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First Stop
148 West River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615
Phone: (401) 222-2185
Fax: (401) 222-1309
TTY: 711

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Open to the public
Monday-Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

In order to start a business in Rhode Island, you must determine which licenses are needed in order to conduct your business. Some businesses are required to obtain a license from the State of Rhode Island prior to opening. The Rhode Island Licensed Occupations identifies those professions which require a state license issued by various state agencies.

What about taxes?

If you plan on selling anything as part of your new business, you will need to obtain a Permit to Make Sales at Retail to charge sales tax. The state tax rate is a set rate of 7% for the whole state regardless of where you are located in Rhode Island. You will also need to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number from the Federal Internal Revenue Service. In fact, this is one of the first things you will need to do when you are setting up your new business, as most of the paperwork you fill out will ask for this number. You may also need to check with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation in regards to additional taxes.

Who can answer my questions concerning labor laws in Rhode Island?

Contact the State Department of Labor & Training with questions about Rhode Island's labor laws. They can provide you with important information useful in the formation and operation of your business enterprise in Rhode Island.

How do I become a non-profit organization?

Non-profit organizations have many legal and tax concerns. You may need to contact an attorney and/or certified public accountant to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a non-profit organization. If you choose to form a non-profit corporation, contact the Business Section for the proper forms. In addition, if you plan to solicit funds as a non-profit, contact the State Department of Business Regulation-Securities Division. You will need to file papers with both divisions in order to be registered with the state. If you are seeking federal tax-exempt status you must apply through the Internal Revenue Service.

Do I have to report who works for my business?

Employers or labor organizations doing business in the State of Rhode Island must report the hiring of any person who resides or works in Rhode Island to whom the employer anticipates paying earnings. Employers must also report rehires or the return to work of an employee who has been laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment. The Rhode Island Directory of New Hires must be completed.

Do I need to obtain a Workers' Compensation Policy for my employees?

Every business, with a few exceptions, that has ONE or more employees must have workers' compensation insurance coverage. Individual owners and partners are exempt. The State requires employers to display a poster naming their insurance carrier or adjusting company. Please contact the State Department of Labor & Training for more information.

What postings do I need to display in my place of business?

Contact the State Department of Labor & Training for information about the required employer postings.

Where can I find more information about the businesses in my area?

Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great source of information for inquiries about businesses that are operating in your local area.