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Start a Business

What to do first!

Decide the legal structure of your business, choose a business name and register your business with the appropriate state & federal agencies.  Sole Proprietors, General Partnerships, and Unincorporated Non-Profit Associations register with the Department of Revenue.  All other forms of legal structure file with the Secretary of State.  Refer to the Legal Structures guide contained elsewhere in this information.

If your business will have employees, you must open federal and state wage withholding and payroll tax accounts.

If your business will be selling, renting or leasing tangible personal property, you must obtain state and local sales tax licenses.

Check with the city and county government regarding any special business regulations, sales taxes, personal property taxes and zoning restrictions affecting your business.

1. Registering the Name

Whether you have decided to operate your business as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or a 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 Department of Revenue.  As a limited partnership or corporation, you are required to register the name with the Secretary of State, Corporations Division.

Colorado Department of Revenue 

1375 Sherman
Denver, CO  80261

Colorado Secretary of State

1560 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO  80202

2. State and Federal Forms

Go online: 

3. City Sales Tax and Licensing

If you are selling, leasing or renting tangible personal products to the public, you are probably required to collect sales tax.  You must obtain both a City and State Sales Tax License and a General Business License.  Contact the City of Lafayette, Finance Department, 303-665-5588, Option 1 for a for a sales/business tax license. City of Lafayette website:

The amount of Lafayette City Sales Tax is 8.855%, broken down as follows:

City of Lafayette   3.87%

State of Colorado  2.90%

Regional Transportation/County Taxes  1.00%

Boulder County  .985%

Cultural District  0.1%

TOTAL  8.855%

4. Zoning and Land Use Regulations

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

City of Lafayette Planning Department

1290 S. Public Road
Lafayette, CO  80026

Boulder County Land Use Department

2040 14th Street
Boulder, CO  80302

5. Signage

The Planning Department administers sign regulations.  All sign plans must be submitted and approved prior to being presented to the Building Division for approval of the construction.  Contact the City of Lafayette—Planning and Building Dept., 303-661-1270.

6. Before Leasing or Purchasing

Any offer to lease or purchase should be contingent on the premises meeting Uniform Building Code, Fire Code, and any special codes, which govern your business.

Before you purchase a building with personal property (furniture, fixtures or equipment), be sure to check for unpaid personal property taxes at the County Treasurer’s Office at 303-441-3520 or

7. Building Changes

A licensed contractor must do any changes to a commercial building that affect it structurally.  This is true for changes in electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning.  Contact the City of Lafayette Planning Department, 303-661-1270.

8. Businesses Involving Food

Any business involving food must contact: Boulder County Health Department
3450 Broadway, Boulder, CO  80304 303-441-1192

Where to go for advice

This booklet has a wealth of information that should assist you with starting your own business.  However, you may have some additional questions before you begin.  Feel free to contact any of the following for more information:


Lafayette Chamber of Commerce
304 W. Baseline Rd.
Lafayette, CO  80026
303-666-9555 or

The Chamber of Commerce wants to see all businesses succeed and prosper.  It is beneficial for you, the owner, and for the community.  Call the Chamber for membership information, suggestions on how to introduce your business to the community, and ideas on how to grow with Lafayette.

Small Business Development Center
Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, CO  80302
Front Range Community College Office—3645 W. 112th Ave., Westminster, CO  80030

The SBDC offers ongoing one-on-one counseling sessions with a qualified business consultant.  In addition, start-up workshops, seminars and classes are offered on a continuous basis.

Small Business Resource Hotline 303-592-5920

This hotline will connect you with an "expert" and a free, 30 minute consultation.  Areas of expertise include marketing/sales, legal, personnel/human resources, finance, accounting, management, computer assistance, and more.

Small Business Administration (SBA)
721 19th Street, Room 426
Denver, CO  80202

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