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For new companies, forming an LLC is often the best option as it is an uncomplicated business structure that affords business owners legal protection by separating personal assets from business debts.

Compared to other states, forming an LLC in Colorado is a simple process lacking in requirements and high filing fees. The Centennial State is also a great place to start an LLC thanks to its diversified, growing economy and myriad business opportunities.

But to avoid a misstep in the filing process, follow these steps to start an LLC in Colorado, and refer to the checklist at the bottom of the post to familiarize yourself with the legal and financial requirements for LLCs in the state.

Starting an LLC in Colorado step-by-step

1. Select a name for your Colorado LLC

Follow naming requirements

There are two major guidelines to follow when naming your LLC in the state of Colorado:

  1. Your LLC’s name must be unique compared to the names of other business entities registered with the Colorado Secretary of State.
  2. Your LLC’s name is required to contain one of the following phrases or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “limited”, “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “L.C.”, “LC”. You can also substitute “Company” with “Co.” and “Limited” with “Ltd.”

Need help coming up with a business name? Check out our free business name generator.

Reserve your LLC name with the Secretary of State

After selecting a name for your LLC, you can reserve it with the Colorado Secretary of State. First, check the name’s availability using the Colorado Secretary of State business name database. Upon confirmation that the name is available, file a Statement of Reservation of Name with the Colorado Secretary of State to reserve the name for up to 120 days.

Filing can be done online and the filing fee is $25. Here is a sample of the Statement of Reservation of Name.

Read more: How to perform a Colorado business name search

2. Designate a registered agent

As in every U.S. state, forming an LLC in Colorado requires the appointment of a registered agent service to handle state and federal legal documents and service of process on the business’s behalf.

The registered agent must either be a state resident with a street address in Colorado OR if the individual or business is based out-of-state, they must have a business office in Colorado.

Our picks of the best registered agent services

  • ZenBusiness: There’s no need to stress about filing paperwork when you work with ZenBusiness. This company offers a great variety of LLC services, the focus of which is to ensure your business is set up correctly with the proper paperwork filled out and delivered to the right branch of your state government. Of course, ZenBusiness does charge for their services, but customers say they get the most bang for their buck.
  • Northwest Registered Agent: Starting a business requires a lot of state-mandated paperwork, which can be confusing for new business owners. Northwest offers business services that can help entrepreneurs find the right documentation, fill it out, and file it on time with the right government agency. In addition to helping you set up an LLC, Northwest has a host of additional services, like registered agent services, that new owners will find useful too.
  • Bizee: Bizee offers a great library of material to help first-time business owners figure out what kind of business they should set up. From there, Bizee will aid with documentation and filing procedures and demystify terms like registered agent, articles of organization, and EIN. The company has a strong reputation and great reviews online, too.

Read more:  How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Colorado

3. File Articles of Organization

You can now officially form your Colorado LLC by filing Articles of Organization online with the Colorado Secretary of State. The filing fee is $50.

Your LLC’s Articles of Organization must provide the following details:

  • LLC name
  • LLC principal address
  • Names and addresses of persons forming LLC
  • Registered agent name and address
  • A state declaring that the LLC has one or more members
  • Whether the LLC will be member-run or run be a manager

4. Draft an operating agreement

Although not a legally mandated step for forming an LLC in Colorado, drafting a comprehensive LLC operating agreement is strongly recommended for all nascent limited liability companies.

The operating agreement should do the following:

  1. Describe the LLC’s business structure
  2. Establish the individual responsibilities and obligations of LLC members
  3. Detail how the LLC will be run

Without an operating agreement clarifying the specific duties of its members, an LLC may face significant legal and operational difficulties.

5. Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) 

All newly formed LLCs in the United States must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (with the exception of single-member LLCs).

The nine-digit EIN is like a social security number for a business and is necessary to pay income tax, file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and perform many other important functions.

You can apply for an EIN online on the IRS website without paying a filing fee.

6. Fulfill additional legal obligations

Once an LLC is registered, its members must devote attention to fulfilling legal requirements that apply for the duration of the company’s existence.

File Periodic Reports

Each year, all Colorado LLCs are required to file a Periodic Report with the Colorado Secretary of State. The report is due within a three-month window that begins on the first day of the anniversary month of the LLC’s formation. However, reports can also be filed up to two months early.

Periodic reports can be filed online at the Colorado Secretary of State website and the filing fee is $10.

Register with the Colorado Department of Revenue

Some LLCs may be required to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue in order to pay certain state taxes. This includes businesses with employees and those that collect sales tax.

Read more: What is an annual report?

Obtain business licenses

LLCs in certain industries may need to obtain state and/or local licenses, permits, or certifications in order to operate legally in the state.

Visit the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website for information on state licenses and contact a city clerk in the municipality where your LLC is based to find out more about the local permit and licensing requirements.

Read more: How to Get a Business License

7. File a BOI Report

Effective January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) mandates that most corporations, LLCs, and similar entities in the U.S. report their beneficial owners’ information to FinCEN. In Kansas, a beneficial owner is identified as someone with significant control or at least 25% ownership of the entity. Required information includes the owner’s name, birth date, address, and ID number from an approved document, along with its image.

Entities established or registered before the 2024 cutoff must file their initial reports by January 1, 2025.

For businesses formed in 2024, there is a 90-day window after confirmation of formation to file, while those established afterward have 30 days from their creation or registration date to comply. Filings are processed electronically via FinCEN’s BOI reporting portal.

Learn more about BOI Reporting.


Colorado LLC checklist

Naming requirements

A Colorado LLC’s name must obey the following guidelines:

  • Must be distinguishable from the names of existing businesses registered with the Colorado Secretary of State.
  • Must contain one of the following phrases or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “limited”, “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “L.C.”, “LC”. You can also substitute “Company” with “Co.” and “Limited” with “Ltd.”

Registration procedure

  • A Colorado LLC is formed by filing Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Required formation documents and filing fees

  • Statement of Reservation of Name$25 filing fee
  • Articles of Organization$50 filing fee

Regular legal obligations

  • Periodic Reports – Must be filed by Colorado LLCs every year.
  • Colorado DOR Registration – Required for certain LLCs depending on the nature of their business.
  • Business licenses –  Required for certain LLCs depending on the nature of their business.

Foreign LLCs in Colorado

In order for an LLC formed outside of Colorado to do business in the state, it must register with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Complete the following steps to register to do business in Colorado:

  1. Comply with the Colorado LLC naming guidelines and check the availability of your LLC’s name with the Colorado Secretary of State business name database.
  2. Appoint a registered agent based in Colorado.
  3. File a Statement of Foreign Entity Authority online with the Colorado Secretary of State. You must pay a filing fee of $100.