You’ve established a registered business in Colorado. Now, an external entity is asking for proof that your business is compliant with state laws. Obtaining a Colorado Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) isn’t difficult, but there are a few things you should know before getting started. Our guide will explain the what, why, and how of this valuable certification.
What is a Certificate of Good Standing?
A Certificate of Good Standing, sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Existence or something similar in some other states, is an official document signed by the Secretary of State. It demonstrates that your Colorado business is in compliance with state laws and filing procedures. Further, it serves as evidence that your registered entity is authorized to conduct business in the state.
Which Colorado office issues the CGS?
When first forming your business and every year thereafter, you’re required to file reports and pay fees with the Secretary of State. This government office oversees elections, registers and manages businesses, and regulates notaries. It’s also responsible for assigning your status and issuing your CGS.
Determining an entity’s standing is an ongoing process, and each state has different requirements. How can you be sure your business hasn’t slipped? ZenBusiness offers a worry free compliance guide to help eliminate the guesswork and keep you informed of important Colorado business deadlines.
What does certification confirm about your business?
The CGS’s purpose is similar to that of a reference letter — it grants your company credibility and legitimacy. The high level of professionalism implied by a CGS sets your business apart from unregistered entities like sole proprietorships or general partnerships.
Nearly every state’s CGS has similar features, including business name, entity type, formation or authorization date, and government seal.
The Colorado CSG contains your business identification number, a typed notice of good standing, and a signature from the current Secretary of State. It confirms that (during the period reflected on the document) you:
- Had no late fees or outstanding debts
- Filed all necessary state income and business taxes
- Submitted your periodic reports on time
- Maintained a registered agent with an active in-state address
When will you need a Colorado Certificate of Good Standing?
You’re likely reading this because a person or separate business entity requested a copy of your CGS. This is fairly common. Below we’ve compiled a list of occasions when you might need one.
Register as a foreign (out-of-state) entity
Also called Foreign Qualification, registering as a foreign entity is often necessary before your company can conduct business in another state.
If you’re financing your business with a bank loan, angel investor, or crowdfunding, a CGS can help establish confidence and trust.
Open a bank account
Keeping your business and personal finances separate is imperative. Bring a recent copy of your CGS when you open a corporate bank account. They’ll ask for your federal employer identification number (EIN) and signatories as well.
Acquire business insurance
Worker’s compensation and general liability coverage are imperative for your registered business entity. Your provider will want to have a copy on record.
Form a contract
When you draw up a contract with the state or another Colorado business, a good status report lends reliability to the agreement.
Sell or transfer your business
Ready to call it quits? Before you hand over your empire to its next owner or shareholder, it’s vital to demonstrate compliance with state law.
Renew permits and licenses
In Colorado, you’re expected to keep track of your own permits and licenses. Refer to the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and Department of Revenue for more information. Renewing relevant licenses sometimes calls for proof of good standing.
Which Colorado entities can get a CGS?
To be eligible for a Colorado CGS, you must be an officially registered business entity, such as a corporation or LLC. This often means you’ve filed either the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization with the state. Beyond that, your business must not have outstanding payments, missed report filings, or have gaps of time without a registered agent.
On the other hand, informal entities that do not register with the state cannot get a CGS. These include sole proprietorships and general partnerships. The Colorado Secretary of State’s website indicates that trade names, fictitious names, or “doing business as” (DBA) are also ineligible to receive a CGS. Instead, you can get a Certificate of Fact of Trade Name.
Steps to Obtaining a CGS
For Colorado residents, the process of acquiring a Certificate of Good Standing is fairly straightforward. You’ll need access to an internet connection and a printer. To maintain your good standing, you’ll need to be familiar with compliance law and understand the validity requirements of the requesting party.
Check for compliance
The first line of defense against falling out of favor is awareness. Familiarize yourself with your corporation or LLC’s legal obligations, and assign someone to fulfill them. We recommend outsourcing this role — your owners or shareholders manage a whirlwind of internal data, documents, and deadlines as it is.
Some compliance obligations in Colorado include:
- All LLCs and corporations must file a Colorado Periodic Report with the Secretary of State. Failure to do this will result in delinquent status.
- While Colorado doesn’t impose a franchise tax, you’re responsible for paying state and local income and business taxes (commercial property, unemployment, etc.).
- As long as your registered business is operational, you must maintain a registered agent with an active in-state address. If your agent cannot fulfill their duties, you need to submit a Statement of Change form within 30 days.
ZenBusiness’s worry free compliance service is designed to help you maintain favorable status. We understand how overwhelming it can be to keep a new business organized and running smoothly. Our expert team provides insight and oversight as you file your periodic report. We can assist in making necessary amendments to your business name, address, or owners (if necessary). For added peace of mind, we send you timely alerts and notifications throughout the year to make sure you don’t miss a beat.
Visit the Secretary of State’s online portal
In Colorado, you aren’t required to fill out a form, pay a fee, or wait weeks to receive your certificate. Follow the steps below to find and print your CGS today.
- Visit the Colorado Secretary of State portal.
- Enter your business name or ID number (omit the designation LLC).
- Locate your business on the results page and select your ID number.
- Scroll down on the summary page to find the relevant link.
- Save and print the PDF as needed.
The good news is that a Colorado CGS doesn’t expire. However, it can be rendered invalid by status changes. For this reason, it’s important to check the portal at least once per month to ensure your statement’s still valid.
Keep in mind the entity requesting proof may ask for a certificate dated within the last 30 or 60 days. Different organizations (banks, out-of-state governments, insurance providers) may define validity differently. Make sure you understand and follow their instructions before sending them a copy of your CGS.
Compliance may not be simple to keep up with, especially when considering all the other aspects that make a business go round. At ZenBusiness, we understand that your business needs don’t stop after the business has been registered. ZenBusiness can help keep you in good standing with our worry-free compliance service. With this service, we not only help keep your business in compliance, but we can also secure a Colorado CGS for you if you need one; you just pay the state fees. And, if you don’t have worry free compliance but still need a CGS, our Certificate of Good Standing service can help.
Colorado Certificate of Good Standing FAQs
How much does a Colorado CGS cost?
Colorado has eliminated their long-form CGS option and replaced it with a free, printer-friendly version. Rather than submitting paperwork and a processing fee, you can access the state’s business database on your own time. Search, save, and print your company’s certificate as many times as you’d like at no cost.
How long will it take to get my Colorado Certificate of Good Standing?
Unlike many other states, Colorado has a convenient and quick process for obtaining your certification. Thanks to the Colorado Secretary of State’s open-access database, you can get your CGS on the spot.
Can I expedite a Colorado CGS request?
Because the request for a CGS in Colorado is fulfilled immediately, there’s no need to expedite. Conduct a quick search on the Secretary of State’s database and print your certification now.
Is a CGS required to stay compliant in Colorado?
No. A CGS isn’t required to stay compliant in Colorado. However, you must be compliant to obtain a CGS.