Doing business in Colorado requires compliance with a variety of federal, state, and local regulations. To help business owners understand the requirements, here is a checklist of general issues to consider when setting up a shop. It is essential to note that some of these items may not be applicable to your particular business or situation, and there may be other considerations that are not listed here. To legally operate in the city and county of Denver, you may need to obtain a special business license or permit.
To find out what type of permit or license you need, visit the Denver Business License Center page or send them an email. For state-level licenses and permits, contact the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Most business licenses are issued by state or local governments. DORA oversees and regulates 135 industries, including electrical contractors, real estate brokers, pet groomers (regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture), car dealerships (regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue), health centers (regulated by the Department of Public Health and Environment), and alcoholic beverage licenses (issued at the state and local levels).
It is also important to consider your intellectual property rights, which may be better protected at the federal level. Colorado law requires covered entities that suffer from a data breach to notify affected Coloradans and to notify the Office of the Attorney General if the breach affects 500 or more Coloradans. The Colorado Privacy Act applies to “controllers” who conduct business in Colorado or produce or deliver commercial products or services that are intentionally aimed at Colorado residents and who control or process the personal data of 100,000 or more consumers during a calendar year or earn income or receive a discount on the price of goods or services from the sale of personal data and process or control the personal data of 25,000 or more consumers. If the covered entity notifies 500 or more Colorado residents, it must also notify the Colorado Attorney General's office.
Personal information includes usernames/email addresses in combination with passwords/security questions/answers that allow access to an online account, as well as account numbers/credit/debit card numbers in combination with any security codes/access codes/passwords required for access. The Colorado Privacy Act applies to any person, business entity, or governmental entity that maintains, holds, or grants PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or IP (Intellectual Property) licenses to Colorado residents in the course of their business, vocation, or occupation. The Patent and Trademark Office provides more rights to business owners to enforce their brand and prevent its unauthorized or illegal use. Unlike California and Virginia laws, the Colorado Privacy Act does not exclude non-profit organizations.
Businesses must also enter into data processing agreements with processors that govern the processing of personal data as required by the Colorado Privacy Act. The Colorado Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control issues licenses to companies to manufacture or sell alcohol as well as consumption permits for special events. Finally, it is important for businesses to understand their tax obligations as well as any potential effects on net migration due to an increase in the cost of doing business in Colorado. The law defines “consumers” as Colorado residents who act solely in an individual or family context.