Rhode Island Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Rhode Island?

Starting a business in Rhode Island means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Opening a business is an exciting time. However, it can be full of anxiety and frustration if you don’t have a good roadmap. There are many hoops you need to jump through to get your company up and running and to keep it running smoothly after the startup phase. If you still need to form your company, use our LLC formation or corporation formation service.

You probably know that the Rhode Island Department of State charges business owners Rhode Island formation fees to form either a corporation or LLC. These are known as “statutory entities.” Not only do you have to pay a fee to form a statutory entity, but you also have to pay fees to stay in compliance with state law.

If this sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look at what kinds of fees you might encounter as a Rhode Island business owner, and how we can help make the process as stress free as possible. 

Step 1: Pay your Rhode Island business’s initial filing fees

Each state charges a fee to form a statutory entity, and Rhode Island is no exception.  The Department of State Business Services Division collects the Rhode Island formation fee that you pay when you transmit your company’s formation documents. Online filings only take one to three business days to process. You should contact the Rhode Island Department of State directly if you need to process your formation documents sooner.

You know you want to get your Rhode Island company running as soon as possible. Let us help you. By utilizing our Expedited Filing Service, we can have your business formed in no time at all. 

Step 2: Reserve your Rhode Island business’s name

Making sure that you can name your business the way you want to is vital. You want a name that quickly tells a potential customer exactly who you are and what you do. You don’t want to start out your new company with a name that doesn’t suit your business. 

All Rhode Island businesses must have a unique business name under Rhode Island law. Having a business name that is deceptively similar to another business name will cause the Department of State to reject your business formation documents. You can avoid that by checking the Rhode Island Department of State Corporate Database to see if the name you want is taken. However, you may not be guaranteed to get the name you want by simply checking the database. 

Once you’ve found a name that isn’t taken, then you can file an Application for Reservation of Entity Name. The name reservation is valid for 120 days from the date of the filing and can’t be renewed. Be sure to follow business naming rules in Rhode Island. The Department of State will reject your application if you don’t.

You’d rather be working instead of worrying about getting the name you want for your business. We can help. We have a service that you can use to reserve the business name that you want efficiently and without any hassle whatsoever.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Rhode Island

Some businesses use a generic corporate name and choose to use a “doing business as” (DBA) name or a trade name. Rhode Island calls them Fictitious Business Names. DBA names can help you market your business without having to reveal the actual name of the company. For example, if you have a seafood business in Rhode Island that has wholesale services, retail services, and processing services, you might want to market each part of your business with a different name. That way, you don’t have to form a new corporation or LLC for each individual component of your business. 

Rhode Island law requires that you use a fictitious name that’s distinguishable from every other name in the Rhode Island Department of State database. You have to file the Fictitious Name Statement before you can use a name other than the business’s legal name.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You can get an EIN for free through the IRS website, which functions as your business’s social security number to identify responsible parties within the business as well as for taxation purposes.

Not every business needs an EIN. However, you’ll need one if you run a corporation or partnership, if you have employees, or if you file certain taxes related to employment, excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. 

Forgetting to sign up for an EIN is easy to do. But we offer an EIN Service without any hassle on your end. We take care of the details so you can focus on the big picture.

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Rhode Island business

These documents are the blueprints for running your business. They provide the structure for your business and guide you through certain decisions that need to be made. Corporations are required to have and maintain bylaws in their corporate record, but LLCs are not required to have an operating agreement. However, having one can make running your business much easier by detailing how profit and loss sharing happens, as well as conflict resolution, entity sales, and other important decisions.

Have a Rhode Island LLC and not sure where to start? Our Operating Agreement Template can give you the jumpstart you need to structure the right operating agreement for your LLC. 

Step 6: Apply for your Rhode Island business’s licenses and permits

Rhode Island doesn’t have a general business license requirement. However, you should be aware that there are many licensing requirements at the state and municipal level that you’ll need to obtain before you can open your business. Additionally, you have to register your business with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. You’ll need to open one or more tax accounts depending on whether your business makes retail sales or has employees. 

Additionally, you need to consult the Department of Business Regulation. The Department of Business Regulation issues commercial licenses for several industries. Cities and towns also have a variety of licenses and permits you’ll need to run your business. You may even need to obtain a professional license from the state. Most of these licenses need to be renewed periodically as well. 

How do you know which licenses and permits you might need? We have a Business License Report that generates a list of licenses and permits you need for your industry. Why search all over when you could simply have everything you need to know in one place?

Step 7: Pay registration fees for your out-of-state business

If you have a company that you started in another state, you might want to open another office in Rhode Island at some point. In Rhode Island, the process to register your foreign business is similar to the process used to initially register a domestic business. First, your business has to have a unique name. Additionally, you need to get a Certificate of Good Standing, foreign qualification, Certificate of Authority, or legal existence from your home state as well. Finally, you have to register your business as a foreign entity.

If you own a Rhode Island business and you want to open up in another state, you need to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from the State of Rhode Island. You can get one from the State Division of Taxation. A Certificate of Good Standing in Rhode Island signifies that you formed the business correctly, filed your annual reports, maintained a registered agent and office in Rhode Island, and paid your taxes. 

You must pay a fee to register your foreign business in Rhode Island. Similarly, you have to pay a fee to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing as well.

Step 8: Check Rhode Island’s annual report requirements and fees

Maintaining compliance with state law means filing an annual report. The state assesses a fee to file your annual report. You could incur late fees if you miss your filing deadline. You need to be certain that you file your annual tax returns with the Division of Taxation as well.

Filing an annual report can take time away from doing the things you need to do to make your company successful. Let us help you stay in compliance. We have an Annual Report Service that’s simple and easy to use. You can stay compliant with Rhode Island law and keep your company on track with our help.

Step 9: Keep your Rhode Island business legally compliant

There will be occasions where you need to change something about your business. It might be your address, your name, or your management structure. Whatever the case might be, you’ll likely need to file amendments to your formation documents when you make those changes. 

Filing amendments requires filing more paperwork with the state and paying additional fees. You have to do this to remain compliant with state law. Falling out of compliance could lead to serious consequences for you and your business. Don’t let it happen. Instead, let us help you. We offer an Amendment Service that assists you with filing the necessary documents you need when you change information contained in your formation documents. However, we offer our Worry-Free Compliance Service that comes with two amendments annually.  We aim to help keep your business covered and running smoothly.

We are here to help you with your Rhode Island business’s needs

We are ready to assist you with all of your compliance needs. From formation, licensing, operating documents, amendments, EIN requirements, and expanding to new territories, we offer tools that can help you stay compliant with Rhode Island law. Contact us today to learn more about our Rhode Island Business Formation Services, EIN Services, Name Reservation Services, Operating Agreement template, Licensing Reports Service, annual reporting requirements, Amendment Service, and our comprehensive Worry-Free Compliance Service. We’re here to help you.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Rhode Island?

    There is a penalty for filing your annual report late. The Rhode Island Department of State Business Services Division won’t accept your filing if you don’t pay the required Rhode Island filing fee at the time you file your documents.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Rhode Island government?

    The Department of State could involuntarily dissolve your business for failure to comply with state law. You can contact the Department of State Business Services Division for further assistance.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Rhode Island business?

    The Rhode Island Department of State Business Services Division receives the Rhode Island business filing fees.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Rhode Island business?

    The largest fee is typically the fee you pay when you file your formation documents.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Rhode Island government?

    You can pay in cash, check, money order, or credit card in person. You must use a credit card or debit card when paying online.

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