Resource Guide

This guide has been designed to help you start a business in and/or around Boulder, Colorado. It includes information on licenses, permits, applications and other details necessary to begin a business. Keep in mind that this guide only serves as a reference. As a first step, please complete the following "New Business Checklist".

The information provided in this guide is for informational purposes only and the lists of references are not exhaustive. Specific questions or issues regarding legal, accounting, financial, business etc. should be directed to a professional.

Table of Contents

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New Business Checklist

Please answer "YES" or "NO" in response to the following:

____ Written a description of the products and/or services that you will be providing, and you have defined the market area you are going to serve.

____ Written a business plan, defining both your short range and long range goals and objectives.

____ Written financial plan, including projected profit and loss statements and cash flow statements, for a period of at least two years for each of three cases your expected case, the best case and the worst case.

____ Outlined the money requirements for your start up costs and for your three cash flow projections, and secured financial backing to cover the worst case projection for at least two years.

____ Studied your market, checked zoning regulations and state and local licensing requirements, and found a good location for your business.

____ Developed a marketing plan and budget.

____ Decided on the type of business you will operate - sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.

____ Acquired and sought advice from an attorney, an accountant, a banker, and an insurance agent, for your business.

If you answered "NO" to any of the above...then you are not ready to start your business.

Get furtherhelp developing your business plan--call the Boulder Chamber's Small Business Development Center at 303-442-1475

 

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Resource List

1 - Boulder Small Business Development Center

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-1475 - www.bouldersbdc.com

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a joint venture between the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, The Small Business Administration and the State of Colorado. The goal is to provide assistance via training, research and free counseling to small business owners and those who are starting small businesses in the Boulder area. SBDC clients do not have to be members of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.

Programs/Services:

  • Free individual counseling to small business owners on start-up issues, business plans, legal, accounting, marketing topics, human resources, operations, and financing.
  • Low cost classes and seminars on a variety of subjects related to starting and running a small business.
  • Guidance on financing sources available in the Boulder area.
  • Research assistance for entrepreneurs in assessing the feasibility and market potential of their ventures.
  • Referrals to local experts in a variety of areas including law, accounting, marketing, real estate services and others.

 

2 - Boulder Chamber of Commerce

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-1044 - www.boulderchamber.com

The Boulder Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization dedicated to maintaining a healthy and balanced business climate in the Boulder region. It is the leading advocate for small businesses on public policy issues, as well as a forum for networking, education, and promotion.

Programs/Services:

  • Educational programs and seminars
  • A variety of networking and social events
  • Member-led training seminars
  • Tradeshows
  • Advertising and promotional exposure
  • Leads groups and prospecting
  • Numerous volunteer and leadership opportunities

 

3 - Business Library--Boulder Public Library

1000 Canyon Blvd--Boulder, CO 80302
Mailing: PO Box Drawer H--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 441-3194 - www.boulder.lib.co.us

The Boulder Public Library provides hundreds of resources for start-up or existing businesses - everything from industry trends to specifics on marketing, accounting, etc. Reference librarians are always available and willing to help you begin your research.

 

4 - City of Boulder--Transportation Department

Park Central Building
1739 Broadway--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 441-3266 fax (303) 441-4271
www.ci.boulder.co.us/publicworks/depts/transportation.html

The traffic count for a specific street or intersection can be useful in making the difficult decision of where to locate your business. The Transporatation Department knows the roads and offers facts that can be crucial to your potential success.

 

5 - Downtown Boulder, Inc.

Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District
1942 Broadway, Suite 301--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 449-3774--www.boulderdowntown.com

The Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District (BID) is a 49 block neighborhood where property owners tax themselves to make their community cleaner, safer, and more vibrant. The tax is used by the BID to purchase services that supplement those provided by the city and provide a comprehensive consumer marketing program.

 

6 - CU Business Library--University of Colorado

Business Building 341--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 492-8367--http://www-libraries.colorado.edu/

The CU Business Library is a great resource for study and research materials for management and administration, accounting, advertising, banking, finance, small business and entrepreneurship, marketing, real estate, and transportation.

 

7 - Downtown Management Commission & University Hill General Improvement District

1500 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 413-7300--www.ci.boulder.co.us

The Downtown Management Commission was established to create one cohesive commission that manages the Pearl Street Mall and the Central Area General Improvement District (CAGID). The five-member commission is appointed by City Counciil. They meet monthly with their director and staff to review CAGID's policies, programs, and operations.

The University Hill General Improvement District began in 1970 to provide parking and maintenance. Duties were later expanded to include pedestrian, bicycle, mass transit, and aesthetic improvements.

 

8 - Boulder Innovation Center

1900 15th Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-2111--http://www.boulderinnovationcenter.com/

The Boulder Innovation Center (BIC) is a virtual business incubator dedicated to launching and growing entrepreneurial ventures in Boulder. The BIC is a partnership between the City of Boulder, Boulder Economic Council, University of Colorado, and the private sector.

Programs/Services:

  • Education
  • Mentoring and consulting
  • Business Plan Reviews
  • Capital programs

 

9 - Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology

PO Box 1159--Boulder, CO 80306
(303) 981-7101

The mission of the Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) is to assist manufacturers through consulting, training, export assistance, and improved technology. The CAMT has helped hundreds of manufacturing clients over the years.

Programs/Services:

  • On-site training and workshops
  • Technology commercialization
  • Productivity consulting
  • Entrepreneurial support
  • Product innovation

 

10 - Boulder Economic Council

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 786-7867--www.boulderbusiness.org

The Boulder Economic Council is the community's economic development organization --supporting entrepreneurs and exisitng Boulder company's, as well as encouraging companies to relocate to the Boulder area. The council works closely with the city, the University, and the business community in pursuit of its mission.

Programs/Services:

  • Support of industry clusters in the natural products, high tech and creative class sectors.
  • Advocacy efforts with City Council and staff to promote the interests of the business community
  • Information resources for local companies and those considering relocation
  • Funding for business support programs including the SBDC and Boulder Innovation Center

 

 

11 - Denver Public Library

10 West 14th Ave Parkway
Denver, Colorado 80204
(720) 865-1111 http://denverlibrary.org/

Information on all existing patents can be found in the Business and Government Documents Section of the Denver Public Library

 

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Web Resources

 

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Government Regulations

 

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Facilities

City of Boulder Zoning and Land Use Regulations
1739 Broadway--Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3270 fax 303-441-3241
www.ci.boulder.co.us/pwrplan/index.htm

Mailing Address
City of Boulder PLanning and Development
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

Before you select a location for your business, you must make sure that the location has the zoning that your business needs. Zoning information may be obtained from the Planning & Development Department. They will be able to tell you what the zoning regulations are for your particular business. They also have zoning maps available for your review.

If the location that you have selected does not have the proper zoning for your type of business, the Planning Department will discuss with you the possibilities of obtaining a re-zoning, and can help you with processing an application.

 

Boulder County Land Use Department 
2045 13th St., Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-3930, Fax: 303-441-4856 
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
Boulder County Land Use Department
PO Box 471--Boulder, CO 80306

Zoning information (land use regulations) can be obtained from the Boulder County Land Use Department. Zoning maps and regulations are available for inspection or purchase. You may also call the office for zoning and/or land use regulations for a specific property by providing a legal description of the property. If you do not have a legal description, the assessor's office can provide you with one from the assessor's parcel number or address.

