A New Hampshire Registered Agent is the legally designated point of contact for your LLC. This agent is tasked with receiving service of process and other official communication on behalf of your NH LLC.
Service of process involves legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit, summons, subpoenas, etc. Put simply, if your business is sued, the notice you receive is service of process. These documents are delivered by people called process servers.
For the successful delivery of these documents, the NH Registered Agent must maintain a physical address. The state may also send official mail to the Registered Agent (RA). These can include things like payment reminders, tax notices, and more.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In NH? Regulations And Responsibilities
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in New Hampshire, provided you have a physical address in the state. You could also appoint family members or friends to this role. However, before you make this decision, it is important to understand the legal regulations and responsibilities of an RA.
Legal Requirements For NH Registered Agent
New Hampshire has a few requirements that a registered agent needs to fulfill.
- The agent must have a physical address in the state. PO Box or similar aren’t accepted.
- If the agent is a person, he or she must be capable of receiving legal documents.
- If the agent is a business, it must have permission to conduct business in the state.
Basically, a person or a business entity can be your registered agent. The business entity is usually (but not necessarily) a commercial registered agent, providing its services for a fee.
A New Hampshire LLC must appoint a registered agent before filing its Certificate of Formation with the secretary of state. If the agent isn’t mentioned in the documents, the SOS won’t approve the Certificate of Formation. Similarly, NH law requires that an LLC maintain an agent in the state at all times. Failure to do this can have legal and administrative repercussions.
New Hampshire Registered Agent Responsibilities
Besides the legal requirements, an LLC should also consider the capability of the person or business to handle the responsibilities of a registered agent. At a minimum, the RA should be capable of handling the following responsibilities:
- Maintain a physical street address. This is the registered office of the LLC and where service of process and certified mail is delivered.
- Be available at the registered office during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- Receive service of process and inform the LLC immediately.
- Receive any official communication and inform the LLC.
Some of these are time-sensitive, for example, the service of process. Once the documents are delivered to the registered agent, the court system assumes that the LLC has been notified of the lawsuit or legal requirements.
Reliability of the agent is essential. The agent not being available to receive service of process, or not informing the LLC quickly, may lead to a lawsuit proceeding against the LLC without its knowledge.
Not having a registered agent (or one that doesn’t do their job) doesn’t mean the LLC can’t be sued. In fact, it will impede the ability of the company to represent itself in court.
A registered agent’s information (e.g. their name and address) is part of the public record. This means this information is easily and freely available to anyone.
Who Should Be Your LLC’s New Hampshire Registered Agent?
Considering the requirements and responsibilities, you can have the following as your registered agent.
- You can be your own registered agent.
- Appoint a family member or friend as the RA.
- Hire a commercial registered agent.
This list is what the most common options are, it’s not exhaustive. But what’s necessary is, the agent’s ability to handle the requirements and responsibilities of the job.
Being your own registered agent (or having family/friends in that role) may impact the reliability expected from the agent. Individuals can have a tough time in some aspects of this role. Being continuously available during normal working hours is one example.
You might be away on a vacation, out on an errand, or otherwise unavailable when service of process arrives. The chances of this happening are rare, but there are real risks of missing the service of process.
Privacy is also something to consider. Many people may not prefer their address to be part of the public record. In these cases, you’ll either have to consider a replacement, or hire a commercial agent.
Those setting up a foreign LLC in NH will find they have fewer options to consider. For one, you may not have any friends or family in the state who can be the registered agent. Also, it is highly unlikely that you’d be your own registered agent in the case of a foreign LLC. In these cases, hiring a commercial agent makes the best sense.
It’s worth noting that domestic LLCs often employ commercial agents too. Convenience and reliability are big draws to encourage this decision.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In NH
An LLC’s search for a registered agent in NH will usually lead to several results. These can include local and national companies in NH offering registered agent services. Pricing usually varies depending on the company and the services on offer. Generally speaking, this lies somewhere between $50 to $200.
In any case, the decision for your registered agent should never be motivated solely by monetary concerns. Whether you choose to be the agent yourself or hire a commercial registered agent, consider reliability first.
When hiring a commercial agent, these are a few qualities you must expect at a minimum.
- Professional service
Changing Your New Hampshire Registered Agent
You can change your NH registered agent by filing the appropriate form with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. This can be achieved by filing Form 10 Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent or Both.
Form 10 is available on the SOS website’s Forms and Fees section. You can also file this form online using New Hampshire’s QuickStart (NHQS) Portal. The filing fee of this form is $15.
Another way to change your registered agent is to file the update along with the Annual Report. In this case, the filing fee for the change of registered agent is waived, and you’ll only have to pay the Annual Report filing fee.
While this is a good and convenient option, remember that you have to continuously maintain a registered agent in the state. So if you have to file for the change of a registered agent, do it as soon as it’s necessary. Waiting around for the timing to file the annual report can prove counterproductive. Of course, if you can file a change with the annual report, that’s a pretty useful option.