The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is warning small business owners to look out for deceptive notices seeking an extra fee to file business documents.
“As the year comes to a close, our office has seen an increase in third parties trying to gain profit off of misleading and unnecessary solicitations to business owners,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
The newest versions of these solicitations offer to obtain a “Certificate of Good Standing” or a “Certificate of Existence” from the Secretary of State’s office for a fee. However, any business can currently download these certificates for free from the Secretary of State website.
“The Colorado Secretary of State’s office takes pride in having an easy-to-use and affordable business filing system, which is why we are alerting business owners about these dubious solicitations,” Griswold said.
Find an example of the latest type of misleading notice here.
The Secretary of State maintains an online filing system for businesses, and third parties are not needed to complete filings.
Other misleading solicitations may:
- appear similar to a government form
- cite specific Colorado statutes
- contain your business entity’s actual business ID number and date of formation, as reflected in the Secretary of State’s business records
- contain a “Customer ID Number” that does not match a number given to you by a State or Federal Agency
- contain a warning to make sure that the form’s instructions are followed exactly when completing the form
- require a fee
- contain a due date for your response
- offer to file a “Statement Curing Delinquency” or “Periodic Report”
“Please be advised that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office does not send these solicitations,” the Secretary of State’s statement said. “The Secretary of State’s office does not mail out business filing forms, and compliance with these notices is not required.”
All business filings are filed online, and business owners can find instructions to easily and directly file business forms on the Secretary of State’s website under the Business Organizations heading.
In order to receive advance notice of when Periodic Reports, Trademark renewals, or Trade Name renewals are due, business owners can sign up online for free email notifications. Business owners can also visit www.sos.state.co.us to verify their business status, file a form or obtain a free certification.
The Secretary of State posts alerts and notices about misleading filings here: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/business/alert_notices.html.