How to Form an LLC in Colorado

Here are the steps you need to take to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Colorado.

Here are the steps you need to take to form an LLC in Colorado. For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see Nolo's article How to Form an LLC.

  1. Choose a name for your LLC.
  2. Appoint a registered agent.
  3. File articles of organization.
  4. Prepare an operating agreement.
  5. Comply with tax and regulatory requirements.
  6. File periodic (annual) reports.

1. Choose a Name for Your LLC

Under Colorado law, an LLC must contain the words or abbreviation “limited liability company,” “ltd. liability company,” “limited liability co.,” “ltd. liability co.,” “limited,” “l.l.c.,” “llc” or “ltd.,”Limited Liability Company," "Limited Company," or the abbreviation "L.L.C.," "L.C.," "LLC," or "LC." The word "Limited" may be abbreviated as "Ltd.," and "Company" may be abbreviated as "Co."

Your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Colorado Secretary of State. Names may be checked for availability by searching the Colorado Secretary of State business name database.

An available name may be reserved for 120 days by filing a Statement of Reservation of Name with the Colorado Secretary of State. The form must be filed online at the Secretary of State website.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

Every Colorado LLC must have an agent for service of process in the state. The registered agent may be (1) an individual who is a full-time resident of Colorado, (2) a Colorado business entity with its principal place of business in Colorado, or (3) a foreign entity authorized to do business in Colorado and that has a usual place of business in the state.

3. File Articles of Organization

A Colorado LLC is created by filing articles of organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. You can view and download a sample articles of organization form on the Secretary of State’s website.

The articles must include the LLC's name, the LLC's street address, the name and address of the LLC’s registered agent, and other basic information. The articles of organization must be filed online.

4. Prepare an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is not required in Colorado, but is highly advisable. This is an internal document that establishes how your LLC will be run, including how the LLC will be managed. In the absence of an operating agreement, state LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.

5. Comply With Tax and Regulatory Requirements

Additional tax and regulatory requirements may apply to your LLC. These may include:

EIN: If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN), even if it has no employees. If you form a one-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN for it only if it will have employees or you elect to have it taxed as a corporation. You may obtain an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website.

Register with Department of Revenue: In some cases, for example if you will be selling goods and collecting sales tax or if you have employees, you’ll need to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR). For more information on state LLC tax registration, see Nolo's article LLC Annual Filing Requirements in Colorado.

Business Licenses: Depending on its type of business and where it is located, your LLC may need to obtain other local and state business licenses. For local licenses, check with the city in which the business is located (or county if you are in an unincorporated area). For state licenses, check with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

6. File Periodic (Annual) Reports

Colorado LLCs must file a Periodic Report with the Colorado Secretary of State each year. The report must be filed online at the Secretary of State website. For more information, see Colorado LLC Annual Report and Tax Requirements.

All of the paperwork and procedural steps to start a limited liability company in Colorado can be done online using Nolo's Colorado Online LLC Formation application.

7. Foreign LLCs Doing Business in Colorado

All LLCs organized outside of Colorado must register with the Colorado Secretary of State to do business in Colorado. To register, file a Statement of Foreign Entity Authority. The application may must be filed online.

Ready to start your LLC?

Talk to a Lawyer

Need help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you