 

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Signage

City of Boulder Planning & Development 
1739 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-3270, Fax: 303-441-3241 
www.ci.boulder.co.us/pwplan/index.htm

Mailing Address
City of Boulder Planning and Development
PO Box 791 Boulder, CO 80306

The Planning & Development Department administers signage regulations. A copy of the regulations is available with a full explanation of what is allowed. A sign plan must be submitted and approved prior to being presented to the Building Department for approval of the construction. Permits are also needed for some signs painted on windows. You may change the copy or message on a legally established sign without a sign permit.

 

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Building Changes

City of Boulder Building Inspection and Licensing Program
1739 Broadway, Ste. 406, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3280
www.ci.boulder.co.us/buildingservices/inspection/building/about.htm

A licensed contractor must perform any changes to a commercial building that affect it structurally. This is also true for changes in electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and elevators. While they cannot recommend any particular contractor, the Building and Inspection Department does have a list of all contractors licensed by the city.

Before you lease or purchase
Any offer to lease or purchase should be contingent upon the premises meeting the uniform building code, the fire code or any special codes that govern your particular business (e.g., health codes). Codes change, and a change of occupancy or ownership may require that the premises be brought up to the current codes.

Businesses may wish to work with a design professional knowledgable about the codes to assure that the code requirements are met. Before you purchase a business with personal property (furniture, fixtures or equipment), be sure to check for unpaid personal property taxes at the County Treasurer's Office.

 

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Smoke or Air Pollution

Air Quality Control Division 
700 South Ash 
Glendale, CO
303-692-3100, Fax: 303-782-0278
www.cdphe.state.co.us

Mailing Address
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246

The Air Quality Control Division of the Colorado State Health Department reviews plans for land development, new construction and industrial and manufacturing activities for anything that might have the potential to emit air pollution.

 

Environmental Programs

  • Air Pollution Emission Notice (ASPEN) Forms--303-692-3100
  • Clean Air Small Business Assistance Program--303-692-3100
  • CDH Hazardous Waste Division--303-692-3300
  • CDH Water Quality Division--303-692-3500
  • Office of Pollution Prevention--303-692-2977

 

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Streets and Sidewalks

City of Boulder Street Maintenance 
5050 E. Pearl St. 
Boulder, CO 80301 
303-413-7162, Fax: 303-413-7160 
www.ci.boulder.co.us/publicworks/depts/transportation.html

City of Boulder Development
1739 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3240 fax 303-441-3241

It is the responsibility of each property owner to maintain the area between the curb and the property line, including reconstruction, snow removal and general maintenance. 

Permits for private uses of public streets and ways (sidewalks) are classified as revocable permits, and applicants should contact Development and Inspection Services.

 

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Telephone

Qwest Communications
Home office needs: 1-800-898-9675
Business needs: 1-800-603-6000
www.qwest.com

Qwest Communications provides the local telephone service in Boulder. If you are planning to open your business after the cut-off date for getting into the new telephone book, reserve your telephone number ahead of the actual installation of the phones.

 

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Utilities

Water, wastewater and sewage maintenance is city-owned and operated. Applications need to be signed in person on new commercial accounts. If you do not have a credit history with the city, you may be required to put up a deposit or letter of credit. Applications for new connections are made at the Planning and Development Department at 303-441-3270. You may also contact the following with any questions:

  • City of Boulder Public Works -- 303-441-3200
  • Water or Wastewater -- 303-441-3240
  • Sewer Maintenance -- 303-413-7162 
  • Billing or Record changes -- 303-441-3260
  • Electric or Gas Service - Public Service Company of Colorad/Excel Energy -- 800-772-7858

 

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Fire Inspection

City of Boulder Fire Administration
1805 33rd Street, Boulder, CO 80301
303-441-3350, Fax: 303-441-4350
www.ci.boulder.co.us/fire

The Boulder Fire Department inspects all commercial occupancies at least once a year to assure compliance with fire codes. It also makes inspections for special city licenses that require fire department approval as part of the licensing procedure. Any lease or purchase of a business should be contingent upon the building or space meeting the current fire codes. To ensure that your business is in compliance with fire codes, you must contact the Fire Department. There is no charge for the inspection.

 

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Noise Abatement

The intermittence, beat, frequency and shrillness of noise is regulated under the Department of Health noise control regulation.

For information regarding a current noise issue, contact the City of Boulder Environmental Enforcement at 303-441-3239.

For information regarding noise issues and employee concerns, contact OSHA at 303-844-5285

 

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Trash Collection

Trash and garbage collection is a private industry in Boulder. Service choices are listed in the Yellow Pages of your telephone book under Garbage Collection.

 

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Smoking in Public Places

City of Boulder Environmental Enforcement Office
3450 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
303-441-3239 Fax: 303-441-1468

The City of Boulder prohibits smoking in buildings open to the public or serving as places of work, except in certain buildings or parts of buildings deemed allowable by City Council. Call the EEO for more information.

 

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Registering Your Business Name

Colorado State Government General Information
303-866-5000
www.colorado.gov

Colorado Department of Revenue--Trade Name Information
1375 Sherman Street, Room 160
Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2434
www.businesstax.state.co.us

Secretary of State, Corporations Division
1700 Broadway, Suite 200, Denver CO 80290
303-894-2251 fax 303-894-2242 (Fax)
www.sos.state.co.us

Whether you have decided to operate your business as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or corporation, or if you plan to operate your business with a trade name other than your own legal name or the true name of the corporation, you must register with the Colorado Department of Revenue. As a limited liability partnership, corporation or LLC you are required to register the name with the Secretary of State, Corporations Division. They will do a name check for you via fax. Check with the Secretary of State's office for current costs on applying for your business name.

If you are applying for a sales tax license, you will register your trade name on the same form. Check with the Secretary of State's office for current costs on applying for your license. Recording does not protect the name but only gives notice to the public that you are the person doing business under that name. The name you are planning to use must be checked to make sure that it is not already being used before it may be recorded. If you will be doing business as a sole proprietor, general partnership, or association you can conduct a name search by calling the Department of Revenue at 303-232-2434. 

 

Registering as a Foreign Corporation

Filing your corporate name in this state does not give you the right to do business in another state and does not mean that your name is not already used in another state. You must register as a foreign corporation in every state in which you plan to do business, or register nationally. It is recommended that you consult an attorney if you plan to do business in more than one state or nationally and that an attorney be consulted for the preparation of your articles of incorporation. If you wish to check other states to see if your name is being used, a list of the addresses of the Secretary of State for every state is available at the reference desk at the public library.

 

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City Business Licenses

Before opening any business, contact:
City of Boulder City Clerk's Office
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor
Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3042
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

The city requires a special license if you are operating any one of several different businesses. The fees vary as to the type of license. Examples of businesses that must be licensed include, but are not limited to:

Amusements, Taxi Drivers, Food Service Establishments, Junk Dealers, Public Dances with Alcohol, Second Hand Dealers, Pawnbrokers, Restaurants

 

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Environmental Issues

Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE)
P.O. Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306
303-786-7223
http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/www/pace/index.html

The Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) program is a voluntary, non-regulatory program in cooperation with the City of Boulder Office of Environmental Affairs, Boulder Public Health, City of Longmont, Town of Superior and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Businesses Involving Food

Boulder County Health and Environmental Health
3450 N. Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
303-441-1150, Fax: 303-441-1468
http://www.co.boulder.co.us/health/environ/foodsafety/businessinfo/planreview.htm

Any business involving food must contact the Boulder County Health Department with a set of plans and specifications regarding the type of food operation. Your business must be inspected prior to opening or with a change of ownership. When you sign a lease or if you are purchasing a business, such as a restaurant, the lease or purchase contract should be contingent upon the physical facilities and equipment meeting regional health codes.

