Rhode Island Business Facts
Rhode Island is currently at the bottom in terms of its business environment. However, there is hope for Rhode Island if the government works on amending its taxation system, forming new industries, fixing the transport system, and improving its state regulations.
Major Companies Headquartered in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is the headquarters of many major companies including CVS Health, Textron, Lifespan, Applied Bio-Systems, and Citizens Bank.
Despite the slow economic growth in Rhode Island, the state has the potential to improve its startup environment. At present, some of the major industries in Rhode Island are biomedicine, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and data analytics.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation, or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later, but it’s much easier in the long run if you can stick to the original business name). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Rhode Island, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Rhode Island state databases:
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Rhode Island naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Rhode Island Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Rhode Island.
How to Form an LLC in Rhode Island
How to Incorporate in Rhode Island
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Rhode Island is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Rhode Island
Optional Considerations when registering a Rhode Island business
Ready to register a business in Rhode Island?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLCs and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and ask about the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN, and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Rhode Island
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments, or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. You’ll need to develop a system for processing orders, paying bills, employees, taxes, maintaining your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 2 years, with an option for renewal.
LLC: Rhode Island corporations are required to file a Periodic Report with the Rhode Island Secretary of State by November 1 each year, in addition to general taxation. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here.
Corporation: Businesses in Rhode Island should file a report annually by March 1 to the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $52.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Business Portal (for Corporation and LLC filings)
148 West River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615
Rhode Island Taxation Departments
Rhode Island Labor and Employment Departments
Rhode Island Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Rhode Island District Offices
2. SCORE Rhode Island
3. Rhode Island Legal Statutes:
6. Rhode Island Angel Investors
7. Rhode Island Business News
8. Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
9. Rhode Island Small Business Development Center
10. Department of Environmental Management
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