STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in Rhode Island, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your name must contain words like “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited”. Abbreviations like “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a Reservation of Entity Name form with the Sec. of State Corporations Divisions that’s good for 120.

Filing Fee: $50

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

Your Rhode Island registered agent is an individual or recognized business entity in the state with a street address (typically non-P.O. Box) responsible for receiving and helping to handle/process all official documents like state filings, legal notices, important tax forms, etc. One is required to legally conduct business.

That said, you can hire a third party service and pay up to $160 a year or get a qualified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLC

Once you have a registered agent and the company is ready to become an official business entity, file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. It declares the basics of your brand for the public record including:

  • Corporate name and address;
  • Registered Agent name and address;
  • The number of stock shares authorized issuance;
  • Each of the incorporator’s names and addresses, etc.

Filing Fee: $230 for below 75,000,000 shares of stocks authorized for issuance.

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) ELECT DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 Director who among other things will oversee the Rhode Island corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Best Business Bank Account

Now it’s time to get your corporate financial house in order. Set up a checking account under your company with a good bank. Don’t be hasty though, there’s a large assortment of local, state, and national banks along with credit unions to choose from. And make absolutely sure that your business accounts are separate from any/all other accounts.

If needed, familiarize yourself with the perks involved and what they mean year-over-year. Check out this great breakdown article on the basics of Business Checking Accounts to get a jump on things.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

As a legally operating Rhode Island corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or be working with a filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Providence Small Business Admin office and the Rhode Island SBDC.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional business license research services that handle the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Honestly, how do you intend to get the most out of your business ideas and expand this corporation into the most it can be without a formal plan? And, what kind of plan do you want, a mediocre slider presentation, or a gorgeous document/PDF you can show to potential partners, lending institutions, and investors?

Help yourself and your brand identify unforeseen issues and address impending problems effectively. From marketing and financials to your executive summary and pitch, leverage the power of a great game plan. See what we mean in the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Discover the best Planning Software on the market; user-friendly, inexpensive, intuitive, and effective! (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteWhen it comes to getting your brand’s website up and running, or maintaining and updating it over time, no one’s saying it should be easy. Where do modern corporations begin and their digital brands end? For consumers of all kinds your company website is as much a part of your brand as your product or service.

If you’ve got it taken care of, great, if not and you have no idea where to begin, now you can just use a customizable and affordable tool like Wix or SquareSpace and be walked through the process. Regardless of which business website builder you choose, you’re in good hands!

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form a Rhode Island Corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a Rhode Island Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.