This department is in charge of the following areas:

  • Restaurant and food services
  • Water pollution control
  • Water quality
  • Insect and rodent controlWater quality 
  • Mobile home parks
  • Kennel & pet shops 
  • Hazardous substances
  • Schools 
  • Child care 
  • Public swimming pools 
  • Subdivision review 
  • Milk inspection
  • Housing code enforcement
  • Environmental protection

The Health Department must approve all plans for construction or remodel in which any of the above businesses are involved before construction may begin.

 

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Businesses Involving Liquor

City of Boulder Deputy City Clerk 
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor, Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-4192, Fax: 303-441-4478 
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

Obtaining a Liquor License in Colorado can be a detailed process. Anyone not familiar with the Liquor Laws of Colorado should consult with an attorney prior to applying for a license. If you are denied on "needs and desires" you cannot reapply for a license for the same location for two years. There is both a state and city license required. The entire licensing process begins with the Local Liquor License Authority.

 

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Occupations Requiring State Licensing


The following occupations require a license, examination and/or approval from the appropriate state agency before you may open for business. The Department of Regulatory Agencies can help you with detailed information regarding a particular license. Please call (303) 894-7855.

 

 
  • Accountants (CPAs)
  • Auto Dealers
  • Architects
  • Attorneys
  • Banking
  • Barbers
  • Butchers & Slaughterers
  • Carnivals & Amusement Parks
  • Cemeteries
  • Coal Mine Officials
  • Childcare
  • Chiropractors
  • Collection Agencies
  • Cosmetologists
  • Construction of School Bldgs.
  • Consumer Lenders
  • Dairy Product Handling
  • Dentists
  • Driving Schools
  • Egg Dealers
  • Electricians
  • Explosives
  • Farm Product & Feed Dealers
  • Fertilizer Applicators
  • Fireworks
  • Frozen Food & Game Proc.
  • Insurance
  • Hearing Aid Dealers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Life Care Institutions
  • Liquor Sales
  • Medical Doctors
 
  • Messenger & Delivery Services
  • Milk Handling
  • Mobile Home Dealers
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations
  • Notaries Public
  • Nurseries & Greenhouses
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administration
  • Occupational Schools
  • Optometrists
  • Outdoor Advertising
  • Passenger Tramways
  • Pesticide Applicators
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians
  • Plumbers
  • Poultry Dealers
  • Professional Engineers
  • Psychologists
  • Racing Events
  • Real Estate
  • Savings & Loans
  • Scale Licenses
  • Securities
  • Social Workers
  • Taxis
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Trucking (Interstate)
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Water Well Drilling
  • Wildlife, Fishing & Hunting Areas

 

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Protecting Intellectual Property

 

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Patents/Trademarks

Colorado Secretary of State
Corporations Division
1700 Broadway Denver, CO 80290

Business and Administration development/resource-guide#200 Licensing: Suite 300
Elections: Suite 270 Information Technology: Suite 350
303-894-2251
www.sos.state.co.us

 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - General Information Services Division
Crystal Plaza 3, Room 2CO2, Washington, D.C. 20231
1-800-786-9199

 

For US Trademark Law--Rules of Practice & Federal Statutes:
www.uspto.gov

In Colorado you may not register a trademark until you have actually used it in your business. On the federal level you may register a trademark prior to actual use; however, it will require additional paperwork and fees when it is placed into use. Trademarks are registered with the Colorado Secretary of State if your mark is used in Colorado. If your trademark will be used in more than one state, it may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is possible to search trademark availability using the Internet; however, an Internet search is not conclusive.

 

U.S. Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks
1-800-786-9199
Call before 3:00 p.m. MST
www.uspto.gov/

A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the government to the inventor (or his or her heirs or assigns), acting through the Patent and Trademark Office. A patent may be granted for any machine, process, composition or material or design that is novel, non-obvious and useful. Before requesting a patent, you must search the list of existing patents to see if someone else already has one registered on your invention.The Denver Public Library, Business and Government Documents Section has lists of all existing patents. Only attorneys or agents registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may process patent applications. You may receive an application form by contacting the U.S. Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks.

 

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Tax Information

If you are selling, leasing or renting tangible personal products to the public you probably will be required to collect sales tax. Thus, you must obtain both a State and City Sales Tax License.

City Sales Tax License

City of Boulder Sales Tax Division
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3050
www.ci.boulder.co.us/finance/index.htm
Mailing address: P.O. Box 791, Boulder, CO 80306-0791

As of January 2004, the amount of city sales tax is currently 3.41% of the sales price for most retail sales. There is an additional 0.15% city food service tax for restaurants and caterers. The yearly sales tax collected is based on the expected tax. Contact the City of Boulder for information specific to your business. There is a one-time $25 fee for the license.

State Sales Tax License

Colorado Department of Revenue
1375 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2434
taxcolorado.com

If you sell tangible personal property to anyone in Colorado, you need to collect retail sales tax. (If the sale is made inside Boulder, you must also collect city sales tax). A retail sale is taxable unless what is being bought is to be resold or used to manufacture something else. Sales tax is not imposed on the sale of real property. As of January 2006, the Colorado sales and use tax is 2.9%. The state also collects the county (.65%) and RTD (1%) taxes. If you do not plan to request the Business Start-Up Kit from the Small Business Assistance Center, you may apply for your sales tax license at the local office in Denver. Contact the Colorado Department of Revenue for an updated schedule of fees and deposits.

Use Tax

This tax is a complement to the sales tax and is imposed on the storage, use or consumption of tangible personal property brought into Colorado on which sales tax has not been paid. The amount of tax is paid on the purchase price or fair market value. This tax is collected by the city (check with your local tax entity), county, or state. If you purchase tangible personal property when buying a business (furniture, fixtures, or equipment) and did not pay sales tax at the time of the sale, you as the purchaser are liable for the use tax.

Mileage and Fuel Tax

If you operate a truck exceeding 10,000 pounds empty weight, you will be required to apply for a Mileage and Fuel Tax Account. If you do not travel beyond a 25-mile radius of the city limits, you may apply for a metro plate at the county motor vehicle office rather than setting up a Gross Ton Mileage (GTM) Account. For further information, contact the Colorado Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division at 303-205-5600.

Employees--State and Federal Withholding, FICA & W-2

Employers are required to withhold an amount for the payment of state and federal income tax and FICA from the wages paid to their employees. Employers are further required to match their FICA payment and pay a State and Federal Unemployment Tax. It will cost an employer 12%-15% of the amount paid for wages to cover the various taxes and worker's compensation insurance even if he/she does not provide any additional benefits. These must be paid on all employees, full or part time, with the exception of independent contractors. It is necessary to fill out a W-2 form for each employee at the end of the year. Payroll services are available and recommended for any business with greater than one employee.

Independent Contractors

Both the IRS and the State of Colorado have tightened their rulings of who can be classified as an independent contractor. Generally, if a person is paid by the hour or day, and not by the job performed, requires a uniform, is furnished with tools of the trade, or is provided any supervision over the performance of the work, the chances are they are calssified as an employee and will be required to pay the tax. To be completely certain, contact the IRS, the State Employment Office and the State Department of Revenue. You must issue a form 1099 if your business is not registered as a corporation.

