Colorado Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Colorado, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State. You can file the document online. The Articles of Incorporation cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Colorado corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Colorado Corporation Guide:
Colorado Corporation Filing Options
Free PDF Download
Colorado corporation documents free download. This is a sample PDF; all Colorado corporations must be formed online.
Do It Yourself Online
Our free account and tools will walk you through starting and maintaining a Colorado corporation. All for free.
1 Day Colorado Corporation
Includes registered agent service, bylaws & more.$275 Total
Colorado Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Colorado corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation for one of these words like “Inc.”
This street address will become part of the permanent public record of your Colorado corporation. Hire Northwest as your registered agent and you can use our Colorado address as your principal address.
You can list an individual Colorado resident (such as yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service (such as Northwest). We recommend Northwest.
This is the physical Colorado address where your registered agent will be available to accept legal notifications. When you hire Northwest, our address will go here.
Your registered agent has to agree to be your registered agent (no listing your brother and surprising him with his brand new job later on). Tick the box to confirm consent.
This is a long-winded way to ask for who is actually filling out the form. This person doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in the corporation. Hire Northwest to form your corporation and our information will go here.
List the number of shares you’re creating—you must create at least one. If you have more than one class of shares, you’ll have to upload an attachment stating how many shares of each class there are.
If you want your business to start right away, leave the “yes” selected. If you prefer to push out your start date (maybe the next tax period is right around the corner), you can enter an effective date up to 90 days in the future.
If you opt to enter an email address, you can receive due dates and business notifications from the state. Don’t want all the spam? When you hire Northwest, we’ll send you due date reminders and help you stay on top of things—without requiring you to publicly list your email.
Colorado sure has a way with words. Your “individual causing delivery” is the person clicking “submit” on the form. This is almost certainly going to be the same person that is forming the corporation (it’s an online form—there’s not exactly a lot of time between filling out the form and hitting “submit”). Our information will go here as well when you hire Northwest.
How much does it cost to start a Colorado corporation?
The Colorado Secretary of State charges a $50 filing fee to submit Articles of Incorporation.
Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $275, including state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service, and all the business documents you need to open a corporate bank account.
How long does it take to start a Colorado corporation?
Colorado only accepts Articles of Incorporation via their online system. Hop online and file your Articles yourself. Most people receive approval in their email within minutes.
Filing yourself may be fast, but it’s not easy. The online form can be confusing (what exactly is an “individual causing delivery?”) and requires you to do a lot on your own, like find a registered agent. Make the whole process both fast and easy when you hire Northwest.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Colorado corporation formed within 24 hours.
Does a Colorado corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, you’re required to list a Colorado registered agent in your Articles of Incorporation (and each year in your Periodic Report). You don’t necessarily have to hire someone—you can appoint yourself as your own registered agent. While you might save a few bucks as your own agent, you’ll find this position comes with a world of headache. Your Articles and Period Reports are public documents—meaning your name and the address you list will almost certainly end up on a bunch of mailing lists. Being available during business hours at the address listed is also tough when you’re trying to run a business. You have meetings to attend and errands to run (and sometimes, you just need to take off for the mountains for a couple days).
A better option? Save yourself the hassle and hire Northwest. Providing expert registered agent service is what we do every day. We’ll list our address on your public documents. We’ll be ready and waiting to accept your legal notifications—we’ll even scan and send them to you the same day. We help make sure you can stay on top of your business wherever you choose to be.
Create Bylaws for Your Colorado Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, your Colorado corporation will need bylaws. There isn’t a public filing requirement (like there is for submitting your Articles or Periodic Reports), but bylaws are critical for organizing the internal operations of your business.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your bylaws are where you spell out all the rules for how your corporation really works. You’ll need a board of directors—so you’ll have to decide who is on the board, how long members are on the board, how members are replaced, and how many members are needed to vote on a resolution. You’ll need stock—so you’ll have to decide on stock classes and voting shares. You’ll have officers—so you’ll have to decide on their powers and duties as well. Basically, your bylaws are where you put on paper who has power over what. And while it may be an internal document, people outside your corporation will want to see your bylaws too. Banks will request them when you open a corporate bank account, and investors and lenders will want to see them before they give you money.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you even begin? Northwest can help with this. When you hire Northwest to form your Colorado corporation, we give you free corporate bylaws, along with other free corporate forms like resolutions and meeting minute templates. We’ve spent years refining our free forms. Why? We want to work and keep working with your business, so we want to make sure you start out strong. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Colorado Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, the IRS requires your Colorado corporation to get an EIN for federal tax filings. You’ll also need your EIN for state tax filings and opening a corporate bank account. You can get an EIN for free directly from the IRS. Prefer to skip this extra application? Hire Northwest to get an EIN for you—just add on this service during checkout when signing up for our services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Colorado Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Colorado corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Colorado corporation’s bylaws
- The Colorado corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Colorado corporation need a business license?
Colorado doesn’t have a general, statewide business license, but many cities and counties have their own requirements for local business licenses. For example, if you have a physical location in the Town of Vail, you’re required to obtain a business license.
File Colorado Corporation Reports
What is a Colorado Periodic Report?
Your Colorado Periodic Report is a form you submit to the Secretary of State each year to confirm your contact information. The filing fee is $10 and reports are filed online. Forget to file? Watch as your costs balloon—the late fee penalty is $50. At Northwest, we’ll help you remember to file on time. When you sign up for our services, we send you reminder notifications for your yearly report. Want this report off your plate entirely? Hire us to file your Colorado Periodic Report for you each year.
How much does a corporation in Colorado cost each year?
Colorado corporations pay $10 a year to submit their Colorado Periodic Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Colorado corporation?
The Colorado corporate net income tax is a flat rate of 4.63%—one of the lowest corporate net income tax rates in the country.
The state sales tax is also quite low: only 2.9%. Local sales taxes, however, can make the total much higher (particularly in more touristy areas). For example, in Aspen, the total sales tax rate is a whopping 9.3%. Luckily, the average total sales tax rate is not so daunting at just 5.966%.