You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Colorado LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen. But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Colorado. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Colorado LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Articles of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
As you narrow down your name options, confirm that all of your potential choices comply with the state’s business name requirements. Every Colorado LLC name must include the term “limited liability company”, “ltd. liability company,” “limited liability co.,” “ltd. liability co.,” “limited,” “l.l.c.,” “llc,” or “ltd.” Additionally, your name must not already be taken. You can find out if it’s distinguishable among the Secretary of State’s records by performing a name availability search.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a Colorado Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Make arrangements with your desired registered agent beforehand, because their name, address, and consent are required on your Articles of Organization.
Your registered agent will fall into one of three pools: individuals, business entities, or the LLC itself. If an individual, the agent must be a Colorado resident with an in-state physical address, and if a company (like a registered agent service) it must be authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Colorado Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Colorado.
The Articles of Organization might be an immensely important document, but it’s not overly long or complicated. Take a few minutes to gather all the required information beforehand and you’ll cruise right through it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- LLC name
- Principal office address
- Mailing address (if different from the principal office address)
- Registered agent name and address (not a P.O. box)
- The organizer’s name and address
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- A delayed effective date (optional)
- Filer’s name and address
Along with this information, you’ll need to supply payment for the form’s $50 filing fee, so have a credit or debit card ready when you file.
There’s only one method for submitting your Articles of Organization: online. On the Secretary of State’s Business Forms page, find the Limited Liability Companies section, click “File Online” next to “Articles of Organization.” You’ll be directed through a series of pages. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to complete your filing.
Your submission will be processed immediately. The Secretary of State won’t mail you a confirmation, but you can always access the form it by selecting “Filing History and Documents” on your LLC’s summary page.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Colorado), but what if your business is expanding to Colorado from another state? In this case, you could disregard the Articles of Organization. Your LLC will take a different path.
Your go-to form will instead be the “Statement of Foreign Entity Authority.” Like the Articles of Organization, this document must be filed online. This is called foreign qualifying your LLC, gaining permission from the state to conduct business there. Don’t attempt to do any business before foreign qualifying, as it can result in severe penalties and fines.
But after you’ve successfully filed your Statement of Foreign Entity Authority and received authority from the Secretary of State, you’re free to kick off your activities in Colorado.
Want Help Filing Your Colorado Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Colorado Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.