These are all of the Taxes and Fees bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.
None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.
Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in . They are color-coded by party.
Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.
Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:
Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:
SB19-006 Electronic Sales & Use Tax Simplification System
SB19-016 Severance Tax Operational Fund Distribution Methodology
SB19-029 Income Tax Residency Presumption for Military
SB19-035 DOR Department of Revenue Enforcement Measures Collection of Tax Owed
SB19-006 Electronic Sales & Use Tax Simplification System (Williams, A) [Kraft-Tharp, Van Winkle]
Takes the next step forward in developing and implementing an electronic sales and use tax system that businesses can use across state and local taxing areas. A one-stop online shop.
This builds on a bill from the 2018 session that requested information from vendors to build an electronic system that will allow businesses to do all of their state and municipal sales tax reporting in one place at one time. Four companies submitted information, this bill directs the state to ask for proposals and pick one. It also directs the department of revenue to start accepting returns and payments through the system when it comes online. It says that it is the assembly’s intent for at least three local governments that control their own sales and use taxation (“home rule” jurisdictions) to use the system when it comes online and for all home rule jurisdictions to use it within three years.
Colorado has one of the most complicated sales and use tax setups in the country. In addition to state sales tax, businesses have to worry about a variety of municipal tax jurisdictions: 70 in the state that collect outside of the state’s existing system. This can become so complicated for some businesses that they have to pay an outside firm to do their sales and use tax reporting. This bill takes the next step required to solve this problem. We cannot force home rule jurisdictions to adopt it because of their rights under the Colorado Constitution to self-government in the levy and collection of sales and use taxes. But they will be happy to give up the responsibility and effort required to collect on their own.
We have a live example of trying to get home rule jurisdictions to voluntarily adopt statewide standards: the effort that began in 1992 to get all jurisdictions to adopt the same standardized definitions of what is taxable and what is exempt. 45 of the 71 have adopted the definitions. This bill needs to enact these definitions into state law and find other ways to put more teeth into getting municipalities into the one-stop shop system. Otherwise we may face a situation where we spend all this money to build a shiny new toy that doesn’t fix the fundamental problem because ½ the state won’t use it.
Using a uniform system requires uniform definitions and standards. It’s clear that although the state isn’t yet forcing this on any municipalities, it will find a way to do it. The current system is fine, if some businesses have to farm out some tax work four times a year it doesn’t seem to be hurting our economy any.
SB19-016 Severance Tax Operational Fund Distribution Methodology (Donovan, Coram) [Esgar, Saine]
From the Water Resources Review Committee
Changes the way the state disperses severance taxes in its operational fund by increasing the reserve for tier 2 programs (to guard against fluctuations in the account) from 15% to 100% and requiring transfers occur after the fiscal year and based on actual, not estimated, revenues. Currently transfers occur three times a year
Long Description: n/a
The current way of doing things relies too much on guesswork and is too susceptible to fluctuations. Having a larger reserve, and making sure we actually have the revenue before committing to spend it, will make for a smoother process for all of the accounts affected by this and won’t shortchange anyone. The tier 2 accounts already pull money from the reserve now, the change here simply makes sure there is more money there.
Going for three distributions a year to just one makes it more difficult to be flexible and adaptive. Going from 15 to 100% also means we are putting more money toward these programs, millions more. It won’t necessarily be spent, but it will be held in the program and not spent in other places.
SB19-024 Taxes Paid By Electronic Funds Transfers (Tate) [Arndt, Hooton] TECHNICAL BILL
From the Statutory Revision Committee
Authorizes department of revenue to require severance taxes to be remitted electronically and to require an earlier hour deadline for sales tax remittance by electronic funds transfer than by those who use other means.
Long Description: n/a
SB19-029 Income Tax Residency Presumption for Military (Crowder)
Make the law a presumption that if an individual in the armed forces whose home is in Colorado is stationed in another state their state of residence is not Colorado if they provide documentation to that effect.
Currently, an individual in active duty military service whose home is in Colorado but whose state of residence is another state is allowed to reacquire residency and not pay Colorado state income tax on their military income. This bill presumes that if an individual is stationed in another state their state of residence is not Colorado if they provide documentation to that effect. Only a preponderance of evidence that the individual did not intend to change their state of residence can overcome this presumption.
This simplifies matters for the men and women in our armed forces by giving them an easy method (including just a simple written notification) for changing their state of residence to where they are stationed.
Arguments Against: n/a
SB19-035 DOR Department of Revenue Enforcement Measures Collection of Tax Owed (Court) [Benavidez]
Specifies that the state cannot collect on tax issues while an individual’s assets are in bankruptcy and for six months after. Also clarifies state’s ability to sell a delinquent taxpayer’s motor vehicle and its ability to seize property from delinquent taxpayers.
Specifies that the state’s ability to collect tax, penalty, interest, fine, or other charges is suspended while an individual’s assets are in the control of a bankruptcy court and for six months after. Also clarifies department of revenue’s ability to sell a delinquent taxpayer’s motor vehicle, when property or rights to property must be surrendered and what the penalties are for failing to do so. Also clarifies that a court can order, with probable cause, the seizure of assets for a delinquent taxpayer.
Whenever we are dealing with taking someone’s personal property for failure to pay taxes, it is good to have clarification. In addition, it just makes sense that if someone has no control over their own assets due to bankruptcy proceedings, we need to wait to try to collect taxes and penalties.
Arguments Against: n/a
SB19-055 Reduce State Income Tax Rate (Sonnenberg) [Pelton]
Reduces the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.49% for both corporate and individual taxes. Reduces the state alternative minimum tax by 0.14%.
Long Description: n/a
The state is flush with cash, so much so that we are projecting three straight years of TABOR tax refunds. This is a sign that our taxes are too high and that we should allow taxpayers to keep more of their own money, where they can put it to use bolstering our state economy rather than having the state sit on it for a year only to give some of it back.
Another recession is coming. It is inevitable and the only question is when and how hard will it hit. Balancing our state revenues around their peak is a recipe for disaster when we reach a valley. We still haven’t fully recovered from the last recession, as we still owe our schools hundreds of millions of dollars. The state needs to use as much money as it can to get back to even from our last recession and put away some reserves to prepare for the next one. Colorado’s economy is booming with our current tax structure. Our unemployment is among the lowest in the country. The state is one of the fastest-growing in the country. We don’t need lower taxes.
Three straight years of TABOR refunds along with hundreds of millions of dollars owed to our schools and billions in transportation needs shortfalls shows that we have a TABOR problem, not a tax problem.
A tax cut done in this matter is highly regressive. Those earning under $100,000 would see less than $100 of tax relief, while those earning over $1,000,000 would get over $1,000. This is unacceptable.