There are a few different options when it comes to starting a business in Rhode Island. From a legal perspective, there are three main types of Rhode Island for-profit business entities: LLCs, S Corporations or C Corporations. Incfile believes an LLC provides the right mix of liability protection and ease of administration for many entrepreneurs.
In order to form an LLC in the state of Rhode Island, there are some minimum requirements you must meet. These include a completed set of Articles of Organization, a business name and a fee you pay to the Rhode Island Secretary of State. We also recommend taking some additional steps before formally creating your LLC:
- Research your target market to make sure there’s a demand for the products and services you provide.
- Read industry guides to give you a starting point in your niche.
- Create a comprehensive business plan that defines the most important aspects of your Rhode Island business.
- Write an Operating Agreement that covers how you will run your LLC.
After you’ve created your Rhode Island LLC, you will also need to review your business license requirements, understand ongoing filing needs, set up a separate business bank account and get an accountant.
In Rhode Island, you register a business by completing and filing your Articles of Organization with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. You will need to gather information about your business, fill out the form and send it to the Secretary of State with your filing fee. This will officially form your LLC in Rhode Island.
You can file your Articles of Organization on the Secretary of State website or mail it in. Alternatively, Incfile can guide you through every step of the process by getting details from you and filing the form on your behalf — for free! There’s no additional charge for our basic LLC filing service, so all you need to do is pay the Rhode Island state filing fee.
At the time of writing the fee charged by the Rhode Island Secretary of State is $150. You can always check the latest Rhode Island filing fees here. In some states, you can also pay an additional fee for expedited filing through Incfile, which will create your LLC faster. The amount of the expedited fee is dependent on how quickly you want your filing processed. Some LLC filing services do charge you extra to prepare and submit your filing documents, but at Incfile, we do this for free — so you only pay the state fee.
Once you’ve gathered all of your information together and filed your Articles of Organization (or had Incfile do it for you), it can take 1-2 business days for the Rhode Island Secretary of State to legally create your LLC. Since the processing time is already so short, the RI Secretary of State doesn't offer an expedited filing option.
There are a few ways to register your Rhode Island LLC name.
- If you’re forming a new business and your business name is unique in Rhode Island and meets state naming rules, you simply include it in your Articles of Organization.
- If you want to change the legal name of your business, file an Amendment to Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
- If you just want to do business under a different name, file an LLC Fictitious Business Name Statement with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, or have Incfile do that on your behalf.
If you want to prevent people from using your business name across the U.S., you can file a trademark for the name. We can help.
In other states, the formal documents that you file to form a corporation or LLC might be known as Articles of Incorporation. In Rhode Island, this document is called your Articles of Organization, and it performs the same functions as the Articles of Incorporation.
Note: Rhode Island uses the term Articles of Incorporation specifically for the formation of a corporation.
No, the State of Rhode Island does not have a Series LLC offering. A Series LLC is a special type of LLC where you create one “overall” business and then have individual, series LLCs within it, each counted as separate legal entities.
Yes, all legal business entities in Rhode Island, including LLCs, are required to have a Registered Agent at all times. Here at Incfile, we provide a free Rhode Island Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us.
If you wish to change your Rhode Island Registered Agent you can do so by filing a Statement of Change with the Secretary of State. Here at Incfile, we provide a free Rhode Island Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us. If you’ve been using a different Registered Agent and want to switch to us, we’ll file the Statement of Change on your behalf.
If you need to know the Registered Agent of a specific Rhode Island business, you can perform a Rhode Island Registered Agent search within the state's business database.
As an LLC, any business profits you earn will be reported on your personal 1040 filing and reported and taxed as “pass-through” income. You will typically need to pay:
- Self-employment or payroll tax on all business profits
- Federal income tax on profits after you meet your tax-free allowance
- Sales tax for selling taxable products and services
Rhode Island charges a 7 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods. You will also need to pay sales tax if you provide a taxable service. You can find a full list of taxable services here.
You will need to register as a sales tax vendor with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. You can complete this process online via the taxpayer portal provided by the Division of Taxation.
The base rate for Rhode Island sales tax is 7 percent, however there may be additional sales tax depending on your region, county or city. Once you know your overall sales tax amount, calculate the value of all your taxable products and services. Then, multiply that by your sales tax rate to understand how much you will need to pay.
Once your LLC’s sales tax registration is complete, you will receive a notice with instructions on how often you must file a sales tax return and pay sales taxes. Returns and payments may be due monthly, quarterly or annually.
Some businesses will need to pay a corporate franchise tax in Rhode Island, however it does not apply to LLCs unless your LLC is treated as a C Corporation for tax purposes.
If you've formed a business in Rhode Island and are planning to begin operation or continue operating within the state, you'll likely need a business license of some kind. The types of business licenses you need will vary depending on your type of business, industry, location and various other factors. We can research the types of business licenses you might need for you.