Business FAQs

Beginning a business
Business survey information
Dissolution and reinstatement
Electronic filing
Email notification
Entity names
Filing documents and finding information
Foreign (outside of Colorado) business entities
General questions
Noncompliance and delinquency
Periodic reports
Personal identifying information
Professional service corporations
Public benefit corporations
Registered agent
Secure business filing
Tax information
Trade names


Filing documents and finding information

Q1. Where can I find forms?
A1.  Most documents are required to be filed online.  From the business home page, click on "File a business document" and review the options.  If you are not sure where to find a form, you can look for a form on the Business Forms List.
Forms regarding tax matters will be found on the appropriate state or federal website or by contacting such agencies. The Secretary of State’s office does not have any information pertaining to taxation.


Q2. Which form should I file?
A2.  The Secretary of State’s office cannot advise you on which forms are necessary for different types of transactions. Questions regarding which form should be completed after reviewing the available forms should be addressed to your legal, business, or tax advisor(s).


Q3. How do I fill out the form?
A3.  The Secretary of State’s office cannot give business or legal advice regarding the proper information to be entered on a form.

Instructions for each form are available by selecting “Help on this Page” while filing the document online. If you need further assistance completing the form read the appropriate statute or seek advice from your legal, business, or tax advisor(s).


Q4. Where can I find form/line instructions?
A4.  View online filing instructions or line instructions for specific forms.


Q5. What does “Fillable” mean?
A5.  A document that is “fillable” allows the user to type the required information into the fields provided while on the computer. The completed document may be printed and submitted for filing as a paper document. These documents are not intended for online filing. Also, the form must be completed on a computer or typewriter. Handwritten forms will not be accepted.


Q6. How long will it take to process documents I have submitted for filing? Can I expedite the process?
A6.  Documents submitted online are filed in real-time, which means that the document is processed immediately after being submitted. Documents filed online will trump paper documents submitted to our office.

Business filings generally will be processed in the order that they are received. Paper filings should be completed within 7-10 business days from the date received. You may expedite the process with payment of an additional fee. Expedited documents are processed within 3 business days. Expedite requests received after 4pm may not be reviewed until the following business day. All requests for expedited filings must be made in writing at the time the document is submitted.
Requests for certified copies, certificates of fact, and other transactions are also available on an expedited basis for an additional fee and are usually completed within 3 business days.


Q7. Can I have my documents reviewed (“pre-cleared”) prior to submitting them for filing?
A7.  No. As of July 1, 2004, the Secretary of State no longer accepts documents for pre-clearance. The individual filing the document is responsible for its accuracy. The Secretary of State can only check that the required fields have been completed but cannot decide whether the information provided in those fields is correct. Web-enabled documents will show reject reasons in red once the filing is submitted.


Q8. Do I receive any paper work back after the filing has been accepted?
A8.  Our office does not send back confirmation copies of business filings. Images of filed documents are available for viewing and printing from our website after the document is processed.


Q9. How can I view and obtain copies of a filed document?
A9.  To view and obtain copies of a filed document:

  1. From the Business Home, select “Search business database”.
  2. Enter the record name or ID number and click “Search”.
  3. If you enter a name, a list of entities with similar names will display. Select the ID Number of the appropriate entity.
  4. From the Summary page, select “View History and Documents”.
  5. Select the Document number to view the document.
  6. A PDF image of the document will open. You may print and/or save the image. Select the browser’s “Back” button to return to the History and Documents page.


Q10. How do I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?
A10.  To print a free Certificate of Good Standing for any business entity in Good Standing: 

  1. From the Business Home page, select “Certificate of good standing”.
  2. Enter the entity name or ID number and click “Search”.
  3. If you enter a name, a list of entities with similar names will display. Select the ID Number of the appropriate entity.
  4. From the Summary page, select “Obtain Certificate of Good Standing”.
  5. The certificate will open as a PDF image.
  6. You may then print or save the certificate.
  7. Use the browser’s “Back” button to return to the Summary page.

If the status of the entity is anything other than Good Standing (i.e., Delinquent, Exists, Dissolved or Revoked), a Certificate of Good Standing cannot be issued. Review the entity’s History and Documents to see if a Periodic Report or some other document needs to be filed. If you have additional questions regarding the status of the entity, contact the Business and Licensing Division.

Note: The U.S. Department of State has stated that the only Certificate of Good Standing it will accept is one that is printed in color rather than black and white. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office will not provide a colored version if ordered on the Certified Order form. Therefore, the Certificate of Good Standing will need to be obtained and printed on a computer that is connected to a color printer.


Q11. What is an apostille and what purpose does it serve?
A11.  An apostille is a special certificate used to authenticate public documents for international use. Filed documents and certificates of fact may be certified with an apostille for use in countries participating in the 1961 Hague Convention.

If you need certification of a document for use in a country that does not participate in the Hague Convention, visit the U.S. Department of State website.


Q12. What is an entity ID number? Where can I find it?
A12.  The Colorado Secretary of State uses an 11-digit numbering system. The first four digits indicate the year, the fifth digit is a 1 or 2 (1 for business filings or 2 for UCC filings) and the last six digits are sequential numbers that start at 000001 each January 1. An entity ID number is a unique number used to identify an entity’s record. This number is assigned when an entity submits for filing an originating document (i.e., Articles of Incorporation) or document that creates a new Secretary of State record. This number is stamped by the Secretary of State on the original document delivered for filing and typically appears in the upper right hand corner on the first page of the document.


Q13. How do I find an owner, officer, director, member, or manager of a business entity?
A13.  Business entities are not required to file information regarding owners, officers, directors, members, or managers with the Secretary of State. While this information may be available in certain documents, such as Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, there is no guarantee of its accuracy or that it is up to date. This information is to be kept in the entity’s records held at its principal office. You may want to contact the entity at the principal office address for this information.


Q14. I know a certain company is doing business in Colorado. Why am I unable to find it listed in your records?
A14.  The entity may have been administratively dissolved or revoked for failure to file a Periodic Report or maintain a registered agent a number of years ago. These entities may have been purged from the database prior to 1997. You may request a non-digital data search using the Business Services Request form if you believe that the entity was a registered entity. The Secretary of State does not guarantee results. Another reason may be that the business in question is a sole proprietorship or general partnership that had a closed, expired, or inactive trade name on record with the Department of Revenue at the time trade name records were transferred to the Secretary of State in 2006. The Colorado Department of Revenue may provide information concerning these types of businesses. Finally, the business may not have been filed with the Secretary of State.


Q15. Do you have information on stock or a list of stockholders for corporations?
A15.  No. The Colorado Secretary of State does not maintain this information. This information is to be kept in the entity’s records held at its principal office.


Q16. Where can I find a list of business entity, history, & status type abbreviations?
A16.  See our abbreviations list.


Q17. Do your records tell me if a business is reputable?
A17.  The Secretary of State's office does not record complaints against businesses or investigate businesses, nor do we have information regarding the reputability or business practices of any entity. The Better Business Bureau provides business reliability reports, dispute resolution and charity reviews at