What should I know about business licenses in Rhode Island?
The largest and most profitable industry in Rhode Island is the health care industry. Tourism, with over 40,000 jobs and sales exceeding $4.5 billion, comes in second. If a Rhode Islander is not working in health services or tourism, they are likely employed by a manufacturing business that makes metal products, ships/boats, electrical equipment, and various types of machinery.
When you apply for a business license in Rhode Island, you may also have to obtain one or more of the following permits, depending on the type of business you want to own: building, health, signage, occupational, liquor/tobacco, zoning, and alarm.
You should also be aware that Rhode Island does not have state-level, general business licenses. Instead, a business license is given at local levels. This means prospective business owners must contact the Rhode Island county where they plan to open a business.
Common Rhode Island business license questions
The Ocean State, known for its waterways and bays, might be the smallest state in the U.S. but it is a great opportunity to become a business owner. If you’re setting up a business in Rhode Island you may be curious to know how business licenses work. These Rhode Island business license questions can get you on your way.
This is tricky—some do, some don’t. Prior to opening, the Rhode Island Licensed Occupations will identify if your profession requires a state license. For example, many retail businesses in Rhode Island only require a sales tax permit and do not need a business license. However, businesses like restaurants and other industries regulated by Rhode Island licensing boards will need some kind of license and/or permit to conduct business.
In Rhode Island, there are three main branches that you pay fees into for owning a legal business entity—corporations, LLC, workers’ cooperative, partnership, sole proprietorship. The Department of State Filing fee ranges from $150-230, the Department of State Annual Report has a flat fee of $50, and finally, all legal businesses must pay a minimum of $400 to the Division of Taxation Minimum Corporate Tax. Be sure to check the Rhode Island state pages for any additional filing fees.
Rhode Island’s Department of Business Regulation License Types allows you to register via elicensing. Here is where you can submit online if you know your business type; however, there is a very long list of business categories.
The government site is set up well for renewing your license, but for initial licensing, in certain professions, there’s a bit more digging into which businesses require a state license issued by various state agencies. These steps tend to get complex. If you’re not interested in navigating these waters alone, Avalara would love to help supply your business license needs.