How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island
Here are the 7 steps to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Rhode Island
For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.
Find out how to form a Rhode Island LLC for yourself
Learn about Rhode Island LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.
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Creating an LLC in Rhode Island
A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.
A Limited Liability Company LLC must be formed in Rhode Island by filing the Articles of Organization with the Rhode Island Secretary of State and paying the $150 filing fee.
However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your Rhode Island LLC. It can take 7-10 business days for a filing to be processed via mail, 1-2 business days online, and same-day if you file it in person.
An LLC can be easily formed in Rhode Island. Our step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island will help you get started today. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.
Step 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC Rhode Island
Creating an LLC in Rhode Island requires you to choose a business name before you can file a Articles of Organization. Be sure that your business name complies with the Rhode Island naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.
- Rhode Island law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
- It is not acceptable for your Rhode Island LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC Rhode Island appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
- There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
- Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)
See a complete list of Rhode Island’ naming rules here.
Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your Rhode Island LLC name.
An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".
You must register a "doing business as" or DBA name at both the state and local levels if you own a Rhode Island business and want to use a different name than your legal business name.
Step 2: Appoint Your Registered Agent in Rhode Island
Your next step in forming an LLC in Rhode Island is to appoint a Registered Agent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.
All Rhode Island LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.
During regular business hours, the agent must be on-site and available to accept documents.
Registered Agent Requirements in Rhode Island
To comply with Rhode Island law, your LLC’s registered agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in Rhode Island. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person.
Although you do not have to submit this form to the Secretary of State, your business must record it. Learn more about Rhode Island Registered Agents by reading our full guide.
A resident Agent must be a Rhode Island resident or a corporation authorized to conduct business in the state of Rhode Island, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your company, including yourself.
Yes, By filing a Statement of Change form with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, you can change your registered agent in Rhode Island (SOS). There are two different types of SOS change of agent forms. One is for corporations, and the other is for limited liability companies (LLCs). The form is not signed by the registered agent.
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Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when forming an LLC in Rhode Island.
Step 3.Prepare and File Articles of Organization
To create a Rhode Island LLC, you will need to file (Form 400) Articles of Organization with the Rhode Island Department of State. You may apply online, by mail, or in person.
There is a $150 filing fee. You must send the original and a copy of your certificate if you file by mail.
You will receive a duplicate form back from the state once it receives your documents.
It may take up to 7 business days to process a mailed submission.
If you choose one of our business formation plans, we can handle this step for you.
The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:
- Your LLC name and principal place of business.
- Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
- Decide whether your Rhode Island LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
- The reason for forming the LLC in Rhode Island.
- Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
- The effective date of the certificate,
- The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.
Foreign LLCs: In order to form a foreign LLC in Rhode Island, you must submit a Rhode Island Secretary of State, Corporations Division application for registration. You can submitted this document by mail or in person.
The cost of filing an Application for Registration is $150.
Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization
The 1st option is:
Online filing through the Rhode Island Department of State
The 2nd option is:
Filing the Articles of Organization by Mail
Address to Mail
There is a state filing fee of $150 payable to the Rhode Island Department of State. (nonrefundable)
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904
In a member-managed LLC, the members (owners) take on the business's daily responsibilities. Manager-managed LLCs are managed by managers who are elected by the members. Those who manage your LLC will have the authority to do a wide range of tasks-from hiring staff to opening bank accounts.
The formation of an LLC may take up to 7 business days by mail or online. Same-day for in-person filings.
If you're just getting started in business or have been operating as a sole proprietor for a while, you should think about forming an LLC. LLCs limit an owner's personal liability for business debts and lawsuits, and they provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of business ownership, management, and taxation.
When an LLC conducts business in the state where it was formed, it is referred to as a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC is needed whenever an existing LLC wishes to conduct business in another state.
Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State
Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.
By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.
Step 5. Write an Rhode Island LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.
Operating agreements are not required in Rhode Island, but they are an essential part of your business.
Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.
The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.
An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.
How should an operating agreement be drafted?
The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:
- Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
- Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
- If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
- The members and their contributions
- How profits and losses will be divided
- Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members
In Rhode Island, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization.
It's critical to comprehend this because it's the primary reason your single-member LLC requires an operating agreement. Even if your state doesn't require an operating agreement, operating your business without one could jeopardize your LLC status.
