New Hampshire Business License

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

New Hampshire Business License

The process of launching a business venture in New Hampshire can be tricky. Since there’s no universal New Hampshire business license to simplify matters, you’ll need to navigate through the federal, state, local, and even professional licenses that may apply to find out which ones you need.

This article seeks to make the entire business licensing process more straightforward by exploring which, if any, licenses your business may need and how to obtain them. Read on to find out how you can legally establish your New Hampshire business with confidence.

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Do I Need a Business License in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, businesses are required to obtain various licenses and permits at the local, state, and federal levels. Here’s a general breakdown:

Type of Business

Below, we’ve detailed common ways in which your business type can dictate the licenses you’ll be required to obtain, as well as specific examples of these:

  • Sales Tax Permits: Since New Hampshire doesn’t impose sales tax at the state level, seller’s permits are not a legal requirement. However, if your business sells products out-of-state you may be required to obtain a foreign seller’s permit. This requirement may depend on the amount of revenue you generate in other states, where your purchased items are being delivered, and each state’s local rules towards online sales
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions in New Hampshire require practitioners to obtain a relevant license from a state regulatory board in order to operate legally. For example, architects must be licensed by the Board of Architects, which forms part of the New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure & Certification
  • Environmental Permits: Most business activities that can negatively impact the environment or the health of the general public are licensed by a regulatory body in New Hampshire. For example, many businesses offering asbestos-related services are required to obtain the relevant license from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

However, this is not the only factor influencing the exact combination of licenses you’ll need — the location of your business within New Hampshire plays an important role as well.

Location

In this section, we’ve provided a succinct overview of the potential licenses and permits that your business may need due to local, state, and federal requirements:

  • Local: The licenses you may be required to obtain can vary depending on the municipality in which your business is based. For instance, pawnbrokers operating in the city of Nashua are required to file a completed Pawnbrokers & Secondhand Dealers Application along with a $50 fee to the City Clerk’s Office
  • State: In addition to this, you’ll also need to be mindful of the licenses that are managed at a state level. In New Hampshire, for example, this primarily refers to the 50 professional fields that are managed by the New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification
  • Federal: If your business operates within certain industries or does specific types of work, you might need a federal business license from the US government. These include the alcohol, aviation, firearms and explosives, radio and television broadcasting, and transportation industries, among others

Since the exact permits and licenses your business will need are entirely unique to your situation, you’ll have to conduct thorough research into your own local, state, and federal regulations to smoothly launch your business.

Alternatively, many entrepreneurs opt to leverage the expertise of third-party services to handle this on their behalf.

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How to Get a Business License in New Hampshire

In order to get your business license(s) in New Hampshire, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Form Your Business
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Apply for the Required Licenses and Permits

Let’s take a look at each step in more detail below.

Step 1: Form Your Business

Before setting out to obtain a business license in New Hampshire, it’s pivotal that you first choose an appropriate business entity. Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and corporations are all common choices, however, it’s often seen as the most advantageous for small businesses to register as a New Hampshire Limited Liability Company (LLC). Here are a few reasons for why:

  • Limited Liability: Members are protected from personal liability for business debts, safeguarding personal assets
  • Tax Benefits: LLCs typically enjoy a pass-through tax treatment, avoiding the double taxation that corporations are subjected to
  • Management Flexibility: LLCs allow for flexibility in management structure, either being member-managed or manager-managed based on the preferences outlined in the certificate of formation
  • Ease of Formation: With the New Hampshire Secretary of State providing forms that meet the minimum state law requirements and the option to file online, setting up an LLC is relatively straightforward

Many small business owners opt to avoid the tricky process of forming an LLC by instead leveraging the help of third-party LLC formation services.

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Step 2: Obtain an EIN

The second step you’ll need to complete before applying for your business license is to obtain your EIN. This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses in the United States so that their financial transactions can be identified and tracked.

An EIN is often necessitated when applying for various permits and licenses as it allows local and state governments to ensure your business is operating within the confines of the law. You can obtain it in a number of ways:

  • Online: You can apply for your EIN on the IRS’s official website by using the EIN Assistant. You should be granted your EIN shortly after completing this application
  • By Fax/Mail: After completing Form SS-4, you can apply for an EIN by submitting it to the IRS via mail or fax
  • By Phone: International applicants and businesses located outside US Territories are required to call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to obtain their EIN — which they should receive during this call

Note: If you are a sole proprietor, you will be able to use your Social Security Number (SSN) instead (as long as you do not have employees).

Step 3: Apply for Licenses and Permits

After settling on the appropriate structure for your business and initiating the application for your EIN, the next step is to focus on securing the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally within your locale and industry.

  • Local Licenses: The permits your business may be required to obtain can vary largely depending on the city and county you’re based in. As an example, businesses offering amusement devices (e.g., pool tables, bowling alleys, and mechanical arcade games) in the City of Nashua need to obtain the relevant license from the City Clerk’s Office
  • Statewide Licenses: Since there is no requirement to obtain a seller’s permit in New Hampshire, the main types of state licenses to be aware of are those regulating the various professions. The New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification is the representative of more than 50 of these professions in New Hampshire
  • Federal Licenses: While the federal government doesn’t mandate licenses for general business operations, if your business falls under any government-regulated category, such as agriculture, fishing, firearms, and alcohol sales, it may be required to obtain additional federal licenses or permits

Note: For more detailed information on the federal licenses your business may need, it’s best to check with the US Small Business Administration.

Step 4: Renewal of Licenses and Permits

Many business licenses must be renewed periodically every few years in order to keep them valid, though the exact renewal process will vary depending on the type of license being renewed. For example, professional license renewals are completed online and you will be sent a renewal notification 60 days before expiry.

If you’re unsure about how to renew any of your business licenses, reach out to the agency that issued your license for clarification. Alternatively, due to how complicated each step of applying for and renewing business licenses is, third-party services that handle this entire process are becoming an increasingly popular option.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this process, see our article on How to Get a Business License.

How Much is a Business License in New Hampshire

While the total cost of obtaining all the business licenses you need is unique to your situation, the average business license cost in New Hampshire is typically around several hundred dollars. For example, it costs $198 to apply for active-status dentist and hygienist licenses.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to renew most licenses — usually annually — and renewal often comes with a fee. In addition, New Hampshire can sometimes charge a small processing fee for online transactions.

For the most accurate estimation of how much it will cost you to get licensed in New Hampshire, we recommend using a third-party service to find the business licenses you will need.

New Hampshire Business License FAQ

Does New Hampshire require business licenses?

Yes and no, New Hampshire does not have a statewide general business license, however, it’s likely your business will need some type of license or permit to operate depending on its nature and the city or county in which it’s located. More information about the licenses you may need can be found in our New Hampshire Business License article.

How long does it take to get a business license in New Hampshire?

The time it takes to obtain a business license in New Hampshire varies by municipality and will depend on the specific type of license needed. That being said, it typically takes anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks to obtain most licenses. Make sure to check with local authorities for more precise timelines.

What is needed to start a business in New Hampshire?

To start a business in New Hampshire, you’ll need to create a business plan, choose a business structure, and register your business name. You’ll also need to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and possibly obtain local permits or specialized New Hampshire business licenses, depending on your business type. We break down this final step in more detail in our article on How to Get a Business License.

How do I look up a business license in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire doesn’t have a centralized database for business licenses. However, you can check with the Secretary of State’s office for business registrations. For specific licenses or permits, it’s best to consult local government websites or offices for information.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Get a Business License page.