IRS to Coloradans: Don’t file your taxes yet

Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Taxpayers faced with smaller refunds or higher taxes have been airing their grievances online.

Coloradans may owe federal taxes on last year’s TABOR refunds.

The IRS says the state’s residents should hold off on filing their tax returns until the agency figures out how it’s going to handle the issue. The IRS issued the directive to residents of several states that received refunds or special payments in 2022.

Coloradans shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on TABOR refunds, according to the state’s revenue department. TABOR, which stands for the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, goes back to 1992 in Colorado. The law requires the state to return excess state revenues to taxpayers.

“We have done so on various occasions and through various statutory methods,” Dan Carr, a spokesperson for Colorado’s revenue department, said in an emailed statement. “We have provided this information to the Internal Revenue Service in response to the questions they’ve raised to many states. We will continue to monitor the IRS process and be clear on our position that these refunds are not taxable.”

Colorado’s excess tax revenues totaled about $3 billion last year. That resulted in sizable refund checks of $750 for individuals and $1,500 for joint filers. Normally those refunds would have been paid this spring, but Gov. Polis and the legislature moved up the timeline to last summer.

Last year, 19 states offered special tax refunds and payments, according to the Associated Press. Many were meant to provide relief from inflation. Colorado’s TABOR refunds, though not prompted by inflation, were issued at the same time as the other states’