquent submissions. With preparation, you can maintain reputability without getting behind.

Conclusion

Launching a New Hampshire LLC involves careful preparation, specific naming guidelines, formally filing paperwork, and staying on top of recurring compliance reports. However, with the right information and checklists, New Hampshire maintains a relatively straightforward LLC application process.

Double check that you have an available business name that aligns with specifications in New Hampshire’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. Submit the required Certificate of Formation paperwork through New Hampshire’s QuickStart business filing system, accompanied by the $100 application fee.

Make sure to also draft a detailed operating agreement, apply for your EIN, and file beneficial ownership details in 2024 to ensure full legal compliance. Additionally, mark April 1st on your calendar for submitting updated annual reports back to the Secretary of State's office each year your LLC remains active.

With preparation, forethought, and commitment to staying up to date with licensing renewals, your New Hampshire LLC will be primed for success for years to come. Use this guide as your roadmap to efficient launch and compliant operations. Best of luck with your New Hampshire business journey!


Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-depository insured 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.**

Get started with Meow in under 10 minutes

*Disclaimer: Meow Advisory LLC is a registered investment adviser. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training.
For accounts opened through Atomic Brokerage LLC: Meow Advisory LLC has an engagement with Atomic Brokerage LLC (“Atomic Brokerage”), a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC , to bring you the opportunity to open a brokerage account. Brokerage services for customers of Meow Advisory LLC are provided by Atomic Brokerage. For more details about Atomic Brokerage, please see the Form CRS, General Disclosures, and the Privacy Policy. Check the background of Atomic Brokerage on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
For subadvisory services for accounts opened through Atomic Invest LLC: Meow Advisory LLC has an engagement with Atomic Invest, LLC (“Atomic Invest”), an SEC-registered investment adviser, to bring you the opportunity to open an investment advisory account. Investment advisory services are provided by Atomic Invest. Companies which are engaged by Atomic Invest receive compensation of 0% to 0.85% annualized, payable monthly, based upon assets under management for each referred client who establishes an account with Atomic Invest (i.e., exact payment will differ). Atomic Invest also shares a percentage of compensation received from margin interest and free cash interest earned by customers with Meow Advisory LLC. Meow Advisory LLC is not a client of Atomic Invest, but our engagement with Atomic invest gives us an incentive to refer you to Atomic Invest instead of another investment adviser. This conflict of interest affects our ability to provide you with unbiased, objective information about the services of Atomic Invest. This could mean that the services of another investment adviser with whom we are not engaged could be more appropriate for you than Atomic invest. Advisory services through Atomic Invest are designed to assist clients in achieving a favorable outcome in their investment portfolio. They are not intended to provide tax advice or financial planning with respect to every aspect of a client’s financial situation and do not include investments that clients may hold outside of Atomic Invest. For more details about Atomic Invest, please see the Form CRS, Form ADV Part 2A, the Privacy Policy, and other disclosures. Brokerage services for Atomic Invest are provided by Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC (“PAS”), a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC.
Neither Atomic Invest nor Atomic Brokerage, nor any of their affiliates, is a bank. Investments in securities are Not FDIC insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and the fees and expenses charged by Atomic Brokerage and/or Atomic Invest.
See the Legal Section within the Meow website for additional agreements.

U.K. Gilt pricing quoted net of fees. ~5% U.K. Gilt yield is sourced from Investing.com December 2023 6-month United Kingdom 6-Month Bond Yield. ~5% Treasury Bill yield is sourced from treasurydirect.gov December 2023 12-week U.S. Treasury Bill auction.

**Disclaimer: Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a depository, bank or credit union, and your account at Meow is not, itself, an FDIC-insured product.

Meow currently partners with three banking providers. Banking services are provided by Third Coast Bank SSB; Member FDIC, Grasshopper Bank, N.A; Member FDIC, and FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation; Member FDIC.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Grasshopper Bank, N.A, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Grasshopper Bank, N.A. which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”)-insured banks, for up to the current standard maximum deposit insurance amount (“SMDIA”) of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including Grasshopper's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. Grasshopper Bank, N.A. uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit https://www.intrafi.com/network-banks/ for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Grasshopper, N.A. have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Grasshopper, N.A. or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Grasshopper Bank, N.A, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheets for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Third Coast Bank SSB, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Third Coast Bank SSB. If you also hold funds in a sweep program with Third Coast Bank SSB, Third Coast Bank SSB sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per receiving bank, for each ownership capacity or category, including any other balances you may hold at that receiving bank directly or indirectly through other intermediaries, including broker-dealers. Third Coast Bank SSB uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit Third Coast Bank SSB for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Third Coast Bank SSB have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at receiving banks, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Third Coast Bank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $50 Million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Third Coast Bank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and conditions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at FirstBank, which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including FirstBank's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. FirstBank uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit IntraFi for a list of the banks and savings associations with which FirstBank has a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by FirstBank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of FirstBank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

***FDIC insurance coverage is only available to protect you against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank that holds your deposits (and does not protect you against the failure of Meow or other third party). Your account with Meow and all services provided to you are subject to the Meow Terms of Service (“Account Agreements”) and other applicable terms and no other representations or warranties, express or implied, are provided to you except as expressly set forth in those written Account Agreements. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact team@meow.com.

FirstBank Funds Availability Notice

FirstBanks general policy is to allow you to withdraw funds deposited in your account on the first business day after the day we receive your deposit. Funds from electronic deposits will be available on the day we receive the deposit. In some cases, we may delay your ability to withdraw funds beyond the first business day. Then, the funds will generally be available by the SECOND business day after the day of deposit.