How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire (2024 Guide)


Steve Bennett
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Start a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire

If you would like to form a corporation in New Hampshire, you should also consider starting a nonprofit corporation since it plays a crucial role in our society, addressing a wide range of community needs and positively impacting countless lives. Starting a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire, from initial planning to ongoing compliance, so that you can make a meaningful difference in your community.

If you want to know more about nonprofit corporations, you may read the whole article until the end, which the Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research. Before starting a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, you must cross-check all the factors and be guided by the steps.

What is a Nonprofit Corporation?

A nonprofit corporation is a legal entity formed under a given state’s specific laws and regulations in the United States. It is created to serve a public or mutual benefit rather than generating profits for its owners or shareholders. Nonprofit corporations typically operate in education, healthcare, social services, arts and culture, and environmental conservation.

In a nonprofit corporation, any surplus income the organization generates is reinvested into its programs and services rather than distributed to shareholders or members. This allows nonprofits to focus on fulfilling their mission and addressing community needs without the pressure to maximize profits.

An example of a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire is New Hampshire Food Bank – Distributes food to those in need across the state, helping to alleviate hunger..

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Steps on How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire

To start a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, you must follow the below steps that, include research and planning, choosing a corporate name, appointing directors, filing for Articles of Incorporation, creating corporate bylaws, holding the initial board of directors, issuing stock, obtaining required licenses and permits, registering with state tax agencies, Annual reporting and ongoing compliance. All these steps are basic ones. It can be changed depending on the type of corporation you form and the nature of your business.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Before starting your nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, you must research and plan. This stage is critical to the success of your nonprofit, as it will help you refine your mission, identify potential supporters, and avoid pitfalls. By conducting thorough research and developing a well-informed plan, you can establish a nonprofit corporation that makes a real difference in the lives of those you serve.

Step 2: Choose a Name for the Nonprofit

Once you have a clear vision for your New Hampshire nonprofit corporation, it’s time to choose a name. Your organization’s name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your mission and purpose. Follow these steps to choose and register your nonprofit’s name in New Hampshire:

Consider the Mission and Purpose when Choosing the Name

Your nonprofit’s name should be closely tied to its mission and purpose, making it clear to potential supporters what your organization is about. Choose a name that is meaningful and easy to remember, as this will help with marketing and fundraising efforts.

Check for Name Availability with the New Hampshire Secretary of State

Before registering your nonprofit’s name, you must ensure another organization still needs to use it in New Hampshire. You can do this by checking the New Hampshire Secretary of State ‘s online database or contacting their office directly.

Register the Name

Depending on your New Hampshire ‘s requirements, you may need to register your nonprofit’s name with the Secretary of State. This typically involves completing a name reservation of 120 days or registration form and paying an online reservation fee of $15, and mail reservation fee of $15. Be sure to follow your state’s specific guidelines and procedures for name registration.

To check the availability of your desired corporate name, you can search the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s business name database and New Hampshire Business Name Search.

If your nonprofit corporation plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done by three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing., which costs around $50. In addition, the DBA’s validity in New Hampshire is five years, which you can file in New Hampshire Secretary of State.

You can check out How to File a DBA in New Hampshire for clearer understanding.

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Step 3: Hire a Registered Agent

Hiring a Registered Agent is essential in starting a nonprofit corporation. Registered Agent is a person or company responsible for receiving important legal documents, tax notices, and other correspondence for your nonprofit corporation. They ensure that your nonprofit corporation remains compliant with state regulations and requirements. There are New Hampshire Registered Agent Services to check in forming New Hampshire Nonprofit Corporation.

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Step 4: Establish Governance and Bylaws

With your nonprofit’s name in place, it’s time to establish your organization’s governance structure and create bylaws. These important documents will outline how your nonprofit will be run, including the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping.

  • Choose the Initial Board of Directors: Your nonprofit’s board of directors will guide your organization’s activities and ensure its long-term success. Choose individuals passionate about your mission, bring diverse skills and expertise to the table, and are willing to commit the time and effort needed to fulfill their responsibilities as board members. In New Hampshire, you need to have at least Five directors for you to operate a nonprofit corporation.
  • Create Bylaws: Your bylaws are the governing document for your nonprofit, outlining the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping. Be sure to cover board meetings, voting, committees, officer positions, conflicts of interest, and amendment procedures. Your bylaws should be tailored to your organization’s needs and requirements and developed in consultation with an attorney experienced in nonprofit law.
  • Hold the First Board Meeting: Once your bylaws have been drafted, hold your first board meeting to review and approve them. This meeting should also include the election of officers, such as the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Be sure to document the meeting’s discussions and decisions in meeting minutes, as these records will be important for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal compliance.

