To start an LLC in Colorado, you must file Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. This document must be filed online. The Articles of Organization cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Colorado LLC. However, before the LLC is ready to do business in Colorado, you must complete several additional steps...
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How to Start an LLC in Colorado
To start an LLC in Colorado, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. You must file the document online. The articles cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Colorado LLC.
According to CO Rev Stat § 7-90-701, every Colorado LLC must appoint and maintain a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the Colorado SOS Business Database Search and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Colorado Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Colorado LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the state’s online form entirely and hire us to form your Colorado LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. And for the cheapest way to start a business? Pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. LLC Name
You must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC” in your name. You’re not allowed to use a name already reserved or in use.
2. Principal Office
Your principal office has to be a street address. If your mailing address is a PO Box, that’s fine—there’s a space to include that, too, but only after you’ve listed a street address. Note that any address you put in your Articles of Organization becomes a permanent part of the public record—hire us and you can use our address.
3. Registered Agent and Registered Agent Address
Your Colorado registered agent can be any individual (yourself, a member of your LLC, a friend) so long as they live in Colorado and are available during business hours to accept legal notices for your LLC. Or, this could be a business like Northwest that provides registered agent service. You’re required to include a physical registered agent address, as well as a mailing address (if different from physical). When you hire us, our address goes here—and you don’t have to worry about publicly listing your own home or office address.
4.Statement Regarding Registered Agent Consent
Your registered agent has to agree to serve as your registered agent (you can’t just list your brother’s name and info and call it a day). By ticking this box, your affirming that the registered agent has agreed to serve. We’ll check this box and serve as your registered agent when hire us to form your Colorado LLC.
5. Name and Address of Person Forming the LLC
This is a confusing way of asking “who’s filling out this form and what’s their mailing address?” It’s doubly confusing since it can be a business (like Northwest) filling out the form, as opposed to an individual person. And with Northwest, that’s one more opportunity to have our address instead of yours on this public document.
6. LLC Management
You can choose to have members manage the LLC themselves, or you can have one or more managers run the show. Basically, it’s all about who gets to make decisions. Most small LLCs are member-managed. However, if you want to retain ownership interest but don’t actually want to run day-to-day operations, you can hire or appoint managers instead.
7. Statement Regarding Members
This is just a box to tick affirming that there’s at least one member in the LLC.
8. Additional Information
Only tick this box if you’re including additional attachments with your articles. Since no additional attachments are specifically requested or required when you file your articles, most LLCs leave this blank.
9. Delayed Effective Date
Leave this blank if you want your Colorado LLC to be formed immediately (you most likely do). But, if you want to delay your start date—maybe until the next tax year starts?—you can write that date here as long as it’s within 90 days of filing.
10. Individual Causing Delivery
This is a weird way to say “who’s delivering this form and what’s their address?” Since all Colorado LLC Articles of Organization are submitted online, the person or entity “delivering” the form is likely the same person or entity who is forming the LLC. Maintain your privacy when you hire Northwest and we’ll put our information here as well.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Colorado LLC?
Professionals in Colorado hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. Our office is in Boulder, CO. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Secretary of State’s office. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Boulder registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Denver, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Colorado. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Colorado LLC Is Formed?
After your Colorado Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does a Colorado LLC need an EIN?
Yes—you’ll need an EIN if you plan to hire employees or if you require special tax filings (like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns). And, you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Colorado LLC?
Colorado doesn’t legally require LLCs to have operating agreements. According to Colorado Revised Statute § 7-80-108, members may enter into an operating agreement before, after, or at the time of filing articles—but the law doesn’t declare that they must.
That said, an operating agreement isn’t any less important just because it’s not required by law. It’s one of your LLC’s most important internal documents. Creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events like mergers and dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
- Initial investments
- Profits, losses, and distributions
- Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
- Transfer of membership interest
- Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Colorado law. Topics not allowed to be changed in the operating agreement are listed in Colorado Revised Statute § 7-80-108 (2a – e), which forbids acts such as unreasonably restricting the rights of members and eliminating the obligation of good faith and fair dealing.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my Colorado LLC?
