Heidi Ganahl releases tax documents showing $1.2 million in yearly income

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
Republican candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl, flanked by supporters, released her transportation plan in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.

Heidi Ganahl, the Republican candidate for governor, has released three years’ worth of tax return documents, showing general details about her income and federal taxes. She simultaneously challenged Gov. Jared Polis to release his own tax documentation, which his campaign later promised to do.

Ganahl and her husband’s income totaled about $1.2 million last year, according to the Form 1040 document published by the campaign.

That was a sharp increase from just a couple years earlier, when the couple reported $366,000 in income. The documents — which consisted of Form 1040 filings — did not detail the actual source of that income.

“I have nothing to hide. Do you? Voters deserve to know the truth,” Ganahl said.

But the Form 1040 filings provided only general information about the family’s finances, not information about specific sources of income, investments and deductions.

The documents show that about a third of the Ganahls’ 2021 income came from capital gains, or the sales of assets such as stock. Another $50,000 was W-2 income, which is paid by an employer. 

Some of the remaining income likely came from the Ganahls’ business ventures. The family owns the G-Que BBQ chain of four restaurants, including a kiosk at Mile High Stadium.

Ganahl also founded Camp Bow Wow, a doggy day care business that was sold in a 2014 deal worth between $17 million and $20 million. But Ganahl no longer works with the company. 

Polis has not released comparable documents. Ganahl’s campaign said she would not provide any further tax details — such as the source of the income — until Polis published his own returns.

“Once we see something from him, we can get into what further you would like to see from us,” wrote campaign spokesperson Lexi Swearingen in an email.

A Polis spokesperson later said the governor would release tax information from 2021 this week. And she argued that Polis has been more transparent than Ganahl because he had released some of his tax information during earlier campaigns.

"The Governor’s financial disclosures to this point are far greater than anything Regent Ganahl has ever made public, as 16 years of extensive financial reports are already public. If Ganahl decides to meet this threshold and begin to reach the level of transparency that the Governor has met, then the Governor is open to considering further release," wrote spokesperson Amber Miller.

Ganahl’s documents show her family owed $213,581 of taxes in 2022, for an effective rate of about 17 percent.

Polis has made hundreds of millions of dollars in the sale of various tech companies that he founded. He paid zero federal taxes in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and his overall tax rate from 2010 to 2018 was just 8.2 percent, according to documents obtained by ProPublica. 

He lowered his tax obligations by donating to charities, including the Jared Polis Foundation. Much of his wealth is also held in businesses that “grow in value but produce minimal income,” with tax obligations only coming due when, for example, an asset is sold.

“I have paid all my taxes required by law,” Polis told CPR News last year. “To be clear, nobody is saying anything else. I also agree with the premise that the tax system favors the wealthy and big corporations.”

Editor's note: This article was updated with comment from the Polis campaign on Oct. 27, 2022.