The Colorado Secretary of State's office is looking to educate small businesses about some misleading notices that could result in some paying more than necessary for business filings.

There have been multiple reports of these notices that come from a third party requesting a fee to file business documents, according to the Secretary of State's Office. One such notice charges a business $75 for a processing fee on a $10 filing.

The Secretary of State's Office uses an online filing system for businesses and use of a third party is not required.

"It's a couple of different companies doing it," said Serena Woods, communications director for the Secretary of State's Office. "It's not against the law for them to do that, but they're just making money off of a superfluous step when filing is so easy."

All business filings, including annual periodic reports, have been done online since 2004, Woods said. Periodic reports, which businesses are required to file each year, cost $10 to file.

The Secretary of State's office warns that these solicitations from these third parties may appear similar to a government form, contain a business's correct identification number, list a customer ID number that does not match the one provided by a state or federal agency, contain a warning to follow instructions exactly when filling out the form, mention a periodic report and list a due date.

The Secretary of State does not mail out filing forms.

To receive advance notice of when periodic reports, trademark renewals or trade name renewals are due, visit sos.state.co.us to verify status, file a form, or sign-up for email notifications.

"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 in a press release. "Business owners should be wary of third-party solicitations related to filing requirements."

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