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Start a Business in Rhode Island

Starting a business in Rhode Island is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Rhode Island Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Rhode Island business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Rhode Island LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • RI registered agent service

  • Rhode Island business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Rhode Island Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.7 / 5 stars by 488 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Rhode Island

File Your Articles

You file Articles of Incorporation for a Rhode Island corporation or articles of organization for a Rhode Island LLC with the RI Secretary of State.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Rhode Island showing your approved Rhode Island business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Rhode Island business name should be easy with these two items.

Register with the Division of Taxation

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the RI Division of Taxation. We provide all these links in your online account.

Apply for Licenses

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Rhode Island licensing board.  (Most businesses don’t.)  But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account. Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Up and Running

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Rhode Island yourself, you can just hire us as your Rhode Island registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Rhode Island LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Rhode Island corporation or form a Rhode Island LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Rhode Island registered agent service.


Rhode Island LLC vs Corporation

The corporation business structure is very appealing for anyone seeking to build a large, growing company with the option of attracting investors. LLCs, on the other hand, are more suited for small business owners who want to take advantage of the flexible management options and minimal annual upkeep.

But, what about Rhode Island? Any pros and cons for a Rhode Island LLC vs a RI corporation?

In terms of initial formation fees, there is an advantage to starting a Rhode Island LLC versus a Rhode Island corporation. The Articles of Organization cost less to file ($150) than the Articles of Incorporation (min. $230). If your corporation authorizes over $75,000 in authorized shares, the filing fee will increase. Both entities are required to file annual reports ($52.50) each year. Corporations must list officer/director information and manager-managed LLCs need to list manager information on these annual reports. However, member-managed LLCs don’t need to include member names and addresses, allowing for a bit more owner privacy.

During tax season, Rhode Island corporations will get hit slightly harder than LLCs. C corporations are subject to a corporation tax, which is a flat rate of 7% and has a minimum payment of $400. Tax rates for personal income are a bit lower—ranging between 3.75% and 5.99%. Definitely something to consider when starting a Rhode Island business.

Rhode Island also offers strong protection for LLCs against creditors. Although claimants can obtain a charging order—placing a lien on the debtor’s interest—they can’t force the LLC to make distributions. Often, this leads to creditors ending up with very little.

If you want a corporation, you file Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation:

The Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation cost $230 with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.
We custom draft your Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Rhode Island business. The basic requirements of Rhode Island corporations are:
An incorporating ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated;

  • The corporation is perpetual.
  • The corporations purpose is general.
  • The amount of Rhode Island corporation shares you would like to authorize.
  • The class of the shares.
  • The par value of the shares is $.01 unless you state otherwise.
  • The name, address, and signature of each incorporator.
  • The articles are effective upon filing unless you specify otherwise.
  • The registered agent of the proposed Rhode Island corporation.

Rhode Island does not require original signatures on new RI corporation filings. The SOS doesn’t return the filing to you. You have to search online.

Start Your Rhode Island Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Rhode Island Articles of Organization:

To form a Rhode Island LLC, you file Rhode Island Articles of Organization and pay the $150 fee. The basic requirements of Rhode Island LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it.
  • New Rhode Island LLCs name must be different than already registered Rhode Island companies.
  • Choose whether your Rhode Island LLC is to be taxed as a partnership, corporation, or a disregarded entity.
  • The duration of the Rhode Island LLC is perpetual unless you state a limited one.
  • The purpose of the Rhode Island limited liability company is general unless you state a specific one.
  • The Rhode Island registered agent and the physical address.
  • The name, address, and signature of the organizer.
  • If the limited liability company is to be managed by one or more managers or members. If manager managed, list the managers at the time of filing
  • The articles of organization are effective when filed unless you state a later effective date.

Rhode Island does not require original signatures on new RI LLC filings. You’ll get a certificate of formation mailed back to you after the state approves your filing.

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