How to Register a DBA in New Hampshire (Step-by-Step Guide)

Last updated: March 12th, 2024
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Starting a new business can be a stressful task. There are many legal terms to understand and many hoops to jump through. Naming your business is a big step; this article will help you understand a DBA. This article will explore what a DBA means, if and why your business might need one, and a step-by-step guide to applying for a DBA in New Hampshire.

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What is a DBA?

The acronym DBA, which stands for ‘doing business as,’ represents a company or individual operating under a fictitious business name. A DBA is a solution if your company desires a more marketable trade name than its official title.

For example, if Steve Clarke owns a sole proprietorship selling handmade instruments, he can register a DBA name, such as “Handmade guitars by Steve,” to market his products and services instead of using his own name.

Registering a DBA is common for sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations who want to use a fictitious name that is more descriptive of their services or products or simply want to use a different name. 

Registering a new DBA varies by state but typically involves: 

  1. Choosing a unique business name
  2. Checking for availability
  3. Filing the proper forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or the county clerk’s office
  4. Paying a filing fee

New Hampshire DBA name registration

Choose your name

The first step is to choose the name of your business. The name needs to adhere to the New Hampshire naming regulations that can be found here.

Some of the main rules are:

  • The entity’s name must be unique and different from other names on record with the Secretary of State’s office.
  • The name cannot be misleading or deceptive in any way.
  • Certain words and phrases, such as “bank,” “university,” and “engineer,” are restricted and require additional documentation or approval.
  • The entity’s name must include certain words or abbreviations to indicate its type, such as “LLC” for limited liability companies.
  • Certain symbols, such as trademarks and registered marks, are prohibited in entity names.
  • The entity’s name cannot imply a government affiliation or endorsement.
  • The Secretary of State’s office can reject any name that does not meet these guidelines.

Check name availability

When you have chosen a name that meets the requirements, you need to search to confirm your name is unique.

Visit the New Hampshire Secretary of State website and go to the business name lookup tab.

Please search for your proposed name to confirm that you can use it.

Once you have selected your name, we recommend buying the web domain. Even if you aren’t ready to launch your business website, buying the web domain stops anyone else from being able to use it. A business website is a fantastic marketing tool for any small business owner.

Register your name

You can register your new name either online or by filling in the form by hand.

The form requires the following:

  • Sections 1 and 2: Name and address of the business
  • Section 3: Description of the type of business
  • Section 4: Date business was organized
  • Section 5: Applicant name and address

If you are filing your form by mail or handing it in by a person, please send them to:


State House Annex
3rd Floor, Rm 317
25 Capitol St, Concord, NH


Corporation Division
NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St, Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301-4989

Pay your filing fees

The filing fees for New Hampshire are $100.

Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA

  • Renewing Your DBA with the State:
    • New Hampshire trade name requires renewal every five years.
    • The Secretary of State sends a renewal notice and the proper form at least six months before the expiration date.
    • This can be done online.
  • Changing Your DBA:
    • Register a new trade name to make changes other than ownership members.
    • Use the add members form to add members and the remove members form to remove members.
    • This can also be done online.
    • The fee for each form is $10.
  • Withdrawing Your DBA:

Obtain an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify your business for tax purposes.

It is important to recognize that your DBA name does not create a new legal entity. If the original company had an established EIN, you would not need another one for DBAs.

Not all businesses need EINs. A sole proprietor can use their social security number as their tax id.

However, you must get an EIN to hire employees or open a business bank account.

You can apply for an EIN online for free on the IRS website. The process is simple and typically takes less than an hour to complete.

Open a business bank account

Opening a separate bank account for your business will help you keep up with your finances and simplify your accounting.

A business bank account will make it easier to accept credit cards and checks as payments.

To open a business bank account, you’ll generally need to provide your business registration documents, identification, and proof of address. Shop around to compare different bank offerings and find one that suits your business needs.

Useful links

Advantages and disadvantages of a DBA

There are many advantages to registering a DBA: 

  • Enhanced flexibility: A DBA name can be altered or updated more quickly and efficiently than a legal business name, allowing business owners to adapt to product shifts.
  • Segregation of personal assets and business finances: Registering for a DBA allows a business bank account to be opened, allowing for using the business name on financial transactions instead of the account holder’s name.
  • Increased branding opportunities: A well-crafted name can be more descriptive and memorable than a legal name.
  • Cost-effective solution: Compared to other business structures, such as Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), registering for a DBA is generally less expensive and less complex, making it a cost-effective alternative for small business owners and entrepreneurs. 

There are a few drawbacks to registering for a DBA, such as: 

  • Limited legal protection: Unlike other business structures like LLCs, DBAs do not offer personal liability protection. This can mean that the business owner is personally responsible for all debts, obligations, and lawsuits related to the business.

Who needs a DBA?

  • Sole proprietors: These individuals run their businesses without forming a separate legal entity. A DBA allows them to use a different name for marketing their products or services, giving them more flexibility to adapt to changes in the market.
  • General partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than the partners’ names. Partners can file a DBA to represent their partnership and increase brand recognition.
  • Corporations: Companies often need to use a different name than their legal name or take on multiple names for different business activities. For instance, if a company has a subsidiary that offers landscaping services under “Green Solutions LLC,” but they also want to get into selling gardening supplies, it can file a DBA for “Garden Supplies” to distinguish between the two business activities.
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs): LLCs are flexible business structures that allow owners to limit their liability and protect their assets. LLCs can also file a DBA to conduct business under a different name or brand.

Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?

You would need a DBA:

  • If you plan to run your business using a name that isn’t your own or your company’s legal name.
  • If you want to create a more marketable, memorable, or descriptive name for your products or services.
  • If you are a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC and want to conduct business under different names.
  • If you want to test new products or markets without changing your legal name.

You may not need a DBA if:

  • If you operate your business using your personal or company’s legal name.
  • If you are a single-owner LLC, that does not need to do business under a different name than your personal name or the name of your LLC.


How long does it take to process my DBA? 

According to the Secretary of State, the processing is typically 3-5 business days.

Does New Hampshire offer expedited service?

There is no expedited service offered.

Do I need to advertise my new DBA?

Unlike certain states, you do not need to advertise your DBA in a local newspaper. However, there are benefits to letting local communities know about your new business.

Does my DBA give me a business license? 

A DBA does not change your legal status and is not a business license. If you need a business license, enquire with the secretary of state before proceeding.

Do I need to file with my county clerk? 

Filing is done at the state level. There is no need to inform your county clerk. 

Find out how to register a DBA in your state

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