Start a Business in Rhode Island

The two main entities that companies choose to file in Rhode Island are the LLC and Corporation entity types.  These two are popular for two main reasons.  The first reason is that they both provide limited liability protection to the owners, members, or shareholders.  The next reason that they are often used is pass through taxation.  You can get pass through taxation benefits if you file for an LLC or a S-Corporation.  The C-Corporation is often referred to as a stand alone entity and this is because it is responsible for paying its own taxes.  The C-Corp, and not the individual is responsible for it's taxes.  This is unlike the S-Corporation and limited liability company who have income that passes through the entity and lands directly with the owners, shareholders or members.   The is a great benefit for some in that it can avoid the bad effect of double taxation.

Form an LLC in Rhode Island

Filing for an LLC or choosing to form an LLC in Rhode Island is a popular choice for many business owners.  The numbers each year show that more LLCs are filed than Corporations.  This is because, the LLC is often used by smaller companies or start up companies due to the fact that people view them as having better benefits and an easier management structure than the Corp.  If you are uncertain about which filing type is right for you, definitely speak with a CPA or accountant in your area.  They should be able to give you specific guidance for your entity type.

Searching for an LLC Name in RI

The name search isn't hard, in fact it is easy to conduct a name search in Rhode Island.  Some states are easier than others, but RI is ok.  The way you do this is by using the online name search in Rhode Island search tool that is provided at the Secretary of State website.  You can conduct the name search totally online, and you can even call the state office if you have questions or need guidance.  If you have an urgent need for getting your corp filed, I'd recommend giving them a call before you submit your paperwork and ask if the name is available.

Incorporate in Rhode Island

The process to incorporate in Rhode Island isn't a difficult one, but it is one that requires a very defined process.  The State statutes will help you to make sure that you follow the correct filing requirements.  But here are some tips and suggestions.

  1. The name of your Inc. must be available and unique from all other registered entities.  The means that it must be distinguishable and not confusingly similar.  So, if the name Bear Nutrition is registered you most likely cannot register Beear Nutrition.  If you look at the names closely you'll see that there is just one character difference and this is a bit confusing.  This is the way the state will view it too, and they will probably reject your filing.
  2. You must have the business address and mailing address for the business.
  3. You need to provide the name and physical street address for a registered agent in the State of Pennsylvania.  This address cannot be a P.O. Box.
  4. You will need to provide share information about both the number of shares and the class of shares.  
  5. Finally, the articles will need to be signed or electronically signed by the incorporator of the Corporation.  The Incorporator doesn't necessarily need to be associated with the business and historically this person if often an attorney who is filing paperwork on behalf of the company.

Tips for doing a name lookup in Rhode Island

The Corporate name lookup is easy in Rhode Island and can be done online in the same was as the limited liability company.  The process is essentially looking up existing companies who have registered for businesses.  You can use the online form provided to search for a Rhode Island Corporation by the Secretary of State.

The corporation name must include and end in: "Corporation", "Incorporated", "Inc.", "Corp"

Rhode Island Secretary of State Links:
Secretary of State Address :
Rhode Island
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2615
Secretary of State Phone :
(401) 222-3040
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