Our work is reader-supported, meaning that we may earn a commission from the products and services mentioned.

How to File a DBA in Rhode Island [2022]

How to File a DBA in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a DBA.  Learn more about what a DBA is, who needs one and how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Rhode Island 

What is a DBA?

A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Name, is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name of the business.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Rhode Island, like most states, requires the business to register its business name.  The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.

What is a DBA good for?

A Rhode Island DBA name is required for a business that is operating under a name that is different from its legal name. The DBA provides information on the people operating a business, so if there is an issue, the owners of a business can be tracked down.  In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for a Rhode Island DBA?

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 entities to register for a DBA.

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering.  For example, if John Smith starts a Rhode Island business repairing computers operating under John Smith, he doesn’t need to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, then he will need to register.

Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Limited Liability Partnerships won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another business entity.

How much does a DBA cost in Rhode Island?

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

Corporations, LLCs and Limited Partnerships – $50

What are the steps to file a DBA in Rhode Island?

Sole Proprietorship & Partnerships

Step 1: Obtain the Trade Name Certificate
A Trade Name Certificate will need to be obtained from the City or Town Clerk’s office. 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.

H3 b, strong{ color: #FFA412;

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.

Names can be searched on the Rhode Island Department of State’s name database.  Learn how to do a business name search in Rhode Island.

Step 2: Fill out the Fictitious Business Name Statement

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 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

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.

Can someone steal my business name after registering a DBA?

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

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

Does Rhode Island require a business license?

In addition to registering a DBA, most businesses operating in Rhode Island will need to also get registered.

Requirements for business licensing vary depending on the location of the business and what the business does.

Learn what business licenses and permits 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