How To Start An LLC In Rhode Island
To start an LLC in Rhode Island, you must file Articles of Organization with the Division of Business Services. You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The Articles of Organization cost $150 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Rhode Island LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Rhode Island LLC Guide:
Rhode Island LLC Filing Options
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Rhode Island LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Rhode Island Articles of Organization Requirements
To form a Rhode Island LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Division of Business Services. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
You must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. Most businesses go with “LLC.”
You can list either an individual or a business that provides resident agent service like Northwest. At this point, you probably know who we recommend. (It’s Northwest.)
This Rhode Island street address will become part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Our address goes here when you hire Northwest.
You’ll have to tick a box to indicate how you plan to have your business income federally taxed: as a partnership, corporation or disregarded entity. For your federal taxes (if you don’t make any tax election changes), single-member LLCs are taxed as disregarded entities and multi-member LLCs are taxed as partnerships. To be taxed as a corporation, you’ll have to file appropriate paperwork with the IRS.
This street address is the official address of your Rhode Island LLC. Hire Northwest and you can use our Rhode Island address as your principal address.
Your Rhode Island LLC can be managed by either members or managers. In a member-managed LLC, members have all the decision-making power. If you don’t plan to run the day-to-day operations, however, you can turn that decision-making power over to one or more managers (who don’t have to be members). Tip: Most LLCs are member-managed.
Your Rhode Island LLC can either start upon filing or you can choose a specific date within 30 days (such as the beginning of a new tax period). Tip: Most LLCs begin upon filing.
Your authorized person is the person with permission to form and submit your Articles of Organization. The authorized person doesn’t have to be a member or manager, but they do have to include their name, address and signature. When you hire Northwest, we’ll be your authorized person.
How much does it cost to start a Rhode Island LLC?
The state filing fee for your Rhode Island LLC Articles of Organization is $150. If you file online, there’s also an “enhanced” fee of $6.
Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $381, including state filing fees, registered agent service and loads of useful forms and resources to get your Rhode Island LLC up and running.
How long does it take to start a Rhode Island LLC?
Typically less than 4 business days. Online filings are usually processed the fastest, usually within a day or two.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we typically have your Rhode Island LLC formed within 4 business days.
Does a Rhode Island LLC need a registered agent?
Yes, a resident agent (also known as a registered agent) is required for your Rhode Island LLC. This doesn’t mean you’re required to hire someone though. You could be your own resident agent—if you don’t mind giving up a chunk of your privacy and free time. State business filings, like your Articles of Organization, are public. So, if you list your personal address or office on these forms, you could end up with a mailbox full of junk and strangers knocking at your door. Also, the key job duty of a resident agent is to be available at the address you listed. Business, however, doesn’t always take place in the office—you have meetings, business travel and just time away to hit the beach. Unless you plan to be tied to your desk during business hours, you may want to hire a resident agent service like Northwest.
Hire Northwest, and our address will go on your formation documents. We’ll take on the spam and solicitors, and we’ll be there to ensure you never miss a legal notification. We’ll even scan and send them the same day. An added perk? Using our address throughout your Articles provides consistency and convenience. No need to check or update multiple addresses as your business grows and changes.
Create the Rhode Island LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Absolutely. Some Rhode Island LLCs fall into the trap of thinking “Rhode Island doesn’t require me to submit an operating agreement, so it must not be important,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, Rhode Island isn’t concerned with every exact detail of how you run your business, but for you, that’s EVERYTHING. Your operating agreement is your most critical internal document.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Your operating agreement puts into writing who owns the business. Who invested what. How profits and losses are allocated. What happens if there’s a disagreement. What happens if your LLC closes its doors (knock on wood). Members will want to see it. So will lenders, investors, and partners. Just to open an LLC bank account, you typically need your operating agreement.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
Since it’s not a standard form you file with the state, what should your operating agreement even look like? Where do you begin? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—at least not when you hire Northwest to form your Rhode Island LLC. When you hire us, we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ll give you other free forms too, from membership certificates to resolutions. Our forms aren’t like the other cheap-o garbage floating around the web. We hope to work with your business for a long time, so we want you to start out on the right foot. That’s why we’ve spent years refining and improving all of our free forms. We’re proud to say that over 1 million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get a Rhode Island LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
You’ll need an EIN if you want to hire employees or if you submit certain federal tax filings like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. You may also need an EIN to open a business bank account, establish credit with a vendor or fill out local tax forms. You might as well get one, especially since they’re free from the IRS. Not keen on filling out any more applications? You can add on EIN service for an additional fee when you hire Northwest.
Open a Bank Account for Your Rhode Island LLC
To open a bank account for your Rhode Island LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Rhode Island LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Rhode Island LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Rhode Island LLC need a business license?
While Rhode Island requires licenses for specific business activities and professions (such as architects and real estate appraisers), there’s no general, statewide business license. Cities and counties in the 401 often have their own licensing requirements as well.
File Rhode Island LLC Reports
What is a Rhode Island LLC Annual Report?
Your Rhode Island LLC Annual Report is a form you submit to the Business Services Division each year to update your contact and ownership information. The form is due November 1st. You’ll have to pay a late fee of $25 if your form isn’t received by December 1st. The unusual filing date (seriously, why November 1st?) means plenty of LLCs forget to file and end up paying more than they need to—but Northwest will help you remember. When you sign up for our services, we send you report reminders. You can even hire us to file your Annual Report for you each year.
How much does an LLC in Rhode Island cost each year?
Every year, your LLC has to pay $50 ($52.50 online) to file a Rhode Island LLC Annual Report.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Rhode Island LLC taxes?
The Rhode Island personal net income tax rates are:
3.75%: $0 to $61,299
4.75%: $61,300 to $139,399
State sales tax is a flat 7% across the state—cities and counties don’t tack on any additional sales tax.
Word to the wise: No matter how your LLC is taxed, be prepared to shell out at least $400 in entity-level taxes or fees each year to the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. LLCs taxed as partnerships or disregarded entities have to pay a fee “equal to the minimum business corporation tax:” $400. S corporations just owe the $400 minimum tax, and regular corporations owe $400 or more.