To open a bank account for your Colorado LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Colorado LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Colorado laws.
File Colorado Reports & Taxes
Colorado LLCs are required to file a state report each year called a “Periodic Report.” This report is basically an information update you file so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Colorado LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Colorado Periodic Report fee?
The fee for the Colorado LLC Periodic Report is $10. Not too bad, unless you fail to file your report on time. If your report is even one day late, you’re charged an additional $50 and your LLC enters non-compliant status. After 90 days, the late fee goes up to $90, your LLC enters “delinquent” status, and you have to file a Statement Curing Delinquency.
When is the Colorado Periodic Report due?
Your Colorado Periodic Report is due during your LLC’s anniversary month. So, if you filed your articles in June, your periodic report will always be due in June.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your periodic report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Colorado LLC taxes?
The Colorado personal net income tax rate is a flat 4.63%. The state also has a 2.9% sales tax—although cities and counties tend to stack on local sales taxes as well. Some jurisdictions also add on special taxes for things like regional transportation. For example, by the time it’s all said and done in Denver, the sales tax rate is 8.31%. The highest possible sales tax in Colorado is 11.2%, which can be found in Winter Park.
Colorado property taxes are also worth noting. For residential properties, just 7.15% of assessed market value is taxed. Non-residential properties, however, face property tax on 29% of assessed market value. Actual property tax rates are determined by local municipalities. If you decide to invest in Colorado property, your attorney will likely advise creating an LLC to protect your personal assets. At Northwest, we can form your Colorado LLC for as low as $275. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue?
If you’ll be selling goods or services in Colorado on which sales tax must be collected, you will need to apply for a sales tax license with the Colorado Department of Revenue—sometimes, this is referred to as business registration. You can register with Revenue Online.
Colorado LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Colorado LLC Articles of Organization?
Colorado LLC Articles of Organization can only be submitted online.
How much does it cost to start a Colorado LLC?
The filing fee for your Colorado LLC Articles of Organization is $50. Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $275, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Colorado LLC up and running. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Colorado LLC?
Colorado processes your articles immediately. Yay!
While it’s great to find a state that streamlines the filing process, there’s still a lot for you to correctly fill out in order to ensure there aren’t any hangups. It’s easy to spend precious hours figuring out who can legally be your registered agent. Or second-guessing what “principal office” means. Or trying to decipher what could possibly be meant by “individual causing delivery.”
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we’ll answer all those questions right the first time. You’ll even get a year of registered agent service and a ton of other perks out of the deal.
Does a Colorado LLC need a business license?
While there is not a state-wide general business license required in Colorado, all businesses collecting sales and use taxes must apply for the Colorado sales tax license. This license is generally valid for two years before requiring renewal. At the state level, Colorado also has some licensing and registration requirements for certain professions, such as landscape architecture, hair styling, and plumbing, to name a few.
Additional licensing may also be required at the local level, depending on the jurisdiction and your industry. In Boulder, a general business license (referred to as a “sales and use tax license”) is required for anyone conducting business in the city limits. Denver, on the other had, has business license requirements that stem from the specific industry and service provided—some businesses may not require local licensing at all.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can a Colorado LLC help me live more privately?
Yes. While you can’t remove all ownership information from an Colorado public filing (like you can in states like New Mexico, Delaware, and Wyoming), a Colorado LLC can still help you reduce your public footprint. You can maintain a significant degree of address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Colorado LLC?
A foreign Colorado LLC is any LLC formed outside of Colorado but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in New Mexico but wanted to conduct business in Colorado as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Colorado by filing a Statement of Foreign Entity Authority form with the Colorado Secretary of State. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file Colorado periodic reports. Northwest can register your foreign Colorado LLC for you today!
How can I get a Colorado phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Colorado LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Colorado Articles of Organization and send them to the Secretary of State for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Colorado Secretary of State has approved your filing, we notify you that your Colorado LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.