Apply For A Business License Rhode Island - RI
Is there a state business license that I need to have?
There is no universal license that all businesses in Rhode Island must have but many businesses will need to be licensed by the state based on their occupational and business activities. In Rhode Island, this is primarily done by the Department of Business Regulation but your business may need approvals from other state agencies as well. For example, if your business will conduct any retail sales, then you must obtain a Retail Sales Permit from the Department of Revenue. Rhode Island has a First Stop Business Information Center online that can help you figure out what licenses and permits your business may need.
Do I need to register my business?
If your business is a corporation, professional service corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, non-profit organization, producers' cooperative, or consumers' cooperative, then you must register your business with the Business Section of the Rhode Island Secretary of State. If your business hires employees, then you will also need to register with the Department of Revenue for tax withholding purposes.
Are there any other licensing requirements that my business must meet?
Many municipalities have their own licensing requirements for local businesses. These requirements can vary widely throughout the state. Providence, for example, with a few exceptions requires all local businesses to obtain a license from the city. They also require that all local corporations register with the city. On the other hand, Cranston only requires certain types of businesses to be licensed based on the nature of their business activities. Because local licensing is determined by city ordinance, it is best to always check with your local city government to find out what licenses or permits your business may need.
What type of information will I need to provide on my license application?
The information needed will depend on the license you are applying for, but generally you will need to at least provide:
- Full business name
- Business address and contact information
- Owner's name and contact information, or in the case of corporations and partnerships, the names of the officer or partners
- Type of business
- Nature of business
- Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), available from the IRS or the owner's social security number
- Sales tax number, if applicable
You will usually need to also provide documentation showing that you have already met all federal and state licensing and registration requirements, if applicable.
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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.