A reality check on Colorado taxpayer refunds now in the mail

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Artwork: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Starting today, Colorado will send 3.7 million taxpayers refunds of $750, or $1,500 for joint filers.

The plot: Governor Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers have the brand the Colorado Cashback.

Reality check: It’s all a political spin.

  • The refund is required under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment that caps state revenue at inflation plus population growth, requiring that any excess be returned to taxpayers.
  • The refund is usually reflected in state tax returns due each April, but Democrats moved it to three months before the general election, saying taxpayers needed the money urgently.

By the numbers: Sending the checks early will cost the state $2.7 million, including $1.7 million for postage.

To note : Democrats also changed the reimbursement formula to make it more “progressive” by increasing the check for low-income people and decreasing it for those with higher incomes.

The context: The tinkering and spinning is a brazen move by Democrats, given the party has spent years weakening refund requirements to keep more state tax revenue, which critics say undermines the intention of TABOR.

What there is to know: If you filed a Colorado tax return for 2021 as a full-time resident, the check will be mailed to the same address.

  • It should arrive by September 30, according to Revenue Ministry officials.
  • Those who did not file but earned less than $21,381 per person and applied for a PTC low-income refund are also eligible. This includes people living illegally in the country.

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