How to Start an LLC in Colorado
Colorado is considered one of the states that offer a rich business setting in the US. It supports business owners, trained employees, and approachable legal frameworks through its numerous programs and strong incentives for organizations of all sizes.
Colorado encourages many business structures. Among these various business structures, the most feasible one for new start-ups and small organizations is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) Colorado. Establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) enables such ventures to surface professionally.
Are you looking forward to running your small business professionally in Colorado? Here is a headstart for you to consider before adopting a suitable business arrangement for your new venture.
What is an LLC?
An organizational classification known as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) offers entrepreneurs specific protection from financial and legal obligations. Establishing an LLC helps verify a business as a distinct legal organization that, rather than placing the owner and their assets in jeopardy, accepts financial liability for any legal allegations against the enterprise or the majority of business obligations.
2022 has been a record year in Colorado regarding new business filings. Colorado business owners are offered numerous initiatives and financing (like Colorado Microloans for small entities) presented by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Industrial Trade upon satisfying the necessary LLC requirements.
Colorado LLC (Limited Liability Company) is the simplest and quickest approach for owners wishing to launch a new venture in Colorado. It is an effective business formation for start-ups and small to medium-sized entities. It has simpler laws and regulations while still providing you with the benefits and safeguards enjoyed by large-sized Colorado corporations. However, if a Colorado Corporation is more appropriate for the business type than an LLC, you might opt for the former.
An LLC’s owners are referred to as members. LLCs are regarded as “pass-through entities” for tax purposes, which means that the business’s revenues are transferred to the owner(s), who subsequently factor them into their tax calculations and payments. There are various forms of LLCs that business owners can opt for.
Advantages of an LLC in Colorado
There are numerous benefits and factors to consider when starting a new business in Colorado. These are:
Double taxation prevention
LLCs prevent members from paying double taxation. Firms must make tax payments on their profits and then make additional tax payments upon paying shareholders’ dividends, known as double taxation. Colorado LLCs render organizations as “pass-through,” meaning LLCs will only pay personal income taxes instead of corporate taxes.
The law shields LLC members. Colorado LLC helps protect personal assets from litigation or loan defaults that may be launched against a company.
Flexibility and adaptability
LLCs are exempt from the extensive regulations governing corporations. For instance, companies must hold yearly shareholder meetings and have an organized management structure and board of directors for legal status maintenance. However, none of these are mandatory for LLCs.
LLC formation and maintenance
An LLC is cheaper to create and maintain, unlike a Corporation. Forming an LLC with the Colorado Secretary of State requires a one-time filing fee of $50. While $10 is charged for the Annual Report. LLC maintenance is also more cost-effective than Corporation maintenance.
Disadvantages of an LLC in Colorado
Despite the tax advantages and liability protection, a Colorado LLC may not be the best option for every business in the state. Consider the following disadvantages to know if a business qualifies for a Colorado LLC.
LLCs taxed as pass-through entities necessitate investors to make payments using their personal tax returns. LLCs may need to modify their tax policy to acquire capital or draw private investors for your business.
Limited liability protection
There are limits to liability security. Members of an LLC are often exempt from liability in legal actions against their company. But this might not be the case if they fail to manage separate personal and company finances.
Paperwork for filing LLC
LLCs involve documentation. Although LLCs offer regulation flexibility compared to corporations, LLCs involve more filing fee payment and extensive documentation than sole proprietorships.
How to Form an LLC in Colorado
Forming LLC in Colorado is the most sensible decision for those who prefer an affordable and straightforward business that offers personal asset protection in case of a lawsuit. Let’s discover how to form an LLC in Colorado. The following steps will help establish an LLC structure:
- Naming the LLC
- Providing Official Address for the LLC
- Hiring a Registered Agent for the LLC
- Filing the Articles of Organization
- Formulating Operating Agreement
- Acquiring EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Naming the LLC
Deciding on a company name might sound simple, but it can be difficult. The company name must be concise, distinctive, and pertinent to your goods or services. Colorado has particular business names
- The name must incorporate an abbreviation or term specifying the business model category. Suppose the business model is a Limited Liability Company. In that case, the name must contain any of these: LLC, L.L.C., LTD, Limited Liability Company, Ltd. Liability Co., limited, Ltd. Liability Company, or Limited Liability Co.
- The name must be unique and distinguishable from other company names on Colorado’s record. Letter case and punctuation do not differentiate the names of organizations, but articles, abbreviations, and terms can be used to make the name distinctive. The Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) website has detailed business name information.
- The name availability must be checked using Colorado’s Name Availability search tool. Other websites also offer similar tools. It is necessary to verify if your decided name is available and not taken already.
- The domain name must be outstanding, concise, and pertinent to the company name. Owners must also purchase the domain name, even if they don’t intend to use it immediately. It is important to do so as some other entity might secure it.