Step 5: Incorporate the Nonprofit

The next step in starting your New Hampshire nonprofit corporation is to formally incorporate your organization with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Incorporation establishes your nonprofit as a separate legal entity and provides limited liability protection for its board members and officers. To incorporate your nonprofit, follow these steps:

Prepare the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the legal document formally establishing your nonprofit corporation. This document should include your organization’s name, purpose, Registered Agent, and principal office address. Be sure to follow your state’s specific requirements for the content and format of the Articles of Incorporation.

File the Articles of Incorporation

Once your Articles of Incorporation is complete, please submit them to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, along with any required filing fees. The filing process may vary depending on your state, but it typically involves mailing or submitting the documents online. Keep a copy of the filed Articles of Incorporation for your records.

Filing Articles of Incorporation in New Hampshire may be done with three methods that are online, by mail and in-person. The Articles of Incorporation fee may vary from different state. However, in New Hampshire, it costs $100 for filing online, by mail, or in person.

  • Online Filing: Create an account/Log in to the SOS site, get the online form, fill it, and submit online
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail or drop it off in person at Corporation Division, NH Dept. of State, 107 N Main St, Rm 204, Concord, NH 03301.

Step 6: Apply for State and Federal Tax Exemptions

Your organization may be eligible for state and federal tax exemptions as a nonprofit corporation. Obtaining tax-exempt status can save your nonprofit money and make it more attractive to potential donors. To apply for tax exemptions, follow these steps:

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN in New Hampshire is a unique number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to your organization. You’ll need this number to apply for tax-exempt status and open a bank account for your nonprofit. You can obtain an EIN by completing the online application on the IRS website or submitting Form SS-4 by mail or fax.

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Apply for Federal Tax-Exempt Status (501(c)(3))

To apply for federal tax-exempt status, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, depending on the size and complexity of your organization. This application requires detailed information about your nonprofit’s finances, governance, and programs. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, including your bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and financial projections. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee, which varies depending on the size of your organization and the form you submit.

Apply for New Hampshire Tax-Exempt Status

In addition to federal tax-exempt status, your nonprofit may be eligible for state tax exemptions. The process for applying for state tax-exempt status varies by state, so research your specific state’s requirements and procedures. This may involve submitting additional forms, documentation, and fees to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.

Step 7: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your nonprofit’s activities and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits to operate legally—research local, state, and federal requirements and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. Be sure to maintain compliance by renewing licenses and permits as needed and staying up-to-date on any regulation changes.

Step 8: Develop a Fundraising Plan and Strategy

Fundraising is critical to the success of your New Hampshire nonprofit corporation, providing the financial resources needed to carry out your mission and programs. Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and timelines for raising funds. This plan should include various funding sources, such as grants, donations, and special events. Create marketing materials and strategies to promote your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and engage potential supporters.

Step 9: Open a Bank Account for the Nonprofit

With your legal and financial foundations in place, it’s time to open a bank account for your nonprofit corporation. Choose a bank that offers services tailored to nonprofits and provides the features and support your organization needs. To open an account, you’ll typically need to provide your EIN, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a resolution authorizing the account opening. Establish proper financial controls and procedures to ensure responsible management of the organization’s funds.

You can check out the New Hampshire Best Banks to know which bank will suit your nonprofit corporation.

Step 10: Establish Record-Keeping Systems

Effective record-keeping and reporting are essential for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal and financial compliance and demonstrating transparency and accountability to your supporters. Set up systems for tracking financial transactions, maintaining records of your organization’s activities, and reporting to the IRS, state, and other relevant agencies. Stay up-to-date on reporting requirements and deadlines to ensure your nonprofit remains in good standing. Hiring a CPA in New Hampshire for this reporting system is best.

Step 11: Launch and Promote the Nonprofit

With your New Hampshire nonprofit corporation officially established and your financial and legal foundations in place, it’s time to launch your organization and begin making a difference in your community. Develop a marketing plan to promote your nonprofit’s mission and services, including creating a website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Network with other nonprofits, community organizations, and stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborations to strengthen your organization’s impact.

Step 12: Ongoing Compliance and Management

Starting a nonprofit corporation is just the beginning – maintaining your organization’s legal and financial compliance is an ongoing responsibility. Stay informed about changes in nonprofit laws and regulations, file required Annual Reports and financial statements, and regularly review and update your bylaws, policies, and procedures as needed. Foster positive relationships with board members, volunteers, and supporters to ensure your nonprofit’s continued success.

Cost of Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire

In forming a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, the filing and Annual fees must be paid. Without it, your nonprofit corporation won’t operate. In New Hampshire, the nonprofit costs $100 for filing online, by mail, or in person, and should file an Annual Report. You should ensure you comply with all the necessary fees and costs so your New Hampshire nonprofit corporation will run successfully and smoothly.

Is Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in New Hampshire Worth It?

