Some Colorado residents could get extra refunds this year thanks to a change to the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR refunds from Colorado could be as much as $800. New adjustments are such that the refund will be smaller than usual for those with higher income, and higher than usual for those with lower income.
TABOR refunds from Colorado: who will get more?
Voters approved the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, in 1992 to limit government revenue growth. The TABOR refund amount depends on the state revenue collected above the cap set by the TABOR.
Last year, the total refund was almost $3 billion, resulting in $750 checks for single filers and $1,500 for joint filers. This year, the state is estimated to send nearly $3.7 billion in TABOR refunds from Colorado.
Specifically, individual taxpayers could get $847, while joint filers could get $1,694 in TABOR refunds from Colorado. This year’s refund is slightly different than the earlier projections because of new legislation approved during the General Assembly’s special session in November.
During the special session, the lawmakers approved sending a flat TABOR refund to everyone. Historically, the TABOR refund has been based on taxpayers’ income level. The new legislation, however, standardizes the payout, i.e., taxpayers with higher incomes will receive less than the usual refund, and those with lower incomes may get more of a refund.
Specifically, refunds will be higher for taxpayers with income less than $104,000 (about 62% of filers). Households with income below $51,000 could get $250 more in refunds, while those with income between $51,000 and $104,000 could get $75 more.
The belief is that the new formula to calculate the TABOR refund would benefit women, people with disabilities, Hispanics, Latinos, Blacks and people of another race more, as these groups are more likely to have lower incomes.
Tax treatment of TABOR refunds
Earlier, there was some confusion over the tax treatment of the TABOR refund after the IRS asked Coloradans to delay filing their 2024 taxes until they made a decision on it. It was the first time since the creation of TABOR about 30 years ago that the IRS questioned its taxability.
Now, it is clear that there will be no tax on TABOR refunds from Colorado. The decision over TABOR refunds tax treatment came after a meeting between Gov. Jared Polis and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.
Also, Sen. Michael Bennet recently cleared that there is no change in the tax treatment of TABOR tax refunds and that taxpayers don’t need to do anything differently.
Separately, the adjustments made last year also change how taxpayers receive the TABOR refund. In 2022, taxpayers received the refund check in the mail. Now, taxpayers will get the refund through their tax filings, either in the form of higher refunds or reduced tax bills.