 

Federal Tax Assistance -- Small Business Tax Education Program

1-800-829-1040
www.irs.gov

The Internal Revenue Service's Small Business Tax Education Program (STEP) is a cooperative effort with local organizations to provide business tax education to the small business owner. 

 

Federal ID Numbers and Forms

If you request the Business Start-Up Kit from the Dept. of Regulatory Reform, you will receive form SS-4, otherwise it may be requested from the IRS. When you return this form, you will receive an employer ID number and be entered in the system that will send you all of the federal forms needed for payment of your federal employee taxes.

There are a number of forms that you will be receiving. You will give W-4 and I-9 forms to each employee to list the information you will need to determine the withholding amount. The deposit slips will be used to deposit federal withholding and FICA with local banks rather than waiting until the end of the quarter to send the money to the IRS. Form 941 is used each quarter to report your withholdings and FICA and form 940 is completed once a year for Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) and the State Unemployment Tax (SUTA), unless you owe more than $100 at the end of a calendar quarter. If so, you must file form 8109-B and pay at the time. 

At the end of each year, you will fill out a W-2 form for each employee, reporting their annual wages, withholdings and FICA. Form W-3 is used to transmit all of the W-2 information forms to the IRS. Consult your accountant, payroll specialist, or the State of Colorado Department of Revenue and Federal Internal Revenue Service for updated information. With any luck, your business will be so successful that you can turn all of this paperwork over to a bookkeeper, and you can be free for such things as running your business!

 

State Withholding

Colorado Department of Revenue
1375 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2416
www.taxcolorado.com

The State of Colorado requires that you withhold state income tax from all employees' wages. If you have ordered the Business Start-Up Kit you will receive the application and the withholding table. The blue tax application of the consolidated form can be used to apply for both sales tax license and withholding tax account. Typical withholding is approximately 5% of gross wages.

 

Personal Property Tax

Boulder County Treasurer Taxpayer Service Section 
County Courthouse 1325 Pearl Street, 1st Floor Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3520, Fax: 303-441-3598
www.co.boulder.co.us/treas

Mailing Address
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306

An Assessed value of 10% of the estimated market value is assigned to income producing tangible personal property. The mill levy of each taxing district is applied to the assessed value to result in personal property taxes due. Even though the value of your personal property is assessed in January, you are not mailed a tax bill until January the following year. If you purchase a business, you should contact the County Treasurer's Office to determine the status of the taxes. A search should be done by the name of the business and by the address. A tax search is important because unpaid personal property taxes are a lien against the property.

 

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Employer Regulations

 

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Unemployment Insurance

The Unemployment Insurance Fund is made up totally from money collected from employers. If you are subject to the Colorado Employment Security Act and your employees become unemployed through no fault of their own, they are entitled to compensation. The rate is variable.

Determining Liability

Federal: If you paid out wages of $1,500 or more, or if you had at least one employee for any part of a week in any of 20 different weeks during the year, you are subject to the tax. If you owe more than $100 at the end of the calendar quarter, you must file form 8109-B and pay it then. Otherwise, you must pay when filing for 940 annually. For more information call:

Internal Revenue Service
1-800-829-1040
www.irs.gov

State: When you pay any wage to any employee, you become liable under the Colorado Employment Security Act. The state requires that form CR 100 be completed after beginning business even though you may consider yourself not liable for unemployment insurance. State tax applies to the first $10,000 of wages paid to each employee per year. For more information contact:

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Division of Employment and Training
1515 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO 80202-2117
303-620-4700
www.coworkforce.com

Prior to the end of each quarter, you will receive the state unemployment tax form. It must be completed and returned prior to the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. You will need to show social security number, name and wages for each employee. Penalties assessed for late payments are $50 per report plus $50 for each quarter the report is late.

 

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Worker's Compensation

Pinnacol Assurance
7501 E Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230
303-361-4000
www.pinnacol.com

Pinnacol Assurance is an example of the many Worker's Compensation coverage companies in the Boulder area. Please contact your insurance agent for additional listings. All employers in Colorado are required to have worker's compensation coverage if they have any employees for any length of time. Corporate officers (owning 10% or more of corporate stock) who work actively in the business must be covered unless they elect to reject the coverage in writing. Sole proprietors and working partners must have the option of electing the coverage. Worker's compensation due to a job related injury or occupational disease must paid after the third day. All premium costs are to be made by the employer.

 

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Civil Rights and Employment Discrimination

Colorado Civil Rights Division
1560 Broadway, Ste. 1050, Denver, CO 80202
303-894-2997
www.dora.state.co.us/Civil-Rights

If you have any questions about civil rights or what might be employment discrimination, you may contact the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This Commission enforces all Colorado laws concerning individual rights and employment discrimination.

 

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State and Federal Wage and Hour Law

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
1515b Arapahoe, Tower 2, Ste. 400 Denver, CO 80202
303-318-8000, Fax: 303-318-8048
www.coworkforce.com

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
1-866-487-2365
www.dol.gov/

Nearly all manufactures, wholesalers, and contractors, and many retail and service businesses are subject to federal minimum wage, overtime and child labor requirements.

 

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Personal Property Declaration

Boulder County Assessor
County Courthouse
1325 Pearl St., 2nd Floor, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3530
www.co.boulder.co.us/assessor

Mailing Address
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306

Each year you must file a statement with the County Assessor regarding the original cost, year acquired, and description of your personal property (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) used in your business. If you have not received the form by the first week of February, you should contact the County Assessor's Office. The form must be filed no later than April 15th of each year. This serves as the basis for determining your assessed value. The person who owns the property at midnight on January 1st of any given year is liable for the assessment for the entire year. The Assessor's Office does not prorate the assessment. If you wish to protest the assessed valuation of the property, this must be done between June 15th and 30th at the assessor's office.

 

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Vehicle Use in Your Business

Colorado Driver's License, Boulder Office
2850 Iris Ave., Boulder, CO 80301
303-442-3006

If your vehicle is used for commercial purposes in your business, it requires a commercial vehicle license. A commercial driver's license is required if gross vehicle weight is 26,001 lbs. or higher. Otherwise the vehicle may be operated with a normal operator's license. The Colorado State Highway Department regulates the size and weight of vehicles operating on Colorado highways.

Resource Guide

This guide has been designed to help you start a business in and/or around Boulder, Colorado. It includes information on licenses, permits, applications, and other details necessary to begin a business. Keep in mind that this guide only serves as a reference. As a first step, please complete the following "New Business Checklist".

The information contained in this guide is for informational purposes only and the lists of references are not exhaustive. Specific questions regarding legal, accounting, financial, business, etc. issues shoulde be directed to a professional.

Table of Contents

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New Business Checklist

Please answer "YES" or "NO" in response to the following:

____ Written a description of the products and/or services that you will be providing, and you have defined the market area you are going to serve.

____ Written a business plan, defining both your short range and long range goals and objectives.

____ Written financial plan, including projected profit and loss statements and cash flow statements, for a period of at least two years for each of three cases your expected case, the best case and the worst case.

____ Outlined the money requirements for your start up costs and for your three cash flow projections, and secured financial backing to cover the worst case projection for at least two years.

____ Studied your market, checked zoning regulations and state and local licensing requirements, and found a good location for your business.

