Step #5 Final Preparation
(Inspections and Approvals)
A. Hire Employees
By this time you should have accounts with the RI Division of Taxation, the RI Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT), and unless you are a sole proprietor or general partnership, the Office of the Secretary of State. These accounts will allow you to complete federal and state employment applications and report wages and taxes.
- Employment Verification Eligibility Verification – Form 1-9
As an employer, you are required to verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – requires Form I-9, which must be completed upon hiring.
Have the employees you hire fill out Form I-9.
The purpose of this form is for employers to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each new employee (both citizen and noncitizen) hired after November 6, 1986, to work in the United States.
Employers do not need to file Form I-9 with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Instead, employers must have a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form. Form I-9 must be retained and stored by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice. For more information and a fillable form click here.
- Employee's Social Security Number (SSN)
You are required to get each employee's name and Social Security Number (SSN) and to enter them on IRS Form W-2. (This requirement also applies to resident and nonresident alien employees.) You should ask your employee to show you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. You may, but are not required to, photocopy the social security card if the employee provides it. Record each new employee's name and social security number from his or her social security card. Any employee without a social security card should apply for one using Form SS-5, Application for Social Security Card (PDF). The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers social security number (SSN) verification and quick access to relevant forms and publications.
- Employee's Withholding
To know how much income tax to withhold from employees' wages, you should have a Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, on file for each employee. Ask all new employees to give you a signed Form W-4 when they start work. Make the form effective with the first wage payment.
Employers are required to report newly hired and re-hired employees in Rhode Island to the Rhode Island New Hire Reporting Center. Employers are also required to follow state workplace wage and hour requirements and submit Quarterly Tax and Wage Reports to State of Rhode Island Division of Taxation – Employer Tax Section.
B. Final Inspections & Approvals
Here are some final inspections you may need to schedule:
- RIDOH Pre-Operational/Opening Inspection
After your application has been reviewed by the RIDOH, Center of Food Protection, construction is complete, and all equipment is operational, call the Center for Food Protection to schedule a pre-operational inspection. If the inspection is satisfactory, your license will be approved and mailed to you.
Anticipate scheduling a pre-operational inspection at least 2 weeks prior to opening with the RIDOH, Center of Food Protection at (401) 222-2750.
To prepare for your pre-operational inspection, review this operational inspection handout for a checklist of the items the Health inspector will be inspecting – click here.
Please Note: You MUST have or employ an active Certified in Food Safety Manager registered with the RIDOH, Center of Food Protection (where potentially hazardous food and temperature controls are required for food safety) prior to the inspection.
- Fire Inspection
Normally this would be scheduled with the Local Fire Marshal in the city or town the business is located. In some participating municipalities, this can be scheduled online via the E-permitting portal.
- Building Certificate of Occupancy (CO)
If you applied for any building, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permits from the local municipal Building Official, then schedule these inspections through the Local Building Official’s office in the city or town the business is located. In some participating municipalities these inspections can be requested online via the E-permitting Portal.
Did you know you can use online E-Permitting to apply for building and fire permits? Visit the E-Permitting Portal Tutorials at http://permits.ri.gov/tutorial/
- Final Building Inspection
Before having your final inspection and getting a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), you must meet the following requirements:
- All land use conditions must be completed, if applicable.
- All fire alarms, pressurization, sprinkler systems, and any other safety systems must be approved by the Local Fire Marshal's office. The Local Fire Department must approve a final inspection prior to the building inspector's final inspection.
- All required signage must be installed (exit, maximum occupancy, address, etc.).
- All work authorized by trade permits - such as electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and street use - must be inspected and finalized at the local municipal level, prior to the building inspector's final inspection.
- Pass a pre-operational/opening inspection conducted by the RIDOH, Center for Food Protection and obtain a RIDOH Food Service Business license.
- After all final building, trade, fire, health, and any other necessary permit approvals are complete and in hand contact the municipality for a final inspection by the building inspector. If everything is in order and in compliance with approved plans, you'll receive your Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the building official’s office to open.
C. Establish a Banking Relationship with a Financial Institution
Open a business bank account
Before you start accepting or spending money as your business, you should open a business bank account. A business bank account helps you stay legally compliant and protected. It also provides benefits to your customers and employees.
A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax, and day-to-day issues. The good news is it’s easy to set one up if you have the right registrations and paperwork ready.
Common business accounts include a checking account, savings account, credit card account, and a merchant services account. Merchant services accounts allow you to accept credit and debit card transactions from your customers.
Opening a business bank account is easy once you've picked your bank. Simply go online or to a local branch to begin the process. Here are some of the most common documents banks ask for when you open a business bank account. Some banks may ask for more.
- Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) (or a Social Security number, if you're a sole proprietorship)
- Your business's formation documents
- Ownership agreements
- Business license
D. Set Reminders for Taxes, Inspections, License/Permit Renewals
Your business will need to meet its federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. Your business structure and location will influence which taxes your business has to pay.
Your business is legally required to pay taxes and keep accounting records on a consistent yearly schedule called a tax year.
Tax laws vary by location and business structure, so you’ll need to check with state and local governments to know your business’ tax obligations. The two most common types of state and local tax requirements for small business are income taxes and employment taxes.
Your state income tax obligations are determined by your business structure. For example, corporations are taxed separately from the owners, while sole proprietors report their personal and business income taxes using the same form.
Local tangible taxes must also be in good standing for any municipal license. Annually you must file an annual tangible return to your municipality listing all your tangible assets.
IMPORTANT: Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law § 3-7-24, if you have a liquor license, the municipality will require you to obtain a Letter of Good Standing from the RI Division of Taxation every year in order to renew your license at the municipal level. This process starts in the late summer so that it may be completed by the fall. If the municipality does not receive your Letter of Good Standing by December 1st it may result in your business being closed until it is obtained.
That's why it's important to keep track of when you need to renew various business licenses or permits such as the RI Health Department Food Service Business License, Certified Manager in Food Safety, and the RI Division of Taxation Retail Sales Permit to name a few.