These are all of the taxes and fees bills proposed in the 2021 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.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor+, 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.

House

Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:

MEGA

MAJOR

MEDIUM

MINOR+

HB21-1083 State Board Assessment Appeals Valuation Adjustment

MINOR

HB21-1061 Residential Land Property Tax Classification

TECHNICAL

HB21-1061 Residential Land Property Tax Classification (Hansen (D)) [Gray (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None at state level, probable increase in property taxes at local level

Goal:

  • Clarify the law around when classification of property that does not have residential improvements on it can still be classified as residential.

Description:

Currently the land must be under common ownership and contiguous and used in conjunction with the land with the residential improvement. The bill changes this to require the same owner on the title deed and instead of in conjunction with, the land must have a related improvement. This means a driveway, parking space, or improvement other than a building used for residence. It also clarifies that contiguity is not interrupted by local streets, alleys, or common elements in a common interest facility. The bill also removes parcels of land in a residential subdivision with exclusive use established by the owners of the improvements.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • The current law is just too vague and the continuity bit addition makes sense. The real big change is the ownership requirement, instead of just a common owner needing the exact same owner. This closes a bit of a loophole in property classification, as non-residential property is taxed at higher rates

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1061

HB21-1083 State Board Assessment Appeals Valuation Adjustment (Priola (R), Zenzinger (D)) [Benavidez (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None at state level, probably slight increases at local levels

Goal:

  • Allows state board of property tax assessment appeals to increase valuations upon appeal.

Description:

Right now if a property owner appeals the valuation of their property for tax purposes by their local jurisdiction, the state can only affirm or decrease the valuation.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • It is only fair that a true appeal will try to set the true value—not simply look to see if we can reduce it. This would also make it less likely for people to appeal without good reason: right now there is no downside to making an appeal so it literally makes sense for everyone in the state to do it. People should appeal when they think there was a true mistake made

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This may have a chilling effect on appeals—if someone is going to risk having their valuation go up they may be much less likely to appeal and some improperly high valuations may go unchallenged

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1083

SB21-019 Authorize Notices Of Valuation On Postcard (Kolker (D), Simpson (R)) [Tipper (D), Rich (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Allow property tax administrators to e-mail postcards with abbreviated notices of valuation to property holders instead of the full valuation each year, with taxpayers still able to access the full valuation if they wish.

Description:

Allows property tax administrators to e-mail postcards with abbreviated notices of valuation to property holders. This must include at minimum: accurate summary of the valuation information, contact information for the assessor, a link to the assessor’s website where the full valuation can be read, and a statement that the taxpayer can get the full valuation instead of the postcard in the future by request. Assessors must mail the full valuation to any taxpayer that requests it.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Mailing out the full valuation is more costly and frankly more confusing than the postcard
  • Multiple counties are already doing this with success

In Further Detail: The approved full valuation form is two pages, with a bunch of references to different state laws, and quite confusing. What the taxpayer wants to know can easily be fit on a postcard, which is also of course cheaper to mail, saving us money. Anyone who is not satisfied with the postcard can access the full report or request to receive it in the future. A recent survey showed 37% of Colorado counties that responded already using these postcards. This builds upon that success and puts requirements into state law to ensure all counties do it properly. On the privacy concern, the rough amount of someone’s property value can be looked up on Zillow. It is hardly super private information and very few people actually look closely at someone else’s mail in the Post Office—they are just trying to deliver it to the right place.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • The request should go in the other direction—postcards are much less private than mail enclosed in an envelope and people may not want their property values printed for anyone who handles the mail to see

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-019

SB21-020 Energy Equipment And Facility Property Tax Valuation (Hansen (D), Hisey (R)) [A. Valdez (D), Soper (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None over the 30 year timeframe, but short-term lower revenues, longer-term higher revenues

Goal:

  • Change the method of valuation for property tax purposes of clean energy storage systems and small solar generation facilities from “cost approach” to “income approach” and expand the valuation window from 20 years to 30 years for new facilities

Description:

The income approach is used by most energy generation facilities already. The income approach requires tax assessors to determine how much income the facility is expected to generate over the time frame (in this case 30 years) whereas cost simply takes how much it cost to build and then depreciates the facility over the timespan. In a cost method property taxes start very high and gradually dwindle down to nearly nothing. In the income method they are at the same rate for the entire span of the project. The net effect is expected to be zero over the entire timeframe.

Small solar generation facilities are those that produce under 2 megawatts of power (so-called solar gardens) and are assessed by counties rather than the state.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This mostly brings these utilities in-line with how we calculate property taxes for a wide range of other public utilities, including other electric utilities and electric generation facilities including clean energy facilities. So it will not be novel to anyone and it provides a steadier approach for both the facility owner and the local jurisdiction

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • The advantage of the cost model is you get more of the money early, so if the facility no longer exists in 10 years, you aren’t out much of the property tax revenue. Under the income method, there is a danger of losing larger amounts of revenue if the facility doesn’t exist and this is magnified by extending the time frame to 30 years

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-020

SB21-065 Gasoline And Special Fuels Tax Info Disclosure (Liston (R)) [Mullica (D)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Allow the department of revenue to disclose information from a faulty or false gasoline or special fuels tax form to other taxpayers with common or related issues of fact or law. This is likely to be most salient when parties are under a common audit. Those taxpayers are subject to the same disclosure rules as everyone else. Also require distributors to disclose any books, papers, or records relating to alleged problems with their tax returns to official government investigators upon written request. Those must also be kept confidential

Description: Nothing to add

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • When a distributor is under audit by the department it is helpful to understand what other records are being supplied to the audit. Since fuels can go through multiple levels of distribution, if just one level is under audit is useful to have visibility into the other levels of the same fuel
  • We don’t need to run to court every time we have a little dispute over taxation status of fuels, in particular when there is an official investigation, which the bill requires

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We have courts to enforce subpoenas in cases where we need records. Just requiring a written request is too wide as is the idea that a government agency can turn those records over to a 3rd party without a court order

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-065