Forming a nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire can be worth it if you are dedicated to a specific cause and prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities of running a nonprofit organization. It is essential to carefully consider your goals and resources and consult with a Business Attorney in New Hampshire or other professionals experienced in nonprofit formation and management to ensure that you are making the best decision for your situation.

FAQs

What is a non-profit corporation?
A non-profit corporation is a type of organization that operates for the purpose of providing a benefit to society, rather than for making a profit.
What are the benefits of starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire are exempt from certain taxes and can receive grants from government and private foundations.
How can I form a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
You can form a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire by filing articles of incorporation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
Do I need to have a specific type of mission to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, you must have a specific organizational mission that is focused on a charitable, educational, religious or similar purpose, to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire.
What steps do I need to take to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The steps you need to take to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire include researching your organization’s focus and mission, selecting a board of directors, choosing a name, filing articles of incorporation, and obtaining tax-exempt status.
What is the minimum number of members required to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
There is no minimum number of members required to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire.
Can I use an online service to help me start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
There are many online services that can provide assistance with starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire; however, you should still research and ensure that the service you choose is reputable and knowledgeable in New Hampshire law.
Do I need to create bylaws for my non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, you will need to create bylaws for your non-profit corporation that govern the internal operations of the organization, in accordance with New Hampshire law.
What is the process for obtaining tax-exempt status for my non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The process for obtaining tax-exempt status for your non-profit corporation in New Hampshire begins with filing IRS Form 1023 or 1023-EZ, along with supporting documents, with the IRS.
How long does it take to obtain tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
It can take several months for the IRS to review and approve an application for tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire receive charitable donations?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can receive charitable donations, which are tax-deductible for the donor.
What is the liability for board members of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Board members of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire are typically not liable for any actions or decisions made on behalf of the organization, as long as they were acting in good faith and in the best interest of the organization.
How often must a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire hold board meetings?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire must hold board meetings at least once per year.
What are the reporting requirements for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire must file an annual report with the New Hampshire Secretary of State and comply with IRS reporting requirements.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire pay employees or board members?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire can pay employees but must avoid conflicts of interest and ensure that compensation is reasonable and necessary.
Are there any restrictions on the types of organizations that can receive tax-deductible charitable donations in New Hampshire?
Yes, only qualified charitable organizations can receive tax-deductible charitable donations in New Hampshire.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire engage in political activities?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire are generally prohibited from engaging in political activities, such as endorsing candidates or contributing to political campaigns.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire own property?
Yes, non-profit corporations in New Hampshire can own property, including real estate and other assets necessary to carry out their mission.
How can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire dissolve?
A non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can dissolve by filing a certificate of dissolution with the New Hampshire Secretary of State, after meeting all obligations to creditors and making appropriate arrangements for the transfer of the organization’s assets.
Can I receive a salary as a founder of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, as the founder of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, you may be able to receive a salary, but it must be reasonable and necessary and in line with industry standards.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire be operated by a sole founder or director?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can be operated by a sole founder or director, but a board of directors is recommended to ensure transparency and accountability.
How can I research my non-profit corporation’s potential name to ensure it is available in New Hampshire?
You can search for available names for your non-profit corporation in New Hampshire using the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s corporate name database.
What is the deadline for filing the annual report for my non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The deadline for filing the annual report for your non-profit corporation in New Hampshire is April 1st each year.
Can I operate a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire as a foreign entity from another state?
Yes, you can operate a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire as a foreign entity after registering with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
Is it mandatory to have a registered agent to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, it is mandatory to have a registered agent that is physically present in New Hampshire to receive legal and government documents on behalf of your non-profit corporation.
Is it possible to change the name of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire after it has been incorporated?
Yes, it is possible to change the name of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire after it has been incorporated, but you must file a certificate of amendment with the Secretary of State.
Are there fees associated with starting and maintaining a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, there are fees associated with starting and maintaining a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, including fees for filing articles of incorporation, annual reports, and changes to the organization’s structure or status.
Is it possible to convert an existing business into a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
Yes, it is possible to convert an existing business into a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, but you must follow certain legal and regulatory requirements to do so.
What is a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
A non-profit corporation in New Hampshire is a legal entity formed for a charitable, civic, religious, educational, or scientific purpose.
What is the process for starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The process for starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire involves filing articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State, appointing a board of directors, creating bylaws, and obtaining any necessary licenses or permits.
How long does it take to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The time it takes to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire varies depending on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the organization’s purpose and structure. However, it generally takes 4-6 weeks to receive approval from the Secretary of State.
What are the requirements for starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
To start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State, create bylaws, appoint a board of directors, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and register for any necessary state licenses and permits.
Can I start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire by myself?
No, you will need to appoint at least three individuals to serve as board members in order to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire.
Do I need to hire an attorney to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
While you are not legally required to hire an attorney to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, it is recommended to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
How much does it cost to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The cost of starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire varies depending on a variety of factors, including the filing fee, legal fees, and any necessary licenses or permits.
Where can I find the forms to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The forms to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
What is the filing fee to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The filing fee to start a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire is $50.
Do non-profit corporations in New Hampshire need to register with the Attorney General’s office?
Yes, non-profit corporations in New Hampshire need to register with the Attorney General’s office within five days of incorporating.
How often do non-profit corporations in New Hampshire need to file annual reports?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire are required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office every year on or before April 1st.
How can I obtain tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
To obtain tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, you will need to apply for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
Does a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire need to have a physical office?
No, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire does not need to have a physical office.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire pay its directors or officers?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can pay its directors or officers as long as there is no conflict of interest.
What is the role of the board of directors in a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the affairs of the non-profit corporation in New Hampshire and making important decisions on behalf of the organization.
Can non-profit corporations in New Hampshire engage in political activities?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire can engage in some political activities, but there are restrictions on their participation and involvement in campaigns and elections.
Is there a requirement for how many members can be on a board of directors for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
There is no legal requirement for how many members can be on a board of directors for a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, but there must be at least three.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire sell products or services?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can sell products or services to generate revenue.
Does a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire need to pay state taxes?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire may be exempt from state taxes, but they should consult with a tax professional to determine the specific requirements.
Can non-profit corporations in New Hampshire engage in lobbying activities?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire can engage in some lobbying activities, but there are restrictions on their involvement in legislation and policy-making.
What type of non-profit corporation should I form in New Hampshire?
The type of non-profit corporation you should form in New Hampshire depends on your organization’s purpose and goals. The most common type is a 501(c)(3) organization, which is often used for charitable and educational purposes.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire be dissolved?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can be dissolved if there is no longer a need for the organization or if it is no longer financially feasible.
What should I do if changes need to be made to the articles of incorporation for my non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
If changes need to be made to the articles of incorporation for your non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, you will need to file an amendment with the Secretary of State.
Do directors of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire have a fiduciary duty?
Yes, the directors of a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the organization.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire be held liable for the actions of its directors or officers?
Non-profit corporations in New Hampshire may be held liable for the actions of their directors or officers if it can be proven that they acted outside the scope of their authority or engaged in illegal or unethical behavior.
Can a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire set up fundraising events?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire can set up fundraising events to generate revenue.
What should I do if I have more questions about starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire?
If you have more questions about starting a non-profit corporation in New Hampshire, you should consult with an attorney or accountant familiar with non-profit law in the state.

