How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island for $0 (RI LLC 2023)


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How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island: If you’re looking to start a Rhode Island LLC for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in Rhode Island. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.

On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Rhode Island LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂

Rhode Island LLC

How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island

An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.

If you wish to start an LLC in Rhode Island, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $150. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Rhode Island. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a Rhode Island LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in RI to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Rhode Island LLC

Rhode island name your llc

The first step while forming a limited liability company in Rhode Island is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

Rhode Island LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Rhode Island have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available, and no other existing business in Rhode Island can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Rhode Island State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
Rhode Island Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Rhode Island LLC Name Search – Instructions
Office of the Secretary of State
Corporations Division
148 W. River Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2615

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $50 to reserve your name with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. An additional $2.50 fee should be paid for online filing.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Rhode Island Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register a Trade Name in Rhode Island along with the filing fee of $10.

Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –

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Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers DIY website templates and incredible logo designs at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Resident Agent in Rhode Island

Rhode Island registered agent

The second step to forming an LLC in RI is to appoint a Resident Agent (also known as a Registered Agent in most states). A Resident Agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Rhode Island. Hence, hiring a competent Rhode Island Resident Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Rhode Island or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.

LLC Service

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  • 100% accuracy guarantee

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$39 + State Fees

  • Free operating agreement

  • DIY packages

  • Good customer support

These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Rhode Island. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Rhode Island registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Rhode Island can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Rhode Island and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Rhode Island.

Why Shouldn’t I be My Own Registered Agent?

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.

What is Piercing the Corporate Veil in LLC?

If an LLC is sued in Rhode Island, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.

Registered Agent Consent Application

In Rhode Island, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $10 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on Rhode Island Registered Agent.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Rhode Island

Rhode Island certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a Rhode Island LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Rhode Island Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. It costs $150 (by mail and $208 online) to file your formation certificate in Rhode Island.

The Articles of Organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the structure of the company (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Rhode Island LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Rhode Island, you must register as a Rhode Island Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a subscriber then click on the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, then you can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the Rhode Island Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Rhode Island LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,

Mailing Address:

Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904

Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 5-7 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Rhode Island. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.

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Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Rhode Island. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Rhode Island.

Step 4: Create Your Rhode Island LLC Operating Agreement

Rhode Island operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a Rhode Island LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve Rhode Island LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.

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The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂

Step 5: Filing a Rhode Island LLC EIN

Rhode Island file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Rhode Island LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Rhode Island foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.

Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

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Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.


Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Rhode Island. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.

However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.


After Starting Your Rhode Island LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.

Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of Rhode Island LLC

LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Rhode Island must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Rhode Island,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee (online)$50
Name Reservation Fee (By mail)$52.50
Certificate of Formation Fee$150 (by mail and online)
LLC Annual Fee$50
Sales Tax7%

In Rhode Island, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $50.

In Rhode Island, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50. Also, the State of Rhode Island requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 7% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in Rhode Island for more information.

Rhode Island Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in Rhode Island then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Rhode Island Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the Rhode Island SOS to form your foreign LLC in Rhode Island. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Rhode Island Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in Rhode Island

If you look at Rhode Island’s insights, it is one of the smallest states in the USA but has large opportunities for businesses. Industries are established in the state and are thriving well due to the business environment and incentives offered. So, if you are also willing to start a Rhode Island LLC, here are some of the benefits the state government offers to their LLC start-ups.

Incentives for Small Businesses

Any new Rhode Island LLC that is starting up as a small business will be eligible for plenty of incentives and tax benefits provided by various government entities. A glimpse of some of them is shown below.

  • Any capital gained by the small business will be excluded from the taxation list for some time to invest more in strengthening their foundation. Also, many modifications are to be made in the company’s structuring, for which some amount is to be paid to the government. A business is also exempted from these taxes. Read more on Rhode Island’s classification of LLC tax.
  • Some specific activities are listed by the Rhode Island state government and clarify that if the LLCs follow these activities, they will enjoy some tax credit.

Small Business Loan program 

In Rhode Island, small businesses are liable for 98.9% of the state’s income. That is why the government started a special loan program named Small Business Loan Fund Program. It ensures that any small business looking to level up should not miss an opportunity due to a money crisis. The maximum capital one can derive from the loan is $500,000, which is more than sufficient for carrying forward any expansion-related activity.