No. An operating agreement is an internal document you should keep for future reference. However, many states do require LLCs to have an operating agreement.
Step 6. Get an EIN for Your Rhode Island LLC
Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in Rhode Island.
To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.
An EIN is used for the following purposes:
- Manage state and federal taxes
- Create a business bank account
- Hire employees
Get an EIN Number in Rhode Island
Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in Rhode Island.
The 1st option is:
Apply online for an EIN from the IRS
The 2nd option is:
Get an EIN by Mail or Fax
Address to Mail
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Yes, For LLCs that will have employees, an EIN is required. In addition, in order to open a business bank account, most banks require an EIN.
A tax classification will be discussed with you when you obtain an EIN. In most cases, LLCs choose the default status.
Some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by electing S corporation status. Consult with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.
Step 7. File Annual Reports
The Rhode Island Secretary of State requires all Rhode Island LLCs and foreign LLCs authorized to do business in the state to file a Limited Liability Company Annual Report (Form 632) and pay a $50 filing fee.
The report must be filed with the Secretary of State between September 1 and November 1 of every calendar year starting with the year when the LLC’s original Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State.
Due Date: Each year, between September 1st and November 1st, a report is due. Filings made more than 60 days prior to this date will be rejected, and fees will be refunded.
Late Filings: Rhode Island charges a $25 penalty for late filings. In addition, failure to file an annual report can result in the revocation of an LLC’s certificate of formation or certificate of authority, resulting in the loss of certain rights and privileges.
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What to do After Forming Your Rhode Island LLC
Keep your personal and business assets separate
Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your Rhode Island LLC is issued if they are mixed with your business accounts.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in Rhode Island:
1. Open a Bank Account
As soon as your LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between the LLC and you (the owner).
Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.
It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. Find out which banks offer the best business checking accounts, have low or no fees, ATM accessibility, and interest-earning accounts as well as online or mobile banking tools.
Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.
2. Obtaining a business credit card:
- Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
- Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
- It prevents your business from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
- Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
- Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made
Getting Business Insurance for Your LLC
You can manage risks and grow your LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:
- General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
- Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.
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Let us help you with your business insurance needs.
- General business liability insurance
- Medical insurance
- Term life insurance
- Workers’ Comp
- Surety bonds
- Commercial auto
Create Your Business Website
A website is an important step in legitimizing your business. It is essential for all businesses. You are missing out on a large percentage of potential customers and revenue if you don’t have a website, even if your business is too small or in an offline industry.
More than 90% of consumers begin their search for products and services online. If you don’t have a website that is ready to welcome your customers, then they will simply find your competitors.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- Every respectable firm has a website. When it comes to getting your firm online, size or sector isn’t a concern.
- Creating a basic website has never been easier, thanks to website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder. To design a website, you don’t need to hire a web designer or developer.
Recommended: If you want to enhance your conversion rates and maximize revenue in order to help expand your business and meet objectives, you should always hire a professional business website design company to build your business website.
Wise Business Plans is a leading web design company, We have created over 2000 + websites across 20 countries for our clients but we are physically based in 7 major cities in the United States including Alabama web design, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Iowa, Michigan and San Diego.
Rhode Island LLC FAQs
The cost of forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Rhode Island is $150. When the LLC's Articles of Organization are filed with the Rhode Island Department of State, this fee is paid.
It usually takes the Florida Secretary of State 5 to 7 business days to process business formation documents after they receive them.
The good news is that you can significantly reduce your wait time by paying a little more for expedited processing. The process of expediting LLC formation can be handled by our faster filing speeds service.
You can file articles of amendment to change your Rhode Island LLC name, managers, structure, and/or duration.
If you want to form an LLC in Rhode Island and provide a licensed professional service, you must first form a professional limited liability company (PLLC). Architects, attorneys, dentists, certified public accountants, and other professionals provide professional services. In general, if you provide a service that necessitates the acquisition of a Rhode Island state license before you can practice, you are providing a professional service. LLCs can be formed in Rhode Island to provide professional services.
Submit the completed Articles of Dissolution to the Rhode Island Secretary of State (SOS) by mail or in person to dissolve your Rhode Island LLC. To dissolve an LLC, it must be in good standing, which means you must have filed all annual reports and maintained a Rhode Island registered agent.