You did it. Your Rhode Island LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In Rhode Island, an LLC’s annual report consists of two parts: a Franchise Tax and a Public Information Report. Each LLC must submit these filings to the Rhode Island Comptroller every year to keep their information current. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
For brevity’s sake, we’ll refer to these two combined filings as the “Annual Report” in this guide.
What is the Rhode Island Annual Report? Why is it Important?
Consider an Annual Report the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each Rhode Island business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, resident agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an Annual Report.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your resident agent, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Rhode Island might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. If the Secretary of State has the most updated data on record, anyone – including future clients and partners – can find your business by performing a name search.
How Much Does the Rhode Island LLC Annual Report Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. Rhode Island’s fee isn’t too hefty, just $50. But since you’ll be making this payment every year, make sure you write it into your budget.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in Rhode Island
Once per year, your LLC will need to file an Annual Report by November 1st. If you’re an early bird that wants to file ASAP, you can submit your report as early as September 1st.
Your first report is due during the calendar year after you file your Articles of Organization. Let’s say you form your LLC on August 15, 2021, your first Annual Report will be due between September 1 and November 1, 2022.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your Annual Report can yield some serious consequences.
Forgot about the November 1st deadline? Don’t worry. You have a 30 day grace period before the state imposes any penalties. But on December 2nd, your Annual Report will incur a $25 late fee. This might not seem like much, but keep in mind that the Secretary of State also has the power to administratively dissolve any business that fails to file an Annual Report.
We’ve laid the groundwork, and now it’s time to build on it. When September 1st rolls around each year, here’s the information that you’ll need to provide on your Annual Report:
- Entity ID number (if you don’t have this number, you can find it by searching the Business Entity Database)
- LLC name
- NAICS Code (you can find a description and complete list here)
- The character of your LLC’s business activities
- State of formation
- Principal office address
- LLC mailing address
- Name and address of each manager (not members)
Once you have all of this information ready to go, the form – whether you’re submitting it online or on paper – shouldn’t take you too long.
When you’re ready to file your Annual Report, you have three filing options: online, by mail, or in person.
Online Filing: The Secretary of State’s Annual Reports webpage is the hub for these recurring filings. Under “Limited Liability Company,” click “File Online” and you’ll be directed to the Business Services Online Filing System. Enter your Customer Identification Number (CID) and PIN and on the next page, choose “Annual Report.” The Secretary of State will mail your CID and PIN to your resident agent before your report filing period. After you enter all the required information, provide your credit or debit card info and submit your report. The Secretary of State’s office will review it on the same day.
Filing by Mail: Download and Annual Report form. When you’ve finished filling it out, include a $50 check made out to “R.I. Department of State” and mail it to:
Division of Business Services
148 W. River St.
Providence, Rhode Island, 02904-2615
Filing In Person: If you live in (or near) Providence, you can also hand-deliver your form to the same address. When filing in person, you can pay via cash, check, or credit card.
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
To help you stay on top of your Annual Report filing, the Department of State will send your LLC’s resident agent courtesy reminder on September 1st when the filing period opens. It’s also a good idea to set up your own system of reminders closer to November 1st. This will help ensure that you don’t incur any late penalties.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle it?
You probably have a full plate as it is, and the thought of adding one more responsibility to your to-do list might make you shudder. You’re not alone.
Plenty of other LLC owners have outsourced their reporting duties to LLC services. These companies will take the entire process off your hands, handling your Annual Report each year. If that piques your interest, we recommend ZenBusiness, which is an experienced and trustworthy LLC company.
But their services aren’t restricted to forming an LLC or managing Annual Reports. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle resident agent responsibilities, and much more, all for a reasonably low price.
If thinking about your LLC responsibilities ties your stomach in knots, let ZenBusiness take some of those worries off your plate.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Rhode Island’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.