After Heidi Ganahl released tax information, Gov. Jared Polis follows suit

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis at his campaign headquarters in Denver, Sept. 29, 2022, interviewed by Colorado Matters’ Ryan Warner.

Gov. Jared Polis has released a tax document showing his overall income and tax liability for last year — a response to a similar but more expansive release last week from his Republican challenger, Heidi Ganahl.

The Polis campaign on Saturday released his Form 1040 for tax year 2021. The document shows the governor and his husband, Marlon Reis, reported $733,877 in adjusted gross income for the year.

The family reported more than $1 million in total revenues, but that was offset by losses. Most of the income came from dividends and interest on investments, although a small amount — about $81,000 — from a traditional W-2 employer. The form did not disclose the name of the employer, or whether the income was for Reis or Polis.

The job of Colorado governor currently pays $123,193. Next year that amount will increase to $203,988.

Polis and Reis reported losses of about $316,000 last year, but the Form 1040 does not disclose the exact source. They also declared a further $149,000 in tax-deductible charitable contributions, lowering the family’s total taxable income.

Polis released only a single year of tax information on Saturday, compared to three years from Ganahl. But Polis’ office argued that overall he has been more transparent. 

“Governor Polis’s finances have been well vetted over the years as an elected official and the Governor’s disclosures to this point offer far greater detail than any information his opponent has ever made public,” wrote spokesperson Amber Miller.

They pointed to personal financial disclosure forms he files with the state as an elected official, as well as earlier tax information he released while in Congress. For example, a disclosure he filed last year shows the family derives income from a blind trust as well as a variety of LLCs, funds and properties.

This year, the Polis family reported $87,364 in federal tax obligation, or about 12 percent of their adjusted gross income.

Polis has made hundreds of millions of dollars over his career from 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 has lowered his tax obligations by donating to charities, including the Jared Polis Foundation, which donated to education causes before going on hiatus when he became governor. Much of his wealth is also held in businesses that “grow in value but produce minimal income,” ProPublica reported, 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.”