Do you own a business operating in the state of Colorado? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.
But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Colorado business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.
Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?
First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.
What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Colorado?
The state of Colorado does not have a general business license that applies statewide to every business entity, as some states do. However, depending on the nature of your business, there could be several licenses and/or permits that you may be required to obtain.
To determine which permits you need to operate a compliant business, we recommend that you pay a visit to the Colorado Business Express Portal, where you’ll find information on starting a business and identifying the required licenses.
Occupational Licenses and Permits
Colorado provides information on 122 different occupational licenses and permits required in the state. These can vary widely, from physical therapy to plumbing, and many points in between. Depending on the exact nature of your business, you might need more than one of these permits.
Environmental Licenses and Permits
Finally, Colorado also has some environmental permits that apply to any business that emits air pollution, discharges materials that negatively impact soil, or produces sewage that affects water quality. You can find out if you need one of these permits by contacting the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Which Tax Registrations are Required for Colorado Businesses?
In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.
Every Colorado LLC with employees will need to obtain a wage withholding account number from the Department of Revenue. Additionally, employers will need to register for workmen’s compensation insurance. Most LLCs need to register for state and local sales taxes as well.
There are also many industry-specific tax registrations in the state of Colorado. Thankfully, the Colorado Department of Revenue explains the various tax requirements for different industries and provides guides to register. You can learn more about these taxes here.
Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Colorado?
The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Colorado you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Colorado localities.
All county-level occupational license tax forms are managed on the state government website, including those in Denver, El Paso, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Larimer, Douglas, Boulder, and Weld counties. Check out the list for yourself right here. You can also consult your county’s website for more information.
There are also some requirements on the city/municipality level. For example, Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Fort Collins all have business resource websites that explain the applicable permits and licenses required to do business.
If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Colorado, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.
Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?
If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.
Companies like Incfile can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. They will then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Colorado. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.
We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!