Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?


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How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island

Located in New England, Rhode Island is the smallest of all the states in the U.S. Called the Ocean State, RI is known for its maritime history and a large proportion of inlets and waterways. Major economies in the state include textiles, healthcare, education, manufacturing, banking and tourism.

For most business owners, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Rhode Island is by creating a Rhode Island LLC. A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business entity that’s ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. You get the advantages and protections of larger Rhode Island corporations, but with much simpler rules and regulations.

Briefly, the benefits of starting a Rhode Island LLC include:

  • Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
  • Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulation and administration of your Rhode Island LLC
  • Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment

Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.

Six Quick Steps to Forming an LLC in Rhode Island

We’ve got lots of useful information on starting a business in RI. On this page, you’ll find the basic steps of how to form a Rhode Island LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.

STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members

First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.

STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Rhode Island LLC

You will need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in RI. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Rhode Island business entity name search on the Secretary of State website.

There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your South Dakota LLC.

Learn about Rhode Island LLC business naming rules.

STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for your RI LLC

Every Rhode Island LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Rhode Island, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.

STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Rhode Island LLC

Every RI LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.

This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Rhode Island and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a Rhode Island Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.

Learn more about Rhode Island Registered Agents

STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service

You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Rhode Island LLC business formation process.

STEP 6: File A Certificate of Organization With the Rhode Island Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information together for your Rhode Island LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the RI Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Certificate of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Rhode Island LLC. Here’s what is typically included:

  • Your business name and address
  • Details of your Registered Agent
  • Names of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Name of the incorporator

You can file your Rhode Island LLC Certificate of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Rhode Island. You only need to file your Certificate of Organization once.

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Review Information From the Rhode Island Secretary of State

The Secretary of State has plenty of information on forming and running a business in Rhode Island.

These are all the basic steps for forming an LLC in Rhode Island. You’ll find other useful information below.

Special Types of Rhode Island LLCs

A regular Rhode Island LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.

Form a Professional Rhode Island LLC

Some states, including Rhode Island, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. You can find more information here.

Form a Foreign LLC in Rhode Island

If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Rhode Island, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.

More information on Rhode Island filing and licensing requirements here

What to Do After Forming Your Rhode Island LLC

Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Rhode Island? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.

Detailed Information for Your Rhode Island LLC

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

Naming Your Rhode Island LLC

How to search the Rhode Island business registry of the RI Secretary of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Rhode Island LLC name and more.

Rhode Island Registered Agents for Your LLC

How to appoint a Rhode Island Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Rhode Island Registered Agents.

Fees and Requirements for Your Rhode Island LLC

How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Rhode Island rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Rhode Island and federal business licenses, Rhode Island annual reports and more.

Federal, State, Sales and Other Taxes forYour Rhode Island LLC

How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Rhode Island government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment and Rhode Island taxes like sales tax and income tax.

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Rhode Island?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$156 5 Business Days 1 Business Day

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: September 1st

Filing Fee:$53

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