Start a Business in Rhode Island

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

Start My Business



Helpful Tools


Welcome to Our Community

We're committed to publishing free informational resources such as this how-to guide. Our resources have been shared by important industry organizations including:






This guide on starting your business in Rhode Island provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than Rhode Island, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

Rhode Island Limited Liability Company

Click for step-by-step instructions
  • Form 400: Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form BAR: Business Application and Registration
  • Formation: $150
  • Formation: ~7 business days by mail or online. Same day for in-person filings.

Rhode Island Corporation

Click for step-by-step instructions
  • Form 100: Business Corporation Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form BAR: Business Application and Registration
  • Incorporation: $230 for less than 75,000,000 shares of authorized stock
  • Incorporation: ~7 business days by mail or online. Same day for in-person filings.

Rhode Island Nonprofit

Click for step-by-step instructions
  • Form 200: Non-Profit Corporation Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: 501(c) Tax Exempt Application
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form BAR: Business Application and Registration, if required
  • Application for Certificate of Exemption for an Exempt Organization from the Rhode Island Sales and Use Tax
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • Charitable Trust Registration Statement, if applicable
  • Incorporation: $35
  • 501(c): $275 or $600 IRS fee
  • Rhode Island Form BAR: varies based on taxes/licenses/permits required
  • Rhode Island sales tax exemption: $25
  • Rhode Island charitable trust registration: $50, if applicable
  • Incorporation: ~7 business days by mail or online. Same day for in-person filings.
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in Rhode Island

  1. Your name must end with an approved corporate designator. We'll explain your options and how to conduct a name search.
  2. Rhode Island offers a combined registration application for retail sales, income tax withholding, and unemployment insurance. Apply for all other tax accounts / licenses / permits individually.
  3. Appointing a registered agent is required for LLCs and corporations. Not all business owners will be able to serve as their own registered agent. We'll detail what it takes. Rhode Island uses the terms registered agent and resident agent interchangeably.
  4. Corporations and LLCs are obligated to file an annual report with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. The form is mailed from the Rhode Island Secretary of State to your registered address two weeks prior to your filing period.
  5. Rhode Island is a relatively easy state to register your business. The process, forms, and fees are all reasonable. Know that one day when you expand your business to another state, the process (foreign registration) may be more challenging.

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

© 2012 - 2019 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to our Terms of Use and Service Agreement.