How to Start an LLC in Colorado
Located on the edge of the Great Plains and home to most of the southern Rocky Mountain range, Colorado is a state that’s full of natural beauty. Colorado boasts a rich culture, diverse landscapes and a thriving tourism industry, and it is recognized as one of the best states in the nation for business.
Though Colorado is an agricultural powerhouse, it also features diverse industrial and service sectors. Scientific and high-tech businesses are well-represented in The Centennial State.
If you want to start your own business in Colorado, one of the best ways to do so is by forming a Colorado LLC. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Colorado LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.
Briefly, the benefits of starting a Colorado LLC include:
Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Colorado LLC
Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
Six Quick Steps for Forming Your Colorado LLC
We’ve got lots of useful information on starting a business in CO. On this page you’ll find the basic steps of how to form a Colorado LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Colorado LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your Colorado LLC that’s not used by any other business in CO. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Colorado business entity name search on the CO Secretary of State website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Colorado LLC.
Learn about Colorado LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your CO LLC
Every Colorado LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Colorado and can be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Colorado LLC
Every CO LLC must have a “Registered Agent” when it is formed. This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Colorado Secretary of State.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your CO Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Colorado and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Colorado Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Colorado Registered Agents
STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Colorado LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Articles of Organization With the Colorado Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your Colorado LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the CO Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Colorado LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
Your business name and address
Details of your Registered Agent
Names of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
Addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
Name of the incorporator
You can file your Colorado LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Colorado. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
Form Your LLC Now
Review Information From the Colorado Secretary of State
The CO Secretary of State has plenty of information on registering a business in Colorado. We’ve covered the basic steps for forming an LLC, but you’ll find other useful information below.
Colorado Secretary of State for forming and running your CO LLC
Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for CO employers and hiring
Colorado Department of Revenue for CO taxes
Special Types of Colorado LLCs
A regular Colorado LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Form a Professional Colorado LLC
Some states, including Colorado, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Here are the occupations that the CO Secretary of State allows to form Colorado professional LLCs:
- Certified Public Accountants
- Land Surveyors
- Physical Therapists
- Physicians and Surgeons
- Professional Counselors
Form a Foreign LLC in Colorado
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Colorado, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on Colorado filing and licensing requirements here.
Form a Foreign LLC in California
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to California, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on California filing and licensing requirements here <link ‘to state page once created>
What to Do After Setting up Your Colorado LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Colorado? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
Detailed Information for Your Colorado LLC
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the Colorado business registry of the CO Secretary of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Colorado LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Colorado Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Colorado Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Colorado rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Colorado and federal business licenses, Colorado annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Colorado government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Colorado taxes like sales tax and income tax.