- Colorado offers the business name reservation for around 120 days. Fill out the Statement of Renewal of Reservation of Name form and mention details like LLC name, mailing address, EIN, and registered agent details to reserve your company name.
- In Colorado, DBA (doing business as) is called a ‘Trade name.’ Those preferring to conduct business under a name other than the company’s legal name can apply for a Trade name. The state mandates that the business submit the trade name if a for-profit LLC intends for a different operational name. A Statement of Trade Name of a Reporting Entity form must be submitted to the SOS for this purpose.
Detailed naming information is mentioned on Colorado’s SOS website.
Providing an official address for the LLC
Colorado LLC requires a specified street address, irrespective of the firm location (office, home, etc.). It may not be inside Colorado, but it must be a physical address. Mentioning a P.O. Box is not acceptable.
Hiring a Registered Agent for the LLC
Registered agents submit documents to the Colorado Secretary of State and receive official tax and legal communications. Colorado mandates a Registered Agent for all LLCs.
A Colorado Registered Agent can be:
- Business owner,
- Company manager,
- Or specialized Registered Agent agency
The Colorado LLC Registered Agent:
- Must have a Street address at which the SOS can send important mail and legal documents
- Must be physically available to receive mail and documents on the organization’s behalf during regular business hours.
A Colorado Registered Agent is hired when submitting the Articles of Organization and officially establishing the business in Colorado.
Filing the Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization must be submitted to the Colorado Secretary Of State for forming the Colorado LLC, along with a filing fee of $50. The certification must contain the following:
- The LLC name
- Address and name of the owner(s)
- Main office street and mailing address
- Registered agent details (Name, contact, address)
- Mention the administration of LLC, i.e., member-managed or manager-managed
File the Articles of Organization through the Colorado SOS website’s automated filing system. It is only filed once; however, an online yearly report submission is mandatory, with a filing fee of $10.
Formulating Operating Agreement
An LLC Operating Agreement in Colorado outlines important aspects of the firm, like:
- decision making
- sharing between members
- what happens and needs to be done if a member quits the organization.
Think of the operating agreement as a guidebook that defines the organizational operations.
Business owners are not legally compelled to formulate a Colorado Operating Agreement; however, creating one is advisable.
Acquiring EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Employer Identification Number (EIN) helps Colorado LLC to get recognition from the International Revenue Service (IRS).
Acquiring an EIN helps LLCs with the following:
- Payroll data and employee payments submission
- Tax filing and payment
- Opening a business bank account
IRS explicitly offers a business bank account to identified LLCs.
Types of LLC
Which type of LLC is ideal for me?
To choose an operating model that best fits the characteristics of the firm and how it functions, one must be aware of the several LLC forms or arrangements given below:
- Single-member LLCs involve only one individual responsible for running it. Despite being comparable to a sole proprietorship, it offers more legal protection and tax advantages.
- Multi-member LLCs are conventional LLCs with several members that are frequently separated into member-managed and manager-managed organizations.
- Restricted LLCs are not subject to taxes for the initial ten years after the LLC formation and can also not provide money to members. The LLC’s restrictions must be specified in the Articles of Organization.
- L3C or Low-profit Liability Companies link for-profit and nonprofit LLCs that concentrate on business objectives over profits.
- Professional LLCs are specialized LLCs exclusively accessible to specifically licensed professionals. A PLLC differs from a professional corporation since it frequently includes licensing prerequisites that apply to professions like medicine or law. A state license is mandatory for forming a PLLC.
- Series LLCs are tier-based arrangements in which the top-tier LLC, through endless segmentation, owns a series of lower-tier LLCs. All LLCs in the series have a distinct operating style, and most of their resources are kept apart.
- Foreign LLC is formed if a company is already established in another state and is advancing business to Colorado or vice versa.
Applicable LLC taxes in Georgia
Colorado LLCs are subjected to the following taxes:
LLCs must pay the following taxes to the Colorado Department of Revenue:
Colorado Income Tax
Business owners must pay the Colorado income tax on their personal earnings, which are carried over to their individual tax returns. They can use standard deductions and allowances and pay taxes at Colorado’s standard rates.
Employees are also subject to Colorado income tax which is lowered to 4.5% temporarily.
Sales and Use Tax
Some Colorado businesses offering specific services or products might require sales tax collection at the point of purchase and reimburse it to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Colorado’s sales tax is currently 2.9%. However, it may elevate to 11.2% as imposed by respective municipalities, counties, or cities. Verify if your business is subjected to sales and use tax from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
LLC owners are subjected to Federal Income and Self-employment taxes assessed as pass-through taxation. These are complicated payments; hence, consulting with a professional tax preparer or qualified accountant is recommended.
