Start a Corporation in New Hampshire
To start a corporation in New Hampshire, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Corporation Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost $100 to file. Once processed by the state, this document formally creates your New Hampshire corporation. You can use our tool to fill out the Official New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation. You’ll even be able to download, print, or save your progress, all for free.
The best part is you only need to enter your information once to create a free account and pre-populate your Articles of Incorporation, corporate bylaws, IRS filings, and ongoing annual filings to maintain your New Hampshire corporation. You can use our free system to file with the state yourself or you can have us help you out along the way.
How to Start a Corporation in New Hampshire
A New Hampshire corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.
To start a corporation in New Hampshire, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Corporation Division. You can file this document online or by mail. The articles cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your New Hampshire corporation.
Name Your Corporation
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your corporation. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the DOS’s New Hampshire Business Name Search and browse until you find the perfect name for your corporation.
You must also ensure your business name complies with state laws. NH Rev Stat § 293-A:4.01 (2022) lays out the requirements. Specifically, your corporation name must
- contain the words “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or “Limited,” or the abbreviation “Corp.,” “Inc.,” or “Ltd.,” or similar words or abbreviations in another language
- be unique among approved business names in New Hampshire, unless you get an approved exemption from the Secretary of State
- not contain language indicating or implying your corporation was formed for an unlawful business purpose
- not indicate your corporation is a state or government agency
- not use the name of a political party without written consent of a party representative
- not use the name “farmers market” unless you meet the state’s legal definition of a farmers market
Can I reserve a business name in New Hampshire?
Yes. If you have the perfect business name, and you want to make sure it’s still available when you file your corporation, you can reserve your business name for 120 days by submitting an Application for Reservation of Name to the New Hampshire Corporations Division and paying the $15 fee.
What's the difference between my corporation's name and a trade name?
The company name listed on your Articles of Incorporation will be your corporation’s legal name.
A trade name (sometimes called a DBA) is any other name your business operates under. Using a trade name can allow you to re-brand your business without starting a whole new corporation.
For example, if you start a coffee shop called Belle’s Espresso, Inc. but then start to specialize in selling gourmet chocolates, you might decide to call your business Belle’s Chocolate Castle instead. Your corporation’s legal name would still be Belle’s Espresso, Inc. and Belle’s Chocolate Castle would be a trade name.
To use a trade name in New Hampshire, you must file an Application for Registration of Trade Name with the Corporations Division. The filing fee is $50.
Considering using an assumed business name? Learn How to Get a New Hampshire DBA.
Designate a Registered Agent
Per NH Rev Stat § 293-A:5.01 (2019), every New Hampshire corporation must appoint a registered agent. You could hire a registered agent service, appoint someone you know, or serve as your own registered agent. You will need to include your registered agent’s name and address on the Articles of Incorporation.
What does a registered agent do?
While a registered agent can provide a range of services, at the least, your registered agent must:
- Have a physical address (not a P.O. box or virtual office) in the state of New Hampshire, which will be listed on the public record.
- Maintain regular business hours at this address.
- Accept service of process on behalf of your business and forward it to you right away.
Can you be your own registered agent in New Hampshire?
Yes, as long as you are comfortable putting your name and address on the public record, you can be your own registered agent. You’ll need to keep regular business hours to accept any legal mail in person.
Since many business owners don’t want to worry about missing an important legal notice when they’re out of the office, they often hire a registered agent service instead. Hiring a registered agent service can also help you protect your privacy, since some registered agents will put their business address on the public record in place of your own.
Can I change my registered agent after I start a corporation?
Yes. You can change your registered agent in New Hampshire at any time by submitting a Statement of Change of Registered Agent to the Corporations Division, which costs $15.
Submit Articles of Incorporation
Learn more about each Articles of Incorporation requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Better yet, skip the form entirely and hire us to incorporate your New Hampshire business. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
- Business Name: Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it simple with “Corp” or “Inc.”
- Principal Office and Information: This section requests your principal office address (main business office), business phone and business email. Note that this information is optional and that all the information in your Articles of Incorporation becomes part of the public record. Tip: If you skip this section, the state will use your registered agent’s address as your principal office.
- Authorized Shares: List the number of shares you wish to create. You must create at least one share. Tip: You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting. If you have different share types, such as common and preferred shares, you can note the share type and list the rights and restrictions in the comments section. You can also choose to list par value (the face value of the share and typically the lowest price at which it can be traded).
- Registered Agent and Office: For your New Hampshire registered agent, you can list an individual state resident (like yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service (like Northwest). The registered office is the New Hampshire street address where your agent will be available to accept legal notifications. When you hire Northwest, our New Hampshire office address will go here.
- Purpose: Your corporation’s “purpose” is your primary business activity (for example, “real estate” or “janitorial services”). You can also list the NAICS code for your business. These are six-digit codes that describe pretty much any business activity you can think of.
- Benefit Corporation: Benefit corporations are businesses that create general public benefit. These corporations are subject to additional regulations. If you’re creating a benefit corporation, you must declare this in your articles and include your fiscal year end date. Tip: Most corporations are not benefit corporations.
- Office/Director Information: The form has a space to enter the names, business addresses and titles of initial directors and officers, but this information is not required. If you’d rather not list this personal information in a permanent public document, you’re free to skip this section.
