The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office issued an alert to small business owners Monday about potentially misleading notices requesting an extra fee for a third party to file business documents.

The office said it has received multiple reports of these potentially deceptive or misleading solicitations being sent to Colorado businesses.

The solicitation may:

• Appear similar to a government form.

• 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.

• Contain a due date for your response.

• Mention a periodic report.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office advised that it does not send these solicitations.

The office maintains an online filing system for businesses, and use of a third party to complete filings is not required.

The Secretary of State’s Office does not mail out business filing forms, and compliance with these notices is not required.

All business filings, including annual periodic reports, are filed online.

The current fee for filing the periodic report is $10.

Business owners can find instructions to easily and directly file business forms on the secretary of state’s website under the business organizations heading.

“We want to make sure Coloradans have the tools they need for their businesses to succeed. We have an easy-to-use and affordable business filing system,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold said. “Business owners should be wary of third-party solicitations related to filing requirements.”

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.

Serena Woods of the Secretary of State’s Office said if business owners receive one of these notices, they can report it to the office.

“It’s helpful for us to know if people are receiving them,” she said.

She said it is a good idea, however, for business owners to double check that their filings are up to date with the office online.

To verify their business status, file a form or obtain a free certification, business owners can visit sos.state.co.us.

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