Innovation Network Matching Grant 

The INMG program is designed for LLCs in Rhode Island that is medium to small in size. The key industries to whom these grants are provided the healthcare, food and agriculture, life sciences, etc. These businesses are considered essential for running human life, and that is why the incentives are provided to such businesses on the tax they file with the state government.

Best Businesses in Rhode Island

To form an LLC in Rhode Island, you need to gain complete knowledge of the smallest state’s businesses. Several businesses are well flourishing in the state, but only a few have contributed hugely to its GDP. Here is the list of those top 3 businesses

Tourism Industry

One of Rhode Island’s most prominent players, tourism, provides jobs to 50,000 people of such a small state. The state’s total contribution to the country is around $5.75 billion, and the reason behind this is the top-class tourism spots in the state. There are many historical monuments in the state with a long 400 miles of seashore.

There is a place named Benefit Street, which is most popular in the state, and people love to stay around that place due to its artistic and intellectual centers.

Manufacturing sector

The textile mills and jewelry businesses of the state are very famous around the country. For a very extended period of time, the jewelry businesses of the state are also known as the world’s jewelry capital. The jewelry is focused on the inexpensive yet beautiful stones that are procured from the seashore easily.

Other than jewelry, there are some production houses for electrical appliances also in the state. All of these businesses have combined contributed an amount of $4.65 billion to the state’s GDP.

Fishing and Agriculture

Due to the long seashore present in the state, the businesses related to fishing activities are thriving well. A vast mackerel market, cod, striped bass, etc., fishes due to its commercial demand. The state is also dependent on its agriculture sector for milk, sweet corn, and potato.  The overall contribution of both these sectors is around $.12 billion.

Some small businesses that are working goof in the state are:-

  • Special cultural food businesses
  • Custom jewelry shop
  • Fabricated metal products business

Rhode Island LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Rhode Island. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your Rhode Island LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In Rhode Island, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in Rhode Island. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Rhode Island but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Rhode Island

Business filings like LLC in Rhode Island may take up to 5 to 7 business days, depending on the number of applications. Expedited fees may apply to speed up the process.

When you want to start a business in Rhode Island, you should consider forming a Limited Liability Company, or LLC, because of the tax advantages. A limited liability company has the flexibility of a partnership, the personal liability protection of a corporation, and the pass-through taxation benefits of a sole proprietorship.

Fortunately, forming a Rhode Island LLC is fairly simple. However, there are some steps that you will need to take. These steps include deciding on a name for your new business, filing the Articles of Organization, registering your domain name, and maintaining an online presence. If you don’t have the time to do all these things on your own, it may be a good idea to find a registered agent and professional advisor to help.

Having a professional assist you with a Rhode Island LLC is probably a good idea. Although it can be a bit overwhelming, hiring an expert will ensure that you have an LLC that is set up correctly from the get-go. Additionally, they can provide additional services that can help you grow your business, such as writing a comprehensive operating agreement.

The first step to forming an LLC in Rhode Island is to choose a name. You should consider the state’s naming rules to make sure your LLC’s name is unique. Names that violate these rules can lead to extra paperwork or even dissolution of your LLC.

Another important step to forming an LLC in Rhode Island involves choosing a registered agent. This individual is your legal representative, and will receive any official mail and notices from the government. An LLC’s registered agent should be a resident of the state. He or she should also have a physical street address.

The next step is to file the Articles of Organization with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. This can be done both in person and online. Depending on the complexity of your documents, you may have to pay a fee to file. Whether you opt to file by mail or online, it will take about two to three business days.

Getting an EIN (Employer Identification Number) is another requirement for your new Rhode Island LLC. It’s a nine-digit number that’s given to your LLC by the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to being used to identify your business, it’s required when you hire employees. Even if you don’t have any employees yet, you should get one.

Having a well-written operating agreement can prevent disputes between members. Lastly, it’s important to maintain good standing with the state. If your LLC fails to do so, you could face a penalty of $25. For more information about the legal requirements for forming an LLC in Rhode Island, read the following guide.

Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about the legalities of forming an LLC, you can check out the Department of State’s website. They provide a wealth of information on all the steps involved, including fees, deadlines, and ongoing costs.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in Rhode Island by myself?

If you are a resident of Rhode Island, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in Rhode Island in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $150 (domestic LLC) and $150 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Rhode Island include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 7% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Rhode Island?

It takes 5 to 7 business days to get a Rhode Island LLC if you file it online or by mail. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness which has impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in Rhode Island?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the Rhode Island Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in Rhode Island?

Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Rhode Island Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start an LLC in Rhode Island at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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