- New Hampshire Incorporator: Your incorporator is the person who signs your Articles of Incorporation. This can be someone in your corporation, such as a director or officer, or it can be another person you authorize to submit your Articles. Your incorporator must include their name and address. We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your New Hampshire corporation.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
The contact information businesses include on the New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation is publicly available online, and marketers love to take advantage of this and inundate business owners with junk mail.
The most effective way to keep your information private is to hire a registered agent who will put their business address on public documents instead of yours wherever possible.
How do I file the New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation?
You can file your Articles of Incorporation by mail, online, or in person.
NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St, Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301-4989
State House Annex
3rd Floor, Rm 317
25 Capitol St, Concord, NH 03301
Start Your New Hampshire Corporation Today!Get Started
Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my New Hampshire corporation need an EIN?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Starting January 2024, most US corporations will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). On this report, you’ll need to provide some information about your corporation, the company applicant, and beneficial owners, and (for new corporations).
- Company Applicant: This is the individual who filed your New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation with the Corporation Division. It is important to note that corporations formed prior to 2024 are not required to include company applicant information.
- Beneficial Owner: Defined as anyone with at least a 25% ownership stake in your company. This also includes anyone with significant control over company operations, such as your CEO, CFO, or General Counsel.
Note: Your BOI Report is filed online, and it’s free. Access to online report filing through the Beneficial Ownership Secure System (BOSS) begins in January 2024.
What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?
The deadline to file your BOI Report depends on when you incorporated:
- Companies formed before 2024—January 1, 2025.
- Companies formed in 2024—Within 90 days of incorporation.
- Companies formed in 2025 or later—Within 30 days of incorporation.
What information will I need to include on my BOI Report?
You’ll need to provide some information about the corporation itself as well as identifying information for each beneficial owner. For corporations formed in 2024 or later, you’ll need to include information about your company applicant.
Beneficial owner and company applicant information:
- Full legal name
- Birth date
- Residential or business street address
- Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs or assumed business names
- Physical business address
- State of incorporation
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Will I need to update the BOI Report?
Most likely, yes. If any of the information provided in your BOI Report changes, you’ll need to update the report. This means that if your corporation changes owners, its address, registered agent, or it gets a new CEO, you’ll need to make an update. You have 30 days after the change occurs to file your updated report through BOSS. Note: Updating the report is free and can be completed online through BOSS.
Does information on the BOI Report go on the public record?
No. Unlike the information on your New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation, your BOI Report won’t go on the public record. Only government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions will be able to see the report.
Are there any exemptions from the BOI Report?
- Large operating companies
- Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
- Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Tax-exempt entities
Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on New Hampshire Corporate Bylaws (including a free New Hampshire Corporate Bylaws template), see our New Hampshire Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need bylaws for my New Hampshire corporation?
Yes. NH Rev Stat § 293-A:2.06 (2022) notes that bylaws shall be adopted either by the incorporators or the board of directors, but it makes no requirement for when the bylaws must be adopted.
You don’t have to submit bylaws to the state though. Corporate bylaws are internal documents you keep with your other corporate records, such as meeting minutes and resolutions.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
New Hampshire bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law.
How do I write bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your New Hampshire corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for New Hampshire organizational meetings?
The organization of the corporation is not complete until an organizational meeting is held, officers are appointed and bylaws are adopted. The organizational meeting doesn’t have to be held in New Hampshire.
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my New Hampshire corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in New Hampshire, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the New Hampshire corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
The corporation’s bylaws
The corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
File New Hampshire Reports and Taxes
In New Hampshire, corporations file an annual report each year. Corporations are also subject to state taxes, including two unique state taxes: the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax.
What is the New Hampshire Annual Report?
The New Hampshire Annual Report is a form you file each year to update your corporation’s contact and ownership information. The report and $100 fee are due April 1st each year.
How much is the New Hampshire Annual Report?
$100 ($102 if filing online). This is the filing fee for the mandatory New Hampshire Annual Report.
When is the New Hampshire Annual Report due?
The New Hampshire Annual Report is due April 1st. A $50 late fee applies if you miss it.
This filing can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about New Hampshire corporate taxes?
All New Hampshire business entities, from LLCs to corporations, are subject to two somewhat unusual state taxes: a business profits tax and a business enterprise tax.
The business profits tax takes the place of a more traditional income tax. It’s a tax on income from “conducting business activity in New Hampshire.” The rate is currently 7.9% but varies by year. Only businesses with over $50,000 in gross business income have to file.
The business enterprise tax is a tax on “enterprise value,” which the state’s Department of Revenue Administration defines as compensation (such as wages, interest or dividends) paid or accrued. The rate is currently 0.675% but also varies by year. Your business only has to file a return for this tax if your enterprise value is more than $104K or your gross receipts are over $208K.
Both taxes are due on the 15th day of the 3rd month following the end of the taxable period (for most businesses, that’s March 15th).
It’s not all bad news when it comes to New Hampshire taxes. The personal net income tax is very limited (only affecting interest and dividend income), and there’s no sales tax (not even on the city or county level).
Do corporations have to register with the NH Department of Revenue Administration?
No. New Hampshire corporations do not register with the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration, but you must obtain the appropriate state tax forms to file your state taxes.
Additionally, there are tax licenses required if you are a meals, rooms or motor vehicle rental operator, communications services provider, or tobacco manufacturer, wholesaler or subjobber.