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Rhode Island DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Rhode Island DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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Rhode Island DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Rhode Island under a name other than your own, you will need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Rhode Island DBA, “Doing Business As,” or Assumed Name, but is officially called a Trade Name (for a sole proprietor or general partnership) or Fictitious Business Name (for a corporation, LLC, or LP). To see if you need to register for a Rhode Island Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Rhode Island 

Who Needs to Register for a Rhode Island Trade Name?

The requirements and need to register an Assumed Business Name vary depending on the type of business structure.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common business structures to register for a Rhode Island DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Trade Name registration. 

For example, if John Smith starts a Rhode Island business repairing clocks operating under John Smith, he doesn’t need to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Clock Repair, then he will need to register.

Related: How to start a sole proprietorship in Rhode Island

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a Rhode Island DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Rhode Island corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity. 

What Are the Steps to Register a Trade Name in Rhode Island?

Sole Proprietorship & Partnerships

Step 1: Obtain the Trade Name Certificate

Per state statute, a Trade Name Certificate will need to be obtained from the City or Town Clerk in each town or city where business activities will be conducted1. Most Clerks have this form on their website, and all have forms available to pick up at their office.

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Information typically requested on the form includes:

  • Name(s) of the business owners
  • Trade Name being requested
  • Principal business address

Step 3: Notarize the Form

Before filing the Trade Name Certificate, be sure to have it notarized.  Most Clerks’ offices have notary services available at no cost.

Step 4: Submit the Form

Submit the filing fee and form to each Town or City Clerk where the business will operate.  A physical certificate will be provided upon filing.

Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

A corporation, LLC, or LP will register with the Rhode Island Department of State.  A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in Rhode Island. To find out if the name you want is available, you can do a Rhode Island business name search on the Rhode Island Department of State’s name database. 

Step 2: Fill out the Fictitious Business Name Statement Form

The Fictitious Business Name Statement (Form 624) can be found on the Rhode Island Department of State’s website.

Information requested on the form includes:

  • ID number of the business entity as assigned by the Secretary of State
  • The current legal name of the business
  • The fictitious name being requested
  • State of formation
  • Date of incorporation/organization
  • Principal business address

Step 3: Submit the Form

The Fictitious Business Name Statement form can be filed online or sent by mail to the Rhode Island Department of State, Business Services Division. If sending by mail, send to:

Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615

Rhode Island DBA FAQs

How much does a Rhode Island Trade Name cost?

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships: $10 for each town or city where the business is operating

Corporations, LLCs and Limited Partnerships: $50

Are there any words you can’t use in a RI DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banks or trusts. Additionally, names may not be deceptive or represent fraudulent activities.

After registering the Trade Name, can someone use my business name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in the state of Rhode Island, it does very little to stop someone else from operating that business name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Related: How to trademark a business name

What is the difference between a Rhode Island Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Rhode Island Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Rhode Island?

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Rhode Island

Sources

  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-1-1 ↩︎

Rhode Island DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Rhode Island DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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