____ Developed a marketing plan and budget.

____ Decided on the type of business you will operate - sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.

____ Acquired and sought advice from an attorney, an accountant, a banker, and an insurance agent, for your business.

If you answered "NO" to any of the above...then you are not ready to start your business.

Get furtherhelp developing your business plan--call the Boulder Chamber's Small Business Development Center at 303-442-1475

 

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Resource List

1 - Boulder Small Business Development Center

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-1475 - www.bouldersbdc.com

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a joint venture between the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, The Small Business Administration and the State of Colorado. The goal is to provide assistance via training, research and free counseling to small business owners and those who are starting small businesses in the Boulder area. SBDC clients do not have to be members of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.

Programs/Services:

  • Free individual counseling to small business owners on start-up issues, business plans, legal, accounting, marketing topics, human resources, operations, and financing.
  • Low cost classes and seminars on a variety of subjects related to starting and running a small business.
  • Guidance on financing sources available in the Boulder area.
  • Research assistance for entrepreneurs in assessing the feasibility and market potential of their ventures.
  • Referrals to local experts in a variety of areas including law, accounting, marketing, real estate services and others.

 

2 - Boulder Chamber of Commerce

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-1044 - www.boulderchamber.com

The Boulder Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization dedicated to maintaining a healthy and balanced business climate in the Boulder region. It is the leading advocate for small businesses on public policy issues, as well as a forum for networking, education, and promotion.

Programs/Services:

  • Educational programs and seminars
  • A variety of networking and social events
  • Member-led training seminars
  • Tradeshows
  • Advertising and promotional exposure
  • Leads groups and prospecting
  • Numerous volunteer and leadership opportunities

 

3 - Business Library--Boulder Public Library

1000 Canyon Blvd--Boulder, CO 80302
Mailing: PO Box Drawer H--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 441-3194 - www.boulder.lib.co.us

The Boulder Public Library provides hundreds of resources for start-up or existing businesses - everything from industry trends to specifics on marketing, accounting, etc. Reference librarians are always available and willing to help you begin your research.

 

4 - City of Boulder--Transportation Department

Park Central Building
1739 Broadway--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 441-3266 fax (303) 441-4271
www.ci.boulder.co.us/publicworks/depts/transportation.html

The traffic count for a specific street or intersection can be useful in making the difficult decision of where to locate your business. The Transporatation Department knows the roads and offers facts that can be crucial to your potential success.

 

5 - Downtown Boulder, Inc.

Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District
1942 Broadway, Suite 301--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 449-3774--www.boulderdowntown.com

The Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District (BID) is a 49 block neighborhood where property owners tax themselves to make their community cleaner, safer, and more vibrant. The tax is used by the BID to purchase services that supplement those provided by the city and provide a comprehensive consumer marketing program.

 

6 - CU Business Library--University of Colorado

Business Building 341--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 492-8367--http://www-libraries.colorado.edu/

The CU Business Library is a great resource for study and research materials for management and administration, accounting, advertising, banking, finance, small business and entrepreneurship, marketing, real estate, and transportation.

 

7 - Downtown Management Commission & University Hill General Improvement District

1500 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 413-7300--www.ci.boulder.co.us

The Downtown Management Commission was established to create one cohesive commission that manages the Pearl Street Mall and the Central Area General Improvement District (CAGID). The five-member commission is appointed by City Counciil. They meet monthly with their director and staff to review CAGID's policies, programs, and operations.

The University Hill General Improvement District began in 1970 to provide parking and maintenance. Duties were later expanded to include pedestrian, bicycle, mass transit, and aesthetic improvements.

 

8 - Boulder Innovation Center

1900 15th Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-2111--http://www.boulderinnovationcenter.com/

The Boulder Innovation Center (BIC) is a virtual business incubator dedicated to launching and growing entrepreneurial ventures in Boulder. The BIC is a partnership between the City of Boulder, Boulder Economic Council, University of Colorado, and the private sector.

Programs/Services:

  • Education
  • Mentoring and consulting
  • Business Plan Reviews
  • Capital programs

 

9 - Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology

PO Box 1159--Boulder, CO 80306
(303) 981-7101

The mission of the Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) is to assist manufacturers through consulting, training, export assistance, and improved technology. The CAMT has helped hundreds of manufacturing clients over the years.

Programs/Services:

  • On-site training and workshops
  • Technology commercialization
  • Productivity consulting
  • Entrepreneurial support
  • Product innovation

 

10 - Boulder Economic Council

2440 Pearl Street--Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 786-7867--www.boulderbusiness.org

The Boulder Economic Council is the community's economic development organization --supporting entrepreneurs and exisitng Boulder company's, as well as encouraging companies to relocate to the Boulder area. The council works closely with the city, the University, and the business community in pursuit of its mission.

Programs/Services:

  • Support of industry clusters in the natural products, high tech and creative class sectors.
  • Advocacy efforts with City Council and staff to promote the interests of the business community
  • Information resources for local companies and those considering relocation
  • Funding for business support programs including the SBDC and Boulder Innovation Center

 

 

11 - Denver Public Library

10 West 14th Ave Parkway
Denver, Colorado 80204
(720) 865-1111 http://denverlibrary.org/

Information on all existing patents can be found in the Business and Government Documents Section of the Denver Public Library

 

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Web Resources

 

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Government Regulations

 

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Facilities

City of Boulder Zoning and Land Use Regulations
1739 Broadway--Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3270 fax 303-441-3241
www.ci.boulder.co.us/pwrplan/index.htm

Mailing Address
City of Boulder PLanning and Development
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

Before you select a location for your business, you must make sure that the location has the zoning that your business needs. Zoning information may be obtained from the Planning & Development Department. They will be able to tell you what the zoning regulations are for your particular business. They also have zoning maps available for your review.

If the location that you have selected does not have the proper zoning for your type of business, the Planning Department will discuss with you the possibilities of obtaining a re-zoning, and can help you with processing an application.

 

Boulder County Land Use Department 
2045 13th St., Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-3930, Fax: 303-441-4856 
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
Boulder County Land Use Department
PO Box 471--Boulder, CO 80306

Zoning information (land use regulations) can be obtained from the Boulder County Land Use Department. Zoning maps and regulations are available for inspection or purchase. You may also call the office for zoning and/or land use regulations for a specific property by providing a legal description of the property. If you do not have a legal description, the assessor's office can provide you with one from the assessor's parcel number or address.

 

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Signage

City of Boulder Planning & Development 
1739 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-3270, Fax: 303-441-3241 
www.ci.boulder.co.us/pwplan/index.htm

Mailing Address
City of Boulder Planning and Development
PO Box 791 Boulder, CO 80306

The Planning & Development Department administers signage regulations. A copy of the regulations is available with a full explanation of what is allowed. A sign plan must be submitted and approved prior to being presented to the Building Department for approval of the construction. Permits are also needed for some signs painted on windows. You may change the copy or message on a legally established sign without a sign permit.

 

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Building Changes

City of Boulder Building Inspection and Licensing Program
1739 Broadway, Ste. 406, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3280
www.ci.boulder.co.us/buildingservices/inspection/building/about.htm

A licensed contractor must perform any changes to a commercial building that affect it structurally. This is also true for changes in electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and elevators. While they cannot recommend any particular contractor, the Building and Inspection Department does have a list of all contractors licensed by the city.

Before you lease or purchase
Any offer to lease or purchase should be contingent upon the premises meeting the uniform building code, the fire code or any special codes that govern your particular business (e.g., health codes). Codes change, and a change of occupancy or ownership may require that the premises be brought up to the current codes.

