How to Start a Sole Proprietor Business in New Hampshire

By Tom Streissguth

If you have a business plan, you can get started by establishing a sole proprietorship, in which you are the sole owner. In the state of New Hampshire, as in other states, a sole proprietorship does not need to incorporate or register with the state. However, there are important steps to take if you are working in a field that the state licenses or otherwise controls; New Hampshire also levies a Business Enterprise Tax, or BET, on qualifying proprietorships.

Step 1

Go to the New Hampshire Corporation Division website to conduct a business name search, or call the Secretary of State’s information line at 603-271-3246 to check for name availability if you intend to operate your business under a fictitious name. You must verify that no one else is doing business in the state under the same name.

Step 2

Register your fictitious name by filling out and downloading the appropriate form from the Corporation Division website. Mail your name registration form and the appropriate fee to Corporate Division, Department of State, 107 N Main St., Concord, NH 03301-4989. You may call 603-271-3246 for more information, or visit the Division in person at 25 Capitol Street, Room 317 in Concord.

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Step 3

Contact the appropriate state agency to file an application for any required state licenses. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, licenses food-service businesses, while the New Hampshire Liquor Commission licenses the sale of alcoholic beverages. The state provides links to these agencies on its official website, NH.gov.

Step 4

Visit the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration website to apply for any required business tax licenses. Their physical address is 109 Pleasant Street in Concord; You can reach them by phone at 603-230-5000. Some New Hampshire businesses are required to collect sales taxes, user fees, and similar levies that are then passed on to the state.

Step 5

Make quarterly estimated BET payments to the state if you expect to have more than $150,000 of gross receipts from your business in a single calendar year, or if your enterprise value tax base is greater than $75,000. The enterprise value tax base includes compensation, interest, and dividends that you pay out during the year. The tax rate is .75 percent of the enterprise value tax base, and the tax return for the previous year is due April 15.

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