How to Start an LLC in Colorado
Last Updated: by the TRUiC Team
To form a Colorado LLC, you'll need to file the Articles of Organization online with the Colorado Secretary of State, which costs $50.
Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Colorado guide to get started today.
- Name Your Colorado LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- File the Periodic Report
- Keep Your Company Compliant
Or Simply use a professional service:
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
Learn more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide. To form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Set Up an LLC guide.
Step 1: Name Your Colorado LLC
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in forming your Colorado LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Colorado naming laws and requirements and is easily searchable by potential business clients.
1. Follow the naming guidelines for a Colorado LLC:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations or words: “LLC, L.L.C., ltd., limited liability co., ltd. liability company, ltd. liability co., or limited.”
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional legal paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
2. Is the name available in Colorado? Make sure the business name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search online through the Colorado Secretary of State Business Database Search.
To learn more about searching for a Colorado LLC name, read our full guide.
3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Find a Domain Now
Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
We reviewed and ranked the best LLC services. Find out which is best for you.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Colorado
You are required to appoint a registered agent for your Colorado LLC.
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business's point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a full-time resident of Colorado or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to conduct business in the state of Colorado. You may elect an individual within the company, including yourself.
Recommended: Northwest provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($29 + State Fees)
Step 3: File Your Colorado LLC Articles of Organization
To register your Colorado LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. You can only apply online.
Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.
File the Articles of Organization
File Online With the State of Colorado
For help with completing the form, visit our Colorado Articles of Organization guide.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the state of Colorado, you will need to form a foreign LLC.
Step 4: Create Your Colorado LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for an LLC in Colorado, but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Colorado LLC operating agreement guide.
Recommended: Download a template or create a free operating agreement using our tool.
Step 5: Get a Colorado LLC EIN
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Step 6: File the Periodic Report
Colorado requires LLCs to file a yearly periodic report with the Colorado Secretary of State. The filing fee is $10 and must be submitted online.
Periodic reports are due within a five-month period starting two months before your LLC's formation date and two months after. For more information, visit Colorado's Secretary of State website.
Steps After LLC Formation
Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.
Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant
Colorado Business Licenses & Permits
To operate your LLC, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. Fees and requirements for licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of business license you need.
Find out how to get the necessary Colorado business licenses and permits for your LLC with our Colorado Business License guide.
Recommended: Consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review.
Colorado LLC Tax Filing Requirements
It's important to stay up to date on Colorado LLC taxes.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of tax:
If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Colorado Department of Revenue website.
Colorado's base state sales tax is 2.9%. Counties and cities can add an additional local sales tax of up to 8.3%.
If you’re hiring employees, you’ll need to register for both Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and Employee Withholding Tax with the Taxation Division.
Colorado's individual income tax rate does not depend on your LLC's income. Instead, the state has a flat tax of 4.4%.
State tax returns are due each year by April 18. For more information, visit the Colorado Taxation Division website.
You’ll also need to report your federal income tax using either Form 1065 (multi-member LLC) or Form 1040 Schedule C (single-member LLC).
If you plan to hire employees for your business, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the state
- Provide workers' compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print workplace compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your workspace
Find more information at the Colorado Department of Labor website.
Recommended: Check out our Hiring for your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.
Common Questions About Colorado LLCs
What is an LLC?
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
How do I name my Colorado LLC?
You must follow the Colorado LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
After you get your business name, get a unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.
Do I need to get a DBA or trade name for my business?
Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known in Colorado as a trade name. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Read more about being your own registered agent.
Is a registered agent service worth it?
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your Colorado LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
For more information, read our article on Colorado registered agents.
What is the processing time to form my LLC in Colorado?
Processing is instant once payment has been received online.
To learn more, go to our How Long Does it Take to Form an LLC in Colorado guide.
What’s the difference between a domestic Colorado LLC and a foreign LLC?
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
How much does it cost to start a Colorado LLC?
The cost to start a Colorado LLC is $50.
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Colorado LLC.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?
A Social Security number is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more here about applying as an international applicant.
What tax structure should I choose for my Colorado LLC?
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Do I need an EIN for my LLC?
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
What is the minimum wage in Colorado?
The minimum wage in Colorado is $13.65 per hour. In Denver, the minimum wage is $17.29 per hour.
How often do I need to pay employees?
In Colorado, wages must be paid at least once per month.
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