Businesses may wish to work with a design professional knowledgable about the codes to assure that the code requirements are met. Before you purchase a business with personal property (furniture, fixtures or equipment), be sure to check for unpaid personal property taxes at the County Treasurer's Office.

 

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Smoke or Air Pollution

Air Quality Control Division 
700 South Ash 
Glendale, CO
303-692-3100, Fax: 303-782-0278
www.cdphe.state.co.us

Mailing Address
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246

The Air Quality Control Division of the Colorado State Health Department reviews plans for land development, new construction and industrial and manufacturing activities for anything that might have the potential to emit air pollution.

 

Environmental Programs

  • Air Pollution Emission Notice (ASPEN) Forms--303-692-3100
  • Clean Air Small Business Assistance Program--303-692-3100
  • CDH Hazardous Waste Division--303-692-3300
  • CDH Water Quality Division--303-692-3500
  • Office of Pollution Prevention--303-692-2977

 

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Streets and Sidewalks

City of Boulder Street Maintenance 
5050 E. Pearl St. 
Boulder, CO 80301 
303-413-7162, Fax: 303-413-7160 
www.ci.boulder.co.us/publicworks/depts/transportation.html

City of Boulder Development
1739 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3240 fax 303-441-3241

It is the responsibility of each property owner to maintain the area between the curb and the property line, including reconstruction, snow removal and general maintenance. 

Permits for private uses of public streets and ways (sidewalks) are classified as revocable permits, and applicants should contact Development and Inspection Services.

 

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Telephone

Qwest Communications
Home office needs: 1-800-898-9675
Business needs: 1-800-603-6000
www.qwest.com

Qwest Communications provides the local telephone service in Boulder. If you are planning to open your business after the cut-off date for getting into the new telephone book, reserve your telephone number ahead of the actual installation of the phones.

 

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Utilities

Water, wastewater and sewage maintenance is city-owned and operated. Applications need to be signed in person on new commercial accounts. If you do not have a credit history with the city, you may be required to put up a deposit or letter of credit. Applications for new connections are made at the Planning and Development Department at 303-441-3270. You may also contact the following with any questions:

  • City of Boulder Public Works -- 303-441-3200
  • Water or Wastewater -- 303-441-3240
  • Sewer Maintenance -- 303-413-7162 
  • Billing or Record changes -- 303-441-3260
  • Electric or Gas Service - Public Service Company of Colorad/Excel Energy -- 800-772-7858

 

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Fire Inspection

City of Boulder Fire Administration
1805 33rd Street, Boulder, CO 80301
303-441-3350, Fax: 303-441-4350
www.ci.boulder.co.us/fire

The Boulder Fire Department inspects all commercial occupancies at least once a year to assure compliance with fire codes. It also makes inspections for special city licenses that require fire department approval as part of the licensing procedure. Any lease or purchase of a business should be contingent upon the building or space meeting the current fire codes. To ensure that your business is in compliance with fire codes, you must contact the Fire Department. There is no charge for the inspection.

 

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Noise Abatement

The intermittence, beat, frequency and shrillness of noise is regulated under the Department of Health noise control regulation.

For information regarding a current noise issue, contact the City of Boulder Environmental Enforcement at 303-441-3239.

For information regarding noise issues and employee concerns, contact OSHA at 303-844-5285

 

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Trash Collection

Trash and garbage collection is a private industry in Boulder. Service choices are listed in the Yellow Pages of your telephone book under Garbage Collection.

 

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Smoking in Public Places

City of Boulder Environmental Enforcement Office
3450 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
303-441-3239 Fax: 303-441-1468

The City of Boulder prohibits smoking in buildings open to the public or serving as places of work, except in certain buildings or parts of buildings deemed allowable by City Council. Call the EEO for more information.

 

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Registering Your Business Name

Colorado State Government General Information
303-866-5000
www.colorado.gov

Colorado Department of Revenue--Trade Name Information
1375 Sherman Street, Room 160
Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2434
www.businesstax.state.co.us

Secretary of State, Corporations Division
1700 Broadway, Suite 200, Denver CO 80290
303-894-2251 fax 303-894-2242 (Fax)
www.sos.state.co.us

Whether you have decided to operate your business as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or corporation, or if you plan to operate your business with a trade name other than your own legal name or the true name of the corporation, you must register with the Colorado Department of Revenue. As a limited liability partnership, corporation or LLC you are required to register the name with the Secretary of State, Corporations Division. They will do a name check for you via fax. Check with the Secretary of State's office for current costs on applying for your business name.

If you are applying for a sales tax license, you will register your trade name on the same form. Check with the Secretary of State's office for current costs on applying for your license. Recording does not protect the name but only gives notice to the public that you are the person doing business under that name. The name you are planning to use must be checked to make sure that it is not already being used before it may be recorded. If you will be doing business as a sole proprietor, general partnership, or association you can conduct a name search by calling the Department of Revenue at 303-232-2434. 

 

Registering as a Foreign Corporation

Filing your corporate name in this state does not give you the right to do business in another state and does not mean that your name is not already used in another state. You must register as a foreign corporation in every state in which you plan to do business, or register nationally. It is recommended that you consult an attorney if you plan to do business in more than one state or nationally and that an attorney be consulted for the preparation of your articles of incorporation. If you wish to check other states to see if your name is being used, a list of the addresses of the Secretary of State for every state is available at the reference desk at the public library.

 

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City Business Licenses

Before opening any business, contact:
City of Boulder City Clerk's Office
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor
Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3042
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

The city requires a special license if you are operating any one of several different businesses. The fees vary as to the type of license. Examples of businesses that must be licensed include, but are not limited to:

Amusements, Taxi Drivers, Food Service Establishments, Junk Dealers, Public Dances with Alcohol, Second Hand Dealers, Pawnbrokers, Restaurants

 

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Environmental Issues

Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE)
P.O. Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306
303-786-7223
http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/www/pace/index.html

The Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) program is a voluntary, non-regulatory program in cooperation with the City of Boulder Office of Environmental Affairs, Boulder Public Health, City of Longmont, Town of Superior and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Businesses Involving Food

Boulder County Health and Environmental Health
3450 N. Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
303-441-1150, Fax: 303-441-1468
http://www.co.boulder.co.us/health/environ/foodsafety/businessinfo/planreview.htm

Any business involving food must contact the Boulder County Health Department with a set of plans and specifications regarding the type of food operation. Your business must be inspected prior to opening or with a change of ownership. When you sign a lease or if you are purchasing a business, such as a restaurant, the lease or purchase contract should be contingent upon the physical facilities and equipment meeting regional health codes.

This department is in charge of the following areas:

  • Restaurant and food services
  • Water pollution control
  • Water quality
  • Insect and rodent controlWater quality 
  • Mobile home parks
  • Kennel & pet shops 
  • Hazardous substances
  • Schools 
  • Child care 
  • Public swimming pools 
  • Subdivision review 
  • Milk inspection
  • Housing code enforcement
  • Environmental protection

The Health Department must approve all plans for construction or remodel in which any of the above businesses are involved before construction may begin.

 

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Businesses Involving Liquor

City of Boulder Deputy City Clerk 
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor, Boulder, CO 80302 
303-441-4192, Fax: 303-441-4478 
www.ci.boulder.co.us

Mailing Address
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

Obtaining a Liquor License in Colorado can be a detailed process. Anyone not familiar with the Liquor Laws of Colorado should consult with an attorney prior to applying for a license. If you are denied on "needs and desires" you cannot reapply for a license for the same location for two years. There is both a state and city license required. The entire licensing process begins with the Local Liquor License Authority.

