Forming your own LLC can be overwhelming and costly. Instead of spending potentially thousands on an attorney, you may want to do it yourself at a fraction of the cost using our free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit. This kit includes a discussion on the pros and cons of operating as a limited liability company, sample documents, operating agreement templates, and more. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
If you just need a guide for getting some of those tricky forms filed with the state, read these instructions below so you can start your own LLC: (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020.)
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you may want to check if the LLC name you want to use is even available. Here’s an easy and free way to do this: You can search for a similarly named LLC using the Rhode Island Department of State’s online database at:
You may reach the Corporations Division by telephone by calling (401) 222-3040. The telephone lines are available from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
2. Download the Articles of Organization form from the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s web site, then print this form
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
or you can file online at:
The online and the printed versions ask basically the same questions. To get started with the online version you’ll need to click at the top right corner of the box, where it asks “If you are forming a new entity or registering a non-resident landlord click here.”
This will bring you to a page where you scroll down until you come to “Domestic Limited Liability Company – Articles of Organization”, click here.
3. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the lines provided. (I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.”) The name shall contain the word “limited liability company” or the upper or lower case letters “l.l.c.” with or without punctuation. For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives LLC
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
- Acme Explosives llc
- Acme Explosives l.l.c.
4. Provide the resident agent’s name and address to the Secretary of State’s office
Rhode Island wants to know the name and contact information of the resident agent. The agent may be either an individual resident in this state, or a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company, in each case either domestic or one authorized to transact business in this state. The address of the resident agent must be a street address, not a post office box. Accordingly, enter your name and address information onto the lines that ask for this information. If you live in Rhode Island, it is easiest to be your own resident agent.
5. Indicate how the LLC is to be treated for federal income tax purposes
Check the box for corporation since this is how you will want the federal government to treat your LLC with respect to taxes.
6. Identify the address of the LLC
Where the Certificate of Organization provides a space for it, specify the address in which the LLC offices are located.
7. Leave numbers 5 and 6 blank
8. Indicate the type of management this LLC will have
If your LLC is going to be managed by its members (i.e. you), then check the first box. If the LLC is going to be managed by a non-owner(s), state his/her/their name(s) and address(s) after checking the second box.
9. List the effective date
List the specified effective date, if it is later than the filing date. This date cannot be prior to, or later than 30 days after, the filing date.
10. Provide an authorized person’s name, address and signature
The form must be signed and dated by an authorized person.
11. Submit the application
After you complete the Articles of Organization document, mail the document, a copy of the document, and a check for $150 to:
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.