How to Incorporate in Rhode Island (February 2024 Update)

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Meow Technologies, Inc.

If you're looking to legally establish your Rhode Island business to limit personal liability and position yourself for growth opportunities, incorporating is the way to go. The incorporation process may seem complicated, but breaking it down into clear steps makes starting your Rhode Island corporation much more manageable. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to incorporate in Rhode Island.

Naming and Registering Your Rhode Island Business

The first step to incorporating in Rhode Island is making sure your business name checks out. You’ll also need to designate a registered agent to accept legal service on behalf of your company.

Check Business Name Availability

Your corporation will need a unique name that complies with Rhode Island law. The name must include a business identifier like "Corporation," "Company," or "Incorporated." You also can't use words that could confuse people about what type of entity you are.

It's crucial to check if the desired name is available by searching the Rhode Island Secretary of State business database. If your name exists, you'll have to pick a new one. However, you can reserve an available name for up to 120 days while finalizing your corporation by filing a Name Reservation form.

Appoint a Registered Agent

Rhode Island requires all corporations to designate a registered agent, which is an individual or business that agrees to receive essential legal documents on the company's behalf. The registered agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located in Rhode Island at a physical street address (no PO boxes).
  • Have regular business hours to accept legal papers in person.

You can serve as your corporation's registered agent, but your contact information then becomes public record. Most corporations hire third-party registered agent services to preserve privacy. When you incorporate, you'll list the registered agent's name and address.

Filing Rhode Island Incorporation Paperwork

To legally form your corporation, you must file what's known as Articles of Incorporation with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. This step establishes your business.

Prepare Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is a form that names your corporation, outlines your management structure and shares, and more. You'll need to provide:

  • The corporation name
  • Whether it's a regular or close corporation
  • Number and type of stock shares
  • Registered agent's name and address
  • Purpose of the business
  • Effective date

When ready, you can submit your articles by mail, in-person, or electronically along with the $230 filing fee. The state will review your filing and, if approved, officially create your corporation.

Additional Requirements for Foreign Businesses

If incorporating an existing out-of-state business in Rhode Island, you have a couple additional steps. Along with your formation documents, foreign corporations need:

  • Certificate of Good Standing - This validates you're authorized to do business in your home state. It must be dated within the last 60 days.
  • Board of Registration Approval - If your corporation provides engineering services, the RI Board of Registration for Professional Engineers must approve you beforehand.

Both of these can be uploaded digitally when you submit your online application for registration.

Post-Formation Requirements for Your Rhode Island Corporation

You still have a few more boxes to check before opening for business as a new Rhode Island corporation.

Create an Operating Agreement

While not legally required, an operating agreement is highly recommended to outline finances, voting rights, manager roles, and other operating procedures. This will protect your limited liability as shareholders.

Obtain an Employer ID Number (EIN)

You'll need an Employer Identification Number from the IRS for tax and employment purposes. An EIN also makes it possible to open business bank accounts and apply for permits and licenses.

File an Annual Report

Every year between February and May, corporations must submit a report to provide current information like your business address, names of directors and officers, number of authorized shares, and more. This allows Rhode Island to verify your corporation is still accurately represented and active.

Pay Taxes

You’ll need to pay both state and federal corporate income taxes. All Rhode Island corporations must pay at least $400 each year as a minimum corporate tax. You may also need sales tax permits and unemployment insurance depending on your operations.

Maintaining Your Rhode Island Corporation

Don't let all that effort incorporating go to waste. You must actively maintain your corporation to retain limited liability protections and keep your business authorized.

Keep Records

Maintain comprehensive corporate records covering finances, shareholder meetings, company ownership information, and more. Keep these documents at your principal business address.

File the Annual Report

Mark your calendar to ensure completing your annual report with the Rhode Island Division of Business Services before the May 1st deadline each year. Pay attention to email reminders from the Secretary of State as well.

Pay Taxes and Applicable Fees

Stay current on both federal and Rhode Island state taxes for your corporation. You'll need to pay the $400 annual corporate tax minimum to maintain your incorporation.

By following these steps, you can feel confident about starting your Rhode Island corporation on the right foot. Just remember incorporation is only the beginning – you’ll need to actively preserve your corporate status by adhering to state requirements.

With the proper foundation, your Rhode Island corporation will be set up for success! Best of luck with your new business!


Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-depository insured institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

Get started with Meow in under 10 minutes

*Disclaimer: Meow Advisory LLC is a registered investment adviser. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training.
For accounts opened through Atomic Brokerage LLC: Meow Advisory LLC has an engagement with Atomic Brokerage LLC (“Atomic Brokerage”), a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC , to bring you the opportunity to open a brokerage account. Brokerage services for customers of Meow Advisory LLC are provided by Atomic Brokerage. For more details about Atomic Brokerage, please see the Form CRS, General Disclosures, and the Privacy Policy. Check the background of Atomic Brokerage on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
For subadvisory services for accounts opened through Atomic Invest LLC: Meow Advisory LLC has an engagement with Atomic Invest, LLC (“Atomic Invest”), an SEC-registered investment adviser, to bring you the opportunity to open an investment advisory account. Investment advisory services are provided by Atomic Invest. Companies which are engaged by Atomic Invest receive compensation of 0% to 0.85% annualized, payable monthly, based upon assets under management for each referred client who establishes an account with Atomic Invest (i.e., exact payment will differ). Atomic Invest also shares a percentage of compensation received from margin interest and free cash interest earned by customers with Meow Advisory LLC. Meow Advisory LLC is not a client of Atomic Invest, but our engagement with Atomic invest gives us an incentive to refer you to Atomic Invest instead of another investment adviser. This conflict of interest affects our ability to provide you with unbiased, objective information about the services of Atomic Invest. This could mean that the services of another investment adviser with whom we are not engaged could be more appropriate for you than Atomic invest. Advisory services through Atomic Invest are designed to assist clients in achieving a favorable outcome in their investment portfolio. They are not intended to provide tax advice or financial planning with respect to every aspect of a client’s financial situation and do not include investments that clients may hold outside of Atomic Invest. For more details about Atomic Invest, please see the Form CRS, Form ADV Part 2A, the Privacy Policy, and other disclosures. Brokerage services for Atomic Invest are provided by Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC (“PAS”), a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC.
Neither Atomic Invest nor Atomic Brokerage, nor any of their affiliates, is a bank. Investments in securities are Not FDIC insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and the fees and expenses charged by Atomic Brokerage and/or Atomic Invest.
See the Legal Section within the Meow website for additional agreements.

U.K. Gilt pricing quoted net of fees. ~5% U.K. Gilt yield is sourced from Investing.com December 2023 6-month United Kingdom 6-Month Bond Yield. ~5% Treasury Bill yield is sourced from treasurydirect.gov December 2023 12-week U.S. Treasury Bill auction.

**Disclaimer: Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a depository, bank or credit union, and your account at Meow is not, itself, an FDIC-insured product.

Meow currently partners with three banking providers. Banking services are provided by Third Coast Bank SSB; Member FDIC, Grasshopper Bank, N.A; Member FDIC, and FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation; Member FDIC.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Grasshopper Bank, N.A, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Grasshopper Bank, N.A. which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”)-insured banks, for up to the current standard maximum deposit insurance amount (“SMDIA”) of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including Grasshopper's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. Grasshopper Bank, N.A. uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit https://www.intrafi.com/network-banks/ for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Grasshopper, N.A. have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Grasshopper, N.A. or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Grasshopper Bank, N.A, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheets for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Third Coast Bank SSB, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Third Coast Bank SSB. If you also hold funds in a sweep program with Third Coast Bank SSB, Third Coast Bank SSB sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per receiving bank, for each ownership capacity or category, including any other balances you may hold at that receiving bank directly or indirectly through other intermediaries, including broker-dealers. Third Coast Bank SSB uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit Third Coast Bank SSB for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Third Coast Bank SSB have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at receiving banks, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Third Coast Bank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $50 Million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Third Coast Bank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and conditions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at FirstBank, which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including FirstBank's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. FirstBank uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit IntraFi for a list of the banks and savings associations with which FirstBank has a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by FirstBank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of FirstBank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

***FDIC insurance coverage is only available to protect you against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank that holds your deposits (and does not protect you against the failure of Meow or other third party). Your account with Meow and all services provided to you are subject to the Meow Terms of Service (“Account Agreements”) and other applicable terms and no other representations or warranties, express or implied, are provided to you except as expressly set forth in those written Account Agreements. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact team@meow.com.

FirstBank Funds Availability Notice

FirstBanks general policy is to allow you to withdraw funds deposited in your account on the first business day after the day we receive your deposit. Funds from electronic deposits will be available on the day we receive the deposit. In some cases, we may delay your ability to withdraw funds beyond the first business day. Then, the funds will generally be available by the SECOND business day after the day of deposit.