Business FAQs

Learn about the frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to register my business?

A person conducting business under any name other than his/her own legal name must register. For example, John D. Smith doing business as "John D. Smith" does not have to register; however, if he conducts business as "John Smith Enterprises," he does have to register as "Enterprises" is not part of his legal name.

May we conduct on-line searches for name availability?

You may search for an existing business registration by accessing the Business Record Search.

Name availability, however, is determined by Corporation Division staff upon the receipt of a business registration and is not a service available online. See our Name Availability Guidelines for additional information about name requirements and availability in New Hampshire.

How do I obtain copies of charter documents, such as Articles of Incorporation or a business’ most recent annual report?

Most charter documents can be searched, viewed, and downloaded at no charge at our website:  Certified copies can be ordered by phone or email to  There is a $5 certification charge, along with a fee of $1 per page.  An invoice will be provided with the completed request.  Expedited service is also available for an additional $25.00 charge.

If you receive a “File Not Found” message when trying to view a document, this means the document has not yet been scanned for viewing online.  To request that the document be obtained from State Archives, please email us at or call our Corporate Information Line at 603-271-3246.

How long does it take to process my business registration?

Generally, processing times for online filings typically run no more than 10 business days.  Check our current processing date by viewing the Announcements on the NH Quickstart login page. If you require a faster turnaround, expedited service is available in person in our Customer Lobby for an additional $25 fee.

Who are the owners or managers of a particular business?

The information available for each business will differ depending on the type of business registered.

  • TRADE NAMES:  The business profile will contain the name of each applicant/owner of the trade name, along with the business address.
  • CORPORATIONS:  Corporations must provide the names and addresses of officers and directors when they file their annual report.  Corporations must also appoint and maintain a registered agent, who is authorized to accept legal service on its behalf.  Information regarding ownership (shareholders) is not filed with the Secretary of State.
  • LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES (LLCs):  If an LLC has chosen to be managed by its members (owners), the LLC must list the name of at least one member on its annual report.  If an LLC has chosen to by managers, the LLC must list the name of at least one manager on its annual report.  LLCs must also appoint and maintain a registered agent, who is authorized to accept legal service on its behalf.
  • NONPROFITS:  Nonprofit organizations filed with this office must file a nonprofit report once every five years, listing the names and addresses of its officers and directors or governing board.  The next reporting year for nonprofits is 2025.

A business telephone number and email address is optional for all businesses, but is also included if provided on the registration.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept check, money order, pre-established ACH account or cash payment.

Cash will only be accepted if payment is in the exact amount owed. Checks should be made payable to the "NH Department of State".

Credit card payment is accepted for on-line filing of annual reports or business registrations through NH QuickStart (MasterCard, VISA and Discover).

Please note: At this time, we cannot accept credit cards with an address outside of the United States.

How do I establish an ACH (Automated Clearing House) account?

To establish an ACH (Automated Clearing House) account to directly debit a checking account, complete the ACH Authorization Agreement and mail the original to the address on the bottom of the form. Please note that this process takes approximately two weeks to complete.  Any questions regarding ACH accounts should be directed to the accounting office at 603-271-3242.

Must a name reservation be filed at the same time as a corporation or limited liability company?

No. An application for reservation of name (Form 1) is not to be filed at the same time as the Certificate of Formation or Articles of Incorporation.

A reservation of name is filed prior to the filing of the Certificate of Formation or Articles of Incorporation to:

A.) Ensure the name is available prior to completing the Certificate of Formation, Articles of Incorporation or other documentation.

In the event the name is not available, the need to rewrite the forms and other documentation is avoided.

B.) Hold the name (if available) for a period of 120 days to allow that amount of time for the preparation of the documents without the danger of losing the name.

Note: Name reservations cannot be filed for a Trade Name or Nonprofit Corporation.

Once the Certificate of Formation or Articles of Incorporation have been filed, the business name is registered and protected as long as the LLC or Corporation remains active on our records.

Can I file a name reservation for a Nonprofit or a Trade Name?

No. Names cannot be reserved for Nonprofits or Trade Names prior to filing the documents.

A reservation of name is used for a Limited Liability Company, For-Profit Corporation, Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Partnership or New Hampshire Investment Trust name.

Must I file my corporation or non-profit’s by-laws, or my LLC’s operating agreement, with the Secretary of State’s office?

No.  Bylaws and operating agreements govern the internal affairs of the business and are not filed in this office.

Does my business have to file a Beneficial Ownership (BOI) Report or provide any of these documents to your office?

