Rhode Island Business License

You can obtain a Rhode Island business license online or by mail.

We provide the information and resources you'll need to get federal, state, and local licenses and permits for your small business, including the seller’s permit.

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How to Get a Business License in RI

You can get a business license online or by mail by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.

Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).

There are three main licensing jurisdictions:

  • State
  • Local
  • Federal

State of Rhode Island Business Licensing

The main state-level permit or license in Rhode Island is the sales tax permit, also known as a seller’s permit.

You must obtain a sales tax permit if you:

  • Are engaged in business in Rhode Island
  • Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property, certain services, that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail. This includes eating and drinking establishments.

Visit the Division of Taxation to obtain a sales tax permit.

Additionally, businesses in certain professions need specific licenses as well. The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation provides a list of these professions as well as a portal to register for the various licenses and permits.

Local Rhode Island Business Licensing

In Rhode Island, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.

For example, the City of Providence requires licenses for several different types of businesses, which you can apply for online.

Check with your local Rhode Island town or city government office for more information.

Steps for Obtaining a Business License in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Sales Tax License

You can register for a Rhode Island sales tax license online or by mail. To register online, you will need to create an account to log in.

Apply for a Rhode Island Sales Tax License

OPTION 1: Apply Online With the Rhode Island Division of Taxation

Apply Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: Apply by Mail

Download Form


Fee: $10

Mailing Address:
State of Rhode Island
Division of Taxation
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

Other Rhode Island Business Licenses

The processes for obtaining other licenses and permits vary. Many statewide licenses can be obtained through the Department of Business Regulation website. Check with the relevant state or local government office for more information.

Renewal

The Rhode Island sales tax license, or seller’s permit, must be renewed annually. This can be done online. There is a $10 renewal fee.

Many professional licenses can be renewed through the Department of Business Regulation website. Check with the relevant state or local government office for renewal requirements for any other license your business might have.

Federal Business Licenses and Permits

You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).

If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.

Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:

Agriculture
Alcoholic beverages
Aviation
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Commercial fisheries
Maritime transportation
Mining and drilling
Nuclear energy
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics

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RI Business License FAQ

What is a business license?

A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.

What are the types of business licenses?

There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.

Is there a national business license?

Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.

Is an EIN the same as a business license?

No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.

Is an LLC considered a business license?

No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.

Who needs a Rhode Island business license?

Any business that sells goods or services that are subject to the state’s sales tax needs a Rhode Island sales tax license. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses or permits.

What licenses do I need to open a business in Rhode Island?

Many businesses will at least need a sales tax license. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses or permits.

What is a seller’s permit?

A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In Rhode Island, this is called a sales tax license.

How much does a Rhode Island business license cost?

A Rhode Island sales tax license costs $10 per year. The cost of other licenses varies.

How do I get a Rhode Island business license?

You can register for a Rhode Island sales tax license online through the Rhode Island Division of Taxation website or by mail. Many statewide professional licenses can be obtained through the Department of Business Regulation website. Check with your local government office for information about local licenses.

Do I have to renew my Rhode Island business license?

The Rhode Island sales tax license must be renewed annually. Additionally, many professional licenses can be renewed through the Department of Business Regulation website. Check with the relevant state or local government office for renewal requirements for any license your business might have.

Rhode Island Business Resources

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