How a TABOR Refund Is Distributed
The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires excess state revenue to be refunded. The first part of a state TABOR refund must go toward reimbursing counties for their Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemptions. This portion of a state TABOR refund is not administered by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Rather, the Colorado Department of the Treasury issues the reimbursement check to each county, once the process explained below is completed.
The Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) administers the other parts of a TABOR refund through state income tax returns. For more information about how CDOR distributes the other parts of a state TABOR refund, visit the TABOR web page.
Impact of the TABOR Refund on County Revenue
Senate Bill 17-267 mandates that the Colorado Department of the Treasury reimburse local governments for the net amount of property tax revenues lost as a result of their property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans. In a non-TABOR year, the funds used for these reimbursements come from the Colorado General Fund.
When there is a TABOR surplus, the state is able to use the surplus to fund these reimbursements. The amount of funds used is the lesser of either the total TABOR surplus or the full cost of the reimbursements. Reimbursement of the local property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans is prioritized ahead of other TABOR refund mechanisms.
A TABOR refund does not increase county revenue, as it does not have any impact on the payments the Treasury sends to counties for the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption Program every year.
The connection between these reimbursements and the TABOR refund mechanism is for internal state accounting purposes. Senate Bill 17-267 also allows the state to count these reimbursements as part of the total TABOR refund amount.
Reimbursement Process for County Governments
As local residents submit applications for the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption, each county treasurer and county assessor must work together with staff from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to ensure each applicant qualifies for the program and to determine the correct exemption amount for each applicant.
After this process is completed, the Colorado Department of the Treasury must receive the exemption amounts from the county treasurer, and verification of the amounts from DOLA. Then the Treasury will send a reimbursement check to the county.
For more detailed information on the reimbursement process for the Senior and Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption, please contact the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Department of the Treasury.