No. Beneficial Ownership (BOI) Reports are only filed with FINCEN, an agency of the U.S. Treasury.  Please do not upload copies of driver licenses, passports, or any documents contained personal identifying information (PII), such as social security numbers.  For more information, please visit

How does my Nonprofit apply for tax exempt status?

Tax exempt status [such as 501(c)(3)] is obtained through an application with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  For more information on how to apply for tax exempt status, please visit:  Applying for Tax Exempt Status | Internal Revenue Service (

Can a NH Limited Liability Company convert to a NH Corporation?

Yes. Current law allows for a NH Limited Liability Company to convert to a NH Corporation under the Business Corporation Act (RSA 293-A).

What must I do in future years to keep my business in good standing with the Secretary of State?

Corporation, Professional Corporation, *Benefit Corporation, *Professional Benefit Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Professional Limited Liability Company, Consumer Cooperative, Business Trust

An annual report and filing fee for these business types is due by April 1st of each year following the year of registration.

*An annual benefit report and the filing fee is also due 120 days from the Benefit Corporation’s fiscal year end date. 

Investment Trust, Limited Liability Partnership, Agricultural Cooperative  An annual filing fee for these business types is due by April 1st of each year following the year of registration. 
Trade Name Must be renewed every five (5) years to remain active. You will receive a notice to renew six (6) months prior to expiration.
Nonprofit Corporations A nonprofit report and $ 25 filing fee for these business types is due by December 31st in years ending with "0" and "5" (e.g. 2020, 2025, 2030).


What is my Charter Number or Business ID Number (BID)?

These two numbers are the same and identify businesses registered to operate in New Hampshire. They are assigned by our office, the Corporation Division, NH Department of State.

Is my Federal ID Number or Employer ID Number the same as my Business ID Number?

No. A Business ID Number, in this context, is assigned by the Corporation Division of the NH Department of State (this office) when the business is filed with us.

The Federal ID Number or Employer ID Number is a separate number which is assigned by the US Internal Revenue Service.

How do I get a copy of the annual report form that I filed on-line?

Go to Business Record Search and enter the name of your business. You will see a link that will allow you to view the annual report.

You should also check your correspondence folder (inbox) on your NH QuickStart account.

If the annual report is not available online, contact our office at 603-271-3246 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email us at: and we will send a copy to you.

How do I get a copy of the invoice showing I paid on-line?

A copy of your invoice will appear in the NH QuickStart receipts mailbox as confirmation of the filing. Otherwise, contact our office via email at for assistance.

The business information has not changed from last year. Do I still need to complete an annual report?

Yes. By law, a completed annual report must be filed each year. You may not state “no change” or reference the previous year. The information must be completed with full information as of January 1st of each year.

I owe an annual report for last year. If I file last year’s annual report and fees now, can I file this year’s annual report and fees later?

Yes. You can file this year’s annual report and fees at a later date but be advised it must be filed by April 1st of the year it is due or a late fee will be assessed.

I owe an annual report for last year. Can I file last year's and this year's reports at the same time?

Yes. You can file both years’ reports online in succession. File last year’s, then go back in and repeat the process for the current year.

What will happen to my business registration if I fail to file my annual report and fees?

Domestic (In-State) registrations that require an annual report or annual fee will be placed into a status of “Not in Good Standing” if an annual report is not filed and paid by April 1st of each year. After failing to file for two consecutive years, the business will be “Administratively Dissolved” by our office.

Foreign (Out of State) registrations that require an annual report or annual fee will be placed into a status of “Not in Good Standing” if an annual report is not filed and paid by April 1st of each year. After failing to file the current year’s annual report or annual fee, the business will be “Administratively Suspended” by our office.

Domestic and Foreign Nonprofits require a Nonprofit Report and fee due by December 31st every five years. Nonprofit registrations that do not file the Nonprofit return and fee will be “Administratively Dissolved” or “Administratively Suspended” by our office.

Business registrations that have been “Administratively Dissolved” or “Administratively Suspended” will not have the authority to transact business in the State of New Hampshire. Contact our office if your business registration is Administratively Dissolved or Suspended for information about possible actions you may pursue.

Can the late fee be waived?

No. The annual report is due April 1st of each year, and a late fee of $50.00 will be assessed for reports and fees received after April 1st.

How do I change officers/directors, managers/members or mailing/principal office address after my annual report has already been filed?

You must submit all changes in writing on company letterhead or by email to

How do I change the purposes of my business?

If your business is a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership (LP), or nonprofit, an amendment filing and filing fee is required if you wish to change the primary purposes or NAICS codes listed in our system.  If you are registered as a trade name, a change in the business purpose may done by a simple letter signed to all applicants/owners of the trade name. It can be completed online using NH Quickstart, or forms can be obtained through Forms and Fees on our website.