Also Read

Why You Should Start New Hampshire Nonprofit

One of the main reasons to consider starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire is the opportunity to address local social issues and make a difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s working to combat homelessness, support education, or promote environmental sustainability, there are countless ways to contribute to the well-being of those in need within the community. By starting a nonprofit, you have the chance to create lasting change and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

Another compelling reason to start a nonprofit is the opportunity to bring people together around a common cause. Nonprofit organizations have a unique ability to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds and ideologies who share a passion for making a difference. By creating a platform for collaboration and shared purpose, nonprofits can bridge divides and foster a sense of belonging and community among their supporters and volunteers.

Additionally, starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire can provide a platform for personal growth and development. Running a nonprofit requires strong leadership, communication, organizational, and financial skills – all of which can be valuable assets in both professional and personal life. By taking on the challenges of managing a nonprofit, individuals can sharpen their abilities and expand their capabilities in ways they may never have thought possible.

Furthermore, launching a nonprofit can create opportunities for innovation and creativity. Nonprofits are often at the forefront of developing new solutions to complex social problems, leveraging the flexibility and agility of their organizational structures to test out new ideas and approaches. By starting a nonprofit, individuals have the freedom to experiment, take risks, and push the boundaries of what is possible in pursuit of their mission.

Lastly, starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire can be a deeply fulfilling and personally enriching experience. The sense of purpose and meaning that comes from serving others and making a positive impact on the world is unparalleled. Knowing that your efforts are improving the lives of others can provide a profound sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that few other endeavors can match.

In conclusion, starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire offers a unique opportunity to create change, build community, develop skills, drive innovation, and find personal fulfillment. While the journey may not always be easy, the rewards are immeasurable. If you have a passion for making a difference and a drive to create positive change, starting a nonprofit may be the perfect path for you.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation is a rewarding and challenging endeavor that requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a nonprofit that makes a meaningful difference in your community. As you embark on this journey, remember to stay focused on your mission and your organization’s impact on the lives of those you serve. Never underestimate the power of a passionate, committed team working together to improve the world.

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