The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses.  The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Colorado without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC in Colorado can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own.  That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more.  There are companies like IncFile, Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.

To form a Limited Liability Company in Colorado, file the Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State.  The LLC filing fee is $50, and the LLC is approved immediately.

If you have questions, contact the Colorado Secretary of State.
Colorado Secretary of State
Phone: 303-894-2200
Email: business@sos.state.co.us

HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A COLORADO LLC

To get started, visit the Colorado Secretary of State.

 

Step 1: Name the LLC

The legal name of the LLC must include one of the following at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Co
  • Limited
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • Ltd.

The name of the LLC also has to not be similar to other registered entities in the state of Colorado.  Check on available LLC names in the state database.

How to Form a Colorado LLC

Step 2: Principal Office Address

In this section, enter the street address, city and zip cost of the initial principal office.  This address can be the physical address of the LLC or it can be the address where the business records are stored.  You may not use a PO Box for the designated office.

If you prefer to use a different address than the designated office for correspondence from the Secretary of State, enter that address in the mailing address field.  A PO Box is acceptable in this section.

CO LLC Principal Business Address

Step 3: Registered Agent

To have an LLC in Colorado, a Registered Agent must be identified.  The Registered Agent is either a Colorado resident or a company that provides registered agent services. The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.

Even though any individual can be the registered agent (business owner, member, friend, etc), their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.  Hiring a company to be the Registered Agent will reduce the number of unwanted phone calls and mailings.

Colorado Registered Agent LLC

The registered agent must consent to being appointed as the registered agent and the box has to be checked to confirm that they have agreed.

Registered Agent Colorado

Step 4: Organizer Information

The name and mailing address of the member(s) forming the LLC are entered next. If there is more than one member, be sure to click on the Yes button and later you will add an attachment to include the names of all the members.

Step 5: Management

This section asks whether the management of the LLC is Manager-Managed or Member-Managed.

Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.
Manager-Managed LLCs refer to an LLC where the members hire somebody to run the company, similar to the position of CEO for a corporation.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

Next, you have to confirm that there is at least one member of the Limited Liability Company by checking the box

Colorado LLC Member Manager Managed

Step 6: Additional Information

If there are additional items to attach regarding the formation of the LLC, indicate that additional information needs to be attached.

This isn’t common for most LLCs.

Colorado LLC Additional Attachments

Step 7: Effective Date

If you want the LLC to start on today’s date choose Yes, otherwise select No and enter a date less than 90 days in the future to start.

Some will delay the LLC start date if they aren’t ready to go but want the filing out of the way or if they are close to the end of a calendar year and want to delay until the following year so they won’t have to file business taxes.

Colorado LLC Delayed Effective Date

Step 8: Email Addresses

Should you want to receive an email instead regarding notices of when a form has been filed, when the status of a record has changed, and when the Periodic Report or renewal is due.  Know that the Secretary of State no longer sends a reminder in the mail for the annual LLC renewal.

CO Articles of Organization Email

Step 9: Signatures

Each member of the LLC must certify the information in the Articles of Organization are correct and sign.

All members can sign this document but only one is required to do so.  If other members want to sign, upload their names and signatures as an attachment on the next page.

CO LLC Signatures

Step 10: Upload Attachments

If you selected to upload additional attachments, they will be uploaded here.

Step 10: Review and Pay

Review the Articles of Organization for any errors and if there are no errors all that’s left is to submit payment.

That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Colorado.  Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing.  If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.

 

Wrapping Up

While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases.  An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC.  Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.

After the LLC is officially filed, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account.  There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get.  See how to apply for an EIN.

Last, before starting a business in Colorado, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Colorado.  See the Guide to Starting a Business in Colorado for more information.

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