How to Form an LLC in Colorado

How to Form an LLC in Colorado

A step-by-step guide to forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the state of Colorado.

steps t form a colorado llc

Using a formal business structure to organize your business provides stability for regular operations and provides legal and financial liability protections for its members. Organizing your business under a formal structure also lets you access other options for tax filing, makes your company easy to recognize in public, and more. To enjoy these advantages, you might create a new Limited Liability Company, or LLC, in Colorado. You will need to complete several steps; upon completion, you will have an officially recognized Colorado LLC. You must pick a name, choose a Registered Agent, file Articles of Organization and pay a fee of $50.

On this page, we’ve created a simple guide to understand the steps necessary to create a new LLC in Colorado.

Step 1. Choose a name for your Colorado LLC.

How will you name your new business? Deciding on a name is the first step towards forming an LLC in Colorado. It would be best if you chose a name that is easy for the public to search for and recognize. You should avoid forming an LLC with a name already in use or a name that the public could confuse with another business or entity. Making a smart selection during this stage will help you avoid delays later. Here’s what to know about naming a Colorado LLC.

1. Observe Colorado’s naming guidelines.
  • Names must have some form of the phrase “Limited Liability Company.” Many abbreviations are acceptable. Any combination including “Ltd.” or “Co.” is acceptable. “Limited Company” or simply “Limited” are also permissible.
  • Must be distinct from other existing business names in Colorado.
  • Must not mislead the public into assuming an association with the government.
2. Verify that the name is available.

Before filing to create your LLC, take steps to verify that your selected name is available for use in Colorado. Use the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Database Search to ensure your name is available. Using an invalid name will cause your application to be denied, and you will lose the nonrefundable application fee.

3. Reserve your LLC name.

When you’re satisfied with the name you’ve chosen and verified its availability, reserve it so you can complete the rest of the process. Colorado provides an easy way to reserve your name for 120 days. You must file a Statement of Reservation of Name via the Colorado Secretary of State’s online transaction portal. There is a $25 fee for reserving a name.

Note: The business name you put down on your Articles of Organization does not have to be the same name you use when interacting with the public. Colorado allows LLCs to use a “DBA” or “doing business as” trade name, also called a fictitious name in some states. To use a trading name, submit a Statement of Trade Name of a Reporting Entity and a $20 fee to the Secretary of State in Colorado. Filing is online only

Step 2. Appoint a Registered Agent based in Colorado.

Colorado requires that your business specifies whom the state should communicate with officially, such as for service of process during a lawsuit. Agents should understand that their responsibilities include accepting appropriately served legal documents. You or someone else in your business may be the registered agent, or you may use a third-party agent service so long as the selected entity meets the following requirements:

  • Must be an individual over 18 living full-time in Colorado, a business primarily domiciled in Colorado, or a foreign (non-Coloradan) business entity authorized to do business in the state.
  • Must consent to be the agent.
  • Must have a permanent street address in Colorado.

Step 3. File Articles of Organization.

After reviewing the Colorado Secretary of State’s LLC checklist, you can start filing. Follow the instructions on the online filing portal carefully, and be sure you have all the necessary information ready to submit. This includes:

  • The name of your LLC.
  • The business’s permanent street address.
  • The name and physical address of the registered agent you selected.
  • Member management or designated managers.
  • Affirm that the LLC has at least one real member.
  • The name and address of the individual submitting the filing.

There is a non-refundable fee of $50 to file Articles of Organization. You may only apply online.

Registration as a foreign LLC is required if you already have an LLC that you formed in another state and wish to work in Colorado. There is a $100 nonrefundable fee for registering as a foreign LLC, and you must file online.

Step 4. Choose whether to use an Operating Agreement.

Operating agreements provide structure and guidance to the members of your business regarding management. These agreements lay out each member’s responsibilities, define roles, and serve as an important document for demonstrating the legal separation between the business and its members. Colorado does not require you to file an operating agreement to form an LLC. Even so, having one on file is often a good idea. Explore a consultation with a business lawyer to consider how an effective operating agreement might look.

Step 5. Obtain an EIN.

If you will form an LLC with more than one member, there is one more requirement to meet. The law requires you to request that the Internal Revenue Service assign your LLC with an EIN or Employer Identification Number. This requirement is true for all multi-member LLCs, even if you do not have employees. LLCs with a single member only need to request an EIN if they plan to hire workers or opt for corporate taxation. Converting a sole proprietorship into an LLC also requires the assignment of a new EIN.

EINs let businesses hire employees, work more easily with banks, and file their taxes accurately and reliably. There is no charge to apply for an EIN. To request yours:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999