How the TABOR Refund Was Distributed
The FY 2018-2019 TABOR refund was distributed in two parts. The first part of the refund went toward reimbursing counties for their Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemptions. This portion of the TABOR refund was not administered by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Rather, the Colorado Department of the Treasury issued the reimbursement checks to each county, as long as the process explained below is completed.
The Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) administered the second part of the TABOR refund, the income tax rate reduction for the 2019 tax year. For more information about how the CDOR distributed the second part of the 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 local governments' property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans. In a non-TABOR year, the funds used for this reimbursement come from the Colorado General Fund.
When there is surplus tax revenue above the TABOR cap, the state is able to use the surplus to fund the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption. The amount of funds used is the lesser of either the total revenue surplus or the cost of full reimbursement to fund local property tax exemptions to seniors and disabled veterans. Reimbursement of the local property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans is prioritized ahead of other TABOR refund mechanisms.
The TABOR refund did not increase county revenue, as it did not have any impact on the payments the Colorado Department of the Treasury sends to counties in order to reimburse them for the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption Program every year.
The connection between the Senior and Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption and the TABOR refund mechanism is for internal state accounting purposes. Senate Bill 17-267 also allows the state to count the money the Treasury sends to counties for the Senior and Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption Program as part of the total TABOR refund amount that may be due to Colorado taxpayers.
Reimbursement Process for County Governments
As your local residents submit applications for the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption, each county treasurer and county assessor works with staff from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The county treasurer, county assessor, and staff from DOLA work together to ensure each applicant qualifies for the program and determines the correct amount of exemption that each qualified application can claim.
The Colorado Department of the Treasury sends the reimbursement check to each county to reimburse any lost property tax revenue that the county may experience due to the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption Program, after they have completed this process, and once the Treasury receives the exemption amounts from the county treasurers and these amounts are verified by DOLA.
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.