 

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Occupations Requiring State Licensing


The following occupations require a license, examination and/or approval from the appropriate state agency before you may open for business. The Department of Regulatory Agencies can help you with detailed information regarding a particular license. Please call (303) 894-7855.

 

 
  • Accountants (CPAs)
  • Auto Dealers
  • Architects
  • Attorneys
  • Banking
  • Barbers
  • Butchers & Slaughterers
  • Carnivals & Amusement Parks
  • Cemeteries
  • Coal Mine Officials
  • Childcare
  • Chiropractors
  • Collection Agencies
  • Cosmetologists
  • Construction of School Bldgs.
  • Consumer Lenders
  • Dairy Product Handling
  • Dentists
  • Driving Schools
  • Egg Dealers
  • Electricians
  • Explosives
  • Farm Product & Feed Dealers
  • Fertilizer Applicators
  • Fireworks
  • Frozen Food & Game Proc.
  • Insurance
  • Hearing Aid Dealers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Life Care Institutions
  • Liquor Sales
  • Medical Doctors
 
  • Messenger & Delivery Services
  • Milk Handling
  • Mobile Home Dealers
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations
  • Notaries Public
  • Nurseries & Greenhouses
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administration
  • Occupational Schools
  • Optometrists
  • Outdoor Advertising
  • Passenger Tramways
  • Pesticide Applicators
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians
  • Plumbers
  • Poultry Dealers
  • Professional Engineers
  • Psychologists
  • Racing Events
  • Real Estate
  • Savings & Loans
  • Scale Licenses
  • Securities
  • Social Workers
  • Taxis
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Trucking (Interstate)
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Water Well Drilling
  • Wildlife, Fishing & Hunting Areas

 

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Protecting Intellectual Property

 

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Patents/Trademarks

Colorado Secretary of State
Corporations Division
1700 Broadway Denver, CO 80290

Business and Administration development/resource-guide#200 Licensing: Suite 300
Elections: Suite 270 Information Technology: Suite 350
303-894-2251
www.sos.state.co.us

 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - General Information Services Division
Crystal Plaza 3, Room 2CO2, Washington, D.C. 20231
1-800-786-9199

 

For US Trademark Law--Rules of Practice & Federal Statutes:
www.uspto.gov

In Colorado you may not register a trademark until you have actually used it in your business. On the federal level you may register a trademark prior to actual use; however, it will require additional paperwork and fees when it is placed into use. Trademarks are registered with the Colorado Secretary of State if your mark is used in Colorado. If your trademark will be used in more than one state, it may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is possible to search trademark availability using the Internet; however, an Internet search is not conclusive.

 

U.S. Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks
1-800-786-9199
Call before 3:00 p.m. MST
www.uspto.gov/

A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the government to the inventor (or his or her heirs or assigns), acting through the Patent and Trademark Office. A patent may be granted for any machine, process, composition or material or design that is novel, non-obvious and useful. Before requesting a patent, you must search the list of existing patents to see if someone else already has one registered on your invention.The Denver Public Library, Business and Government Documents Section has lists of all existing patents. Only attorneys or agents registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may process patent applications. You may receive an application form by contacting the U.S. Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks.

 

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Tax Information

If you are selling, leasing or renting tangible personal products to the public you probably will be required to collect sales tax. Thus, you must obtain both a State and City Sales Tax License.

City Sales Tax License

City of Boulder Sales Tax Division
1777 Broadway, 1st Floor, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3050
www.ci.boulder.co.us/finance/index.htm
Mailing address: P.O. Box 791, Boulder, CO 80306-0791

As of January 2004, the amount of city sales tax is currently 3.41% of the sales price for most retail sales. There is an additional 0.15% city food service tax for restaurants and caterers. The yearly sales tax collected is based on the expected tax. Contact the City of Boulder for information specific to your business. There is a one-time $25 fee for the license.

State Sales Tax License

Colorado Department of Revenue
1375 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2434
taxcolorado.com

If you sell tangible personal property to anyone in Colorado, you need to collect retail sales tax. (If the sale is made inside Boulder, you must also collect city sales tax). A retail sale is taxable unless what is being bought is to be resold or used to manufacture something else. Sales tax is not imposed on the sale of real property. As of January 2006, the Colorado sales and use tax is 2.9%. The state also collects the county (.65%) and RTD (1%) taxes. If you do not plan to request the Business Start-Up Kit from the Small Business Assistance Center, you may apply for your sales tax license at the local office in Denver. Contact the Colorado Department of Revenue for an updated schedule of fees and deposits.

Use Tax

This tax is a complement to the sales tax and is imposed on the storage, use or consumption of tangible personal property brought into Colorado on which sales tax has not been paid. The amount of tax is paid on the purchase price or fair market value. This tax is collected by the city (check with your local tax entity), county, or state. If you purchase tangible personal property when buying a business (furniture, fixtures, or equipment) and did not pay sales tax at the time of the sale, you as the purchaser are liable for the use tax.

Mileage and Fuel Tax

If you operate a truck exceeding 10,000 pounds empty weight, you will be required to apply for a Mileage and Fuel Tax Account. If you do not travel beyond a 25-mile radius of the city limits, you may apply for a metro plate at the county motor vehicle office rather than setting up a Gross Ton Mileage (GTM) Account. For further information, contact the Colorado Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division at 303-205-5600.

Employees--State and Federal Withholding, FICA & W-2

Employers are required to withhold an amount for the payment of state and federal income tax and FICA from the wages paid to their employees. Employers are further required to match their FICA payment and pay a State and Federal Unemployment Tax. It will cost an employer 12%-15% of the amount paid for wages to cover the various taxes and worker's compensation insurance even if he/she does not provide any additional benefits. These must be paid on all employees, full or part time, with the exception of independent contractors. It is necessary to fill out a W-2 form for each employee at the end of the year. Payroll services are available and recommended for any business with greater than one employee.

Independent Contractors

Both the IRS and the State of Colorado have tightened their rulings of who can be classified as an independent contractor. Generally, if a person is paid by the hour or day, and not by the job performed, requires a uniform, is furnished with tools of the trade, or is provided any supervision over the performance of the work, the chances are they are calssified as an employee and will be required to pay the tax. To be completely certain, contact the IRS, the State Employment Office and the State Department of Revenue. You must issue a form 1099 if your business is not registered as a corporation.

 

Federal Tax Assistance -- Small Business Tax Education Program

1-800-829-1040
www.irs.gov

The Internal Revenue Service's Small Business Tax Education Program (STEP) is a cooperative effort with local organizations to provide business tax education to the small business owner. 

 

Federal ID Numbers and Forms

If you request the Business Start-Up Kit from the Dept. of Regulatory Reform, you will receive form SS-4, otherwise it may be requested from the IRS. When you return this form, you will receive an employer ID number and be entered in the system that will send you all of the federal forms needed for payment of your federal employee taxes.

There are a number of forms that you will be receiving. You will give W-4 and I-9 forms to each employee to list the information you will need to determine the withholding amount. The deposit slips will be used to deposit federal withholding and FICA with local banks rather than waiting until the end of the quarter to send the money to the IRS. Form 941 is used each quarter to report your withholdings and FICA and form 940 is completed once a year for Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) and the State Unemployment Tax (SUTA), unless you owe more than $100 at the end of a calendar quarter. If so, you must file form 8109-B and pay at the time. 

