What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Colorado?

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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Colorado?

Starting a business in Colorado will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Colorado.

Before applying for any licenses, the legal structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Also see: Steps to Starting a Business in Colorado

State of Colorado Business Licenses

There is no general state of Colorado general business license, however, many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Business license requirements vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.

Denver – The City of Denver requires several types of businesses operating in City limits to register, such as auto parts recyclers, caters, ice cream vendors, and many more. Denver business licenses can be obtained through the Denver Business Licensing Center.

Colorado Springs – Businesses such as concrete contractors, excavators, pawn brokers, tree services, and others need to obtain a business license from the City Clerk’s office.

Aurora – The City of Aurora requires any business operating within City limits to obtain a business license. The cost of the Business License Application is $15 and an initial filing fee of $26.

Fort Collins – Any business operating within City limits needs to obtain a City Sales and Use Tax License. There is no cost for the Sales and Use Tax License. Additionally, bowling alleys, contractors, establishments serving liquor, pawn brokers, and more will need additional licensing.

Lakewood – The City of Lakewood requires all businesses operating in City limits to register for a Sales and Use Tax License. The cost of a Sales and Use Tax License is $15.

Done for you license research

Take the guesswork out of figuring out what licenses and permits are required to start your business with license research packages from IncFile or CorpNet.

For as little as $99, you can save a lot of time and know your business is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. 

 

Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on requirements at the city or county level, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.

Building PermitA building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.

Signage Permit Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (or FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number). The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number.

There is no cost for an EIN, and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN

Colorado Sales Tax License

Most businesses in Colorado selling a product and some services will need to register for a Colorado sales tax license (sometimes referred to as a reseller’s license, a vendor’s license, or a resale certificate) with the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Sales Tax Exemption Certificate

Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Colorado Sales Tax Exemption Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License

A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Colorado include; cosmetologists, massage therapists, plumbers, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

While most licensing is handled through DORA, a few other types of businesses are licensed by other agencies. A few of these industries include:

Trade Name Registration

While not a business license, Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) must file the Statement of Trade Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Colorado Secretary of State.

These are some of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many licenses and permits for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, be sure to check with the MyBiz Colorado Small Business Navigator, City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

For some additional peace of mind, companies like IncFile or CorpNet can do the research and ensure you have all of the proper federal, state, and local licenses to start your business.

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