Starting a Colorado LLC, step-by-step
Starting a Colorado LLC costs $50. And it takes 1 day to get an LLC in Colorado.
The 5 steps to start an LLC in Colorado are:
- Choose an LLC Name
- Select a Registered Agent
- File Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.
If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent.
(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Colorado?
It costs $50 to start an LLC in Colorado.
And then it costs $10 per year.
What are these fees for?
- The $50 is the one-time fee to file the Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. This is the document that creates Colorado LLCs.
- The $10 per year is an ongoing filing fee for your Periodic Report – a mandatory filing that keeps your LLC in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.
To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in Colorado.
How long does it take to get an LLC in Colorado?
If you file your LLC online, it will be approved immediately.
The Colorado Secretary of State doesn’t accept LLC filings by mail.
Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Colorado to check for any delays.
Here are the steps for starting an LLC in Colorado
1. Search your Limited Liability Company Name
Search your Colorado LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state. You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same business name.
First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in Colorado. You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the Colorado Business Database Search from the Colorado Secretary of State.
Second, familiarize yourself with the naming rules in Colorado (so your Colorado LLC gets approved).
We’ll explain both in more detail here: Colorado LLC Name.
2. Choose a Colorado Registered Agent
The next step is to choose a Colorado Registered Agent.
A Colorado Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal documents and state notices on behalf of your Colorado Limited Liability Company.
Who can be a Registered Agent for Colorado LLCs?
You have 3 options for who can be the Registered Agent for an LLC in Colorado:
- A friend or family member
- A Registered Agent Service
The Registered Agent for your Limited Liability Company must have a physical street address in Colorado. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.
And the Registered Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records through the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Database Search.
If you don’t have an address in Colorado, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC. And most Registered Agent Services also offer LLC formation services if you’d like someone to start a Limited Liability Company for you.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.
They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.
Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.
3. File Colorado LLC Articles of Organization
To start an LLC, you need to file the Colorado Articles of Organization. The Articles of Organization is the document that forms your LLC in Colorado.
This gets filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.
The Colorado Articles of Organization filing fee is $50 if you file online. This is a one-time filing fee for your Articles of Organization.
If you want to file your Colorado LLC Formation documents yourself, see our step-by-step guide: Colorado Articles of Organization.
Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.
4. Create a Colorado LLC Operating Agreement
A Colorado LLC Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Articles of Organization.
The Articles of Organization creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.
Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.
And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.
That’s why we recommend that all LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.
Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with the state or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Just keep a copy with your business records.
You can download a free template below.
Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step Colorado Operating Agreement video.
5. Get an EIN for your LLC
The next step is to get a Colorado EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.
Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.
An EIN Number is used to:
- identify your LLC for tax purposes
- open a business bank account
- apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an Employer Identification Number cost?
Getting an EIN Number from the IRS is completely free.
How long does it take to get an EIN?
If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.
If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.
How can I get an EIN?
US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.
Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.
What do I do after my LLC is approved in Colorado?
After the Colorado Secretary of State approves your LLC, there are some additional steps to complete.
Open an LLC business bank account
You’ll want to open a business bank account for your LLC.
This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.
Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection. This is because it keeps your business finances separate from your personal finances.
Get Colorado business licenses and permits
Good news, Colorado doesn’t have a state general business license.
However, depending on where your LLC is located, you may need a local business license or permit.
For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.
You can learn more on our Colorado Business License page.
File your Colorado LLC Periodic Report
All Colorado LLCs must file a Periodic Report every year.
This business filing keeps your LLC in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.
The Periodic Report filing fee is $10 per year and it’s due by the end of your LLC’s Anniversary month, every year.
And your first report filing is due the year after your LLC was approved.
For example, if your LLC was approved on February 15, 2024, your first Periodic Report is due by March 31 2025. And then they’ll be due by March 31 every year after that.
You can file your LLC’s Periodic Reports online or by mail. We recommend the online filing because it’s easier to complete.
Follow our step-by-step guide here: Colorado LLC Periodic Report.
File and pay taxes
LLCs don’t pay federal income tax. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.
Said another way, the owners pay income tax for the LLC as a part of their personal tax returns.
How will my Colorado LLC be taxed?
By default, a Colorado LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:
- A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
- A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.
Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.
Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in Colorado LLC Taxes.
How to Start an LLC in Colorado FAQs
Can I start an LLC in Colorado online?
Yes, you can file your Limited Liability Company online in Colorado. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $50.
When you start your LLC online, it will be approved immediately.
What are the benefits of an LLC?
The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets from your business debts and liability. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.
This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities.
This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more popular business structure.
Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.
And Colorado state income taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.
To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.
Is Colorado a good state to start an LLC?
Whether Colorado is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.
Meaning, if you live in or do business in Colorado, then you should start your LLC in Colorado.
While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.
For example, if you form an LLC in Nevada, but live in and conduct business in Colorado, you’ll also need to register your Nevada LLC in Colorado (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying Colorado taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.
In summary, if you live in and conduct business in Colorado, then yes, Colorado is a good state to start a business.
If you don’t live in and do business in Colorado, then no, Colorado isn’t a good state to start a business.
Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of Colorado, you should start an LLC in the state where the property is located.
For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.