At the end of each year, you will fill out a W-2 form for each employee, reporting their annual wages, withholdings and FICA. Form W-3 is used to transmit all of the W-2 information forms to the IRS. Consult your accountant, payroll specialist, or the State of Colorado Department of Revenue and Federal Internal Revenue Service for updated information. With any luck, your business will be so successful that you can turn all of this paperwork over to a bookkeeper, and you can be free for such things as running your business!

 

State Withholding

Colorado Department of Revenue
1375 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80261
303-232-2416
www.taxcolorado.com

The State of Colorado requires that you withhold state income tax from all employees' wages. If you have ordered the Business Start-Up Kit you will receive the application and the withholding table. The blue tax application of the consolidated form can be used to apply for both sales tax license and withholding tax account. Typical withholding is approximately 5% of gross wages.

 

Personal Property Tax

Boulder County Treasurer Taxpayer Service Section 
County Courthouse 1325 Pearl Street, 1st Floor Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3520, Fax: 303-441-3598
www.co.boulder.co.us/treas

Mailing Address
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306

An Assessed value of 10% of the estimated market value is assigned to income producing tangible personal property. The mill levy of each taxing district is applied to the assessed value to result in personal property taxes due. Even though the value of your personal property is assessed in January, you are not mailed a tax bill until January the following year. If you purchase a business, you should contact the County Treasurer's Office to determine the status of the taxes. A search should be done by the name of the business and by the address. A tax search is important because unpaid personal property taxes are a lien against the property.

 

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Employer Regulations

 

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Unemployment Insurance

The Unemployment Insurance Fund is made up totally from money collected from employers. If you are subject to the Colorado Employment Security Act and your employees become unemployed through no fault of their own, they are entitled to compensation. The rate is variable.

Determining Liability

Federal: If you paid out wages of $1,500 or more, or if you had at least one employee for any part of a week in any of 20 different weeks during the year, you are subject to the tax. If you owe more than $100 at the end of the calendar quarter, you must file form 8109-B and pay it then. Otherwise, you must pay when filing for 940 annually. For more information call:

Internal Revenue Service
1-800-829-1040
www.irs.gov

State: When you pay any wage to any employee, you become liable under the Colorado Employment Security Act. The state requires that form CR 100 be completed after beginning business even though you may consider yourself not liable for unemployment insurance. State tax applies to the first $10,000 of wages paid to each employee per year. For more information contact:

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Division of Employment and Training
1515 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO 80202-2117
303-620-4700
www.coworkforce.com

Prior to the end of each quarter, you will receive the state unemployment tax form. It must be completed and returned prior to the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. You will need to show social security number, name and wages for each employee. Penalties assessed for late payments are $50 per report plus $50 for each quarter the report is late.

 

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Worker's Compensation

Pinnacol Assurance
7501 E Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230
303-361-4000
www.pinnacol.com

Pinnacol Assurance is an example of the many Worker's Compensation coverage companies in the Boulder area. Please contact your insurance agent for additional listings. All employers in Colorado are required to have worker's compensation coverage if they have any employees for any length of time. Corporate officers (owning 10% or more of corporate stock) who work actively in the business must be covered unless they elect to reject the coverage in writing. Sole proprietors and working partners must have the option of electing the coverage. Worker's compensation due to a job related injury or occupational disease must paid after the third day. All premium costs are to be made by the employer.

 

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Civil Rights and Employment Discrimination

Colorado Civil Rights Division
1560 Broadway, Ste. 1050, Denver, CO 80202
303-894-2997
www.dora.state.co.us/Civil-Rights

If you have any questions about civil rights or what might be employment discrimination, you may contact the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This Commission enforces all Colorado laws concerning individual rights and employment discrimination.

 

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State and Federal Wage and Hour Law

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
1515b Arapahoe, Tower 2, Ste. 400 Denver, CO 80202
303-318-8000, Fax: 303-318-8048
www.coworkforce.com

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
1-866-487-2365
www.dol.gov/

Nearly all manufactures, wholesalers, and contractors, and many retail and service businesses are subject to federal minimum wage, overtime and child labor requirements.

 

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Personal Property Declaration

Boulder County Assessor
County Courthouse
1325 Pearl St., 2nd Floor, Boulder, CO 80302
303-441-3530
www.co.boulder.co.us/assessor

Mailing Address
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306

Each year you must file a statement with the County Assessor regarding the original cost, year acquired, and description of your personal property (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) used in your business. If you have not received the form by the first week of February, you should contact the County Assessor's Office. The form must be filed no later than April 15th of each year. This serves as the basis for determining your assessed value. The person who owns the property at midnight on January 1st of any given year is liable for the assessment for the entire year. The Assessor's Office does not prorate the assessment. If you wish to protest the assessed valuation of the property, this must be done between June 15th and 30th at the assessor's office.

 

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Flood Management / Flash Flood Procedures & Info

Boulder Office of Emergency Management
3280 Airport Road
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 441-3390 main
(303) 441-3884 fax
www.boulderoem.com

Download a copy of these procedures: Click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY SAFE

Be alert during severe thunderstorms and other hazardous events.  Flash flooding can occur within minutes. Be ready to evacuate low-lying areas.
 
Sign up to get emergency alerts sent to you on your phone, email or Twitter account at www.BoCo911Alert.com.

Develop a Family Flood Action Plan and communication strategy with your family at home before a flood or other hazardous event occurs.

Avoid driving a vehicle through flood waters. It only takes 18 inches of water for a car to float. Half of all flood-related fatalities are auto related.

You may be tempted to cross flooded waterways in order to respond to family or other personal concerns. Taking such risks will not improve the safety or welfare of loved ones if you end up injured or worse. Your family and friends want you home safely, even if that means arriving later.

FLOODS AT WORK
 
Develop a Flood Action Plan and communication strategy with your coworkers before a flood or other hazardous event occurs.

Familiarize yourself with your workplace’s response plan and with your workplace’s designated evacuation check-in site.

When an order to evacuate is given, move to high ground immediately and get out of harm’s way. Do NOT cross creeks or bridges. If you are on the north side of Boulder Creek, go north.  If you are on the south side, go south.

All employees should contact their supervisors within two hours following a workplace evacuation to verify that all staff members are accounted for or to provide an update on what is being done to contact those who have not checked in.

It is critical that employees have a Family Flood Action Plan established before a flood occurs so that they do not have to worry about their families if they cannot get home right away.

HOW WILL YOU KNOW?

Sign up to get emergency alerts sent to you on your phone, email or Twitter account at www.BoCo911Alert.com.

The outdoor warning sirens are tested on the first Monday of each month between April and September at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.  If you hear an outdoor warning siren at any other time, tune to local media stations for more information, and go to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM) website at www.boulderoem.com > “Emergency Status” for updates on emergency events in Boulder County as they are occurring.

If you are working in an office building after hours or on weekends and you are in a flood-prone area, pay attention to the weather forecast and alerts on local media.
 
You can also follow Boulder OEM on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Follow #boulderflood Twitter feed. This feed is also auto-populated on the city’s www.boulderfloodinfo.net website.

Additional flood safety information is available at www.boulderfloodinfo.net.

Click  to find out why you should locate in Downtown Boulder

 

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