Federal income tax
Revenues withdrawn from the Colorado LLC are subject to standard federal income tax. This tax amount relies on the following:
- Tax bracket
- Filing status
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) levies a self-employment tax rate of 15.3% on LLC members and managers obtaining profits from the company. It covers several privileges like Medicare, Social Security, etc. This tax is reduced if owners categorize their LLC as an S Corporation by filing Form 2553 with the IRS.
Payroll Withholding Tax and Employee Tax Return
Employers must withhold 7.65% of an employee’s taxable wages, and employees are liable for 7.65%, up to the 15.3% current federal tax rate.
Employee Insurance and Misc. Taxes
Owners might be subject to unemployment tax, employee compensation insurance, etc.
Other Duties and Taxes
Businesses might be subject to several duties or taxes:
- Import/export charges
- Fuel charges, etc.
LLCs might be subjected to quarterly or yearly estimated taxes based on the anticipated income and profit amount. Estimated taxes include:
- Colorado income tax
- Federal income tax
- Federal self-employment tax
Detailed taxation information can be accessed from the IRS website, professional tax preparers, or accountants.
Cost of forming an LLC in Georgia
One-Time LLC Costs
- LLC Formation Fee– $50 (discounted to $1 currently)
- Fee to Reserve Business Name– $25
- State Franchise Tax– $0
- Registered Agent Fee– $0-125
- State Franchise Tax– $0
- Registered Agent Fee– $0-125
Colorado LLC business owner(s) must pay a specific amount to meet the LLC filing prerequisites based on the LLC specifications. These LLC expenses are owed to the Colorado Secretary of State. Additional expenses need to be paid to the federal government or state entities. Common LLC costs and fees are listed below:
Articles of Organization Filing Fee
Colorado LLC formation mandates payment of $50 to the Colorado Secretary of State as a filing fee for Articles of Organization.
The cost and filing period are as follows:
- State Fee– $1
- State Processing Period– 3 Weeks
- Expedited Filing Period– 1 Business Days
- Expedited Filing Fee– $50
Colorado LLC filing fee has been momentarily reduced from $50 to $1. According to a press statement from the Colorado Secretary of State, the new fees will be in effect for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2022-2023 or until the general fund money is spent. And it will remain effective through June 30, 2023.
Registered Agent Fee
A Registered Agent fee in Colorado varies from $0-$125 annually. If you are a Registered Agent, then it is free of cost. If you acquire Registered Agent services, it may cost up to $125 in Colorado.
Foreign LLC Filing Fee
Foreign companies can establish their business in Colorado by submitting a Statement of Foreign Entity Authority form with a filing fee of $100 to the Colorado Secretary of State for a Foreign LLC. A Certificate of Existence or Good Standing from their respective domestic state is compulsory.
Colorado LLCs that intend to extend their business outside Colorado require a Certificate of Authority, Compliance, or Foreign Qualification from the state. They must follow the application procedure with filing fee payment that can be inquired from the respective state.
EIN Filing Fee
International Revenue Service offers a free-of-cost Employer Identification Number for Colorado LLCs.
Operating Agreement Filing Fee
Many websites offer free-of-cost Operating Agreements that can be customized when you file your Articles of Organization for your Colorado LLC through them. In Colorado, it is optional but recommended for future purposes.
Annual Report Filing Fee
Like other states, Colorado LLCs must submit an annual or periodic report to the Colorado Secretary of State for $10. The yearly report is due in the three-month window starting on the first day of the organization’s founding month.
Business Permits and License Fees
Colorado LLC business owner(s) are responsible for maintaining local, federal, or state business permits and licenses for running their Colorado LLC. The charges for permits and licenses differ; they are either ongoing or one-time.
Throughout the Colorado LLC, companies might need to pay and adhere to numerous additional costs and obligations. These costs will only be due under the following conditions:
- LLC Name Reservation costs $25. Colorado Secretary of State offers the LLC name reservation for those who do not want immediate Colorado LLC formation. Statement of Reservation can be filed online for this purpose.
- Switching to a new Registered Agent costs $10. A Statement of Charge is submitted online to the Colorado Secretary of State.
- Colorado Trade Name filing costs $20. It requires submission of a Statement of Trade Name form to the Colorado SOS.
- Colorado Certificate of Compliance or Good Standing is offered online free of cost by the Colorado SOS. It helps prove that the LLC complies with state laws and regulations.
- LLC Amendments can be filed using the integrated filing system of the Colorado SOS for $25.
Articles of Organization filing fee
Colorado Periodic Report fee
Name Reservation fee
Registered Agent fee (if using a service)
EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Business License (Local)
Is LLC The Best Entity For Me?
Maybe, LLC isn’t the right entity for you. Maybe it is a C-Corp. Only way to find out is to directly compare them all.
LLC vs Corporation (C-Corp)
Sole proprietorships and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are two of the most common business entities for individuals and small businesses. Learn what differentiates the two today.
LLC vs S-Corp
Not sure what business structure to choose? Learn about the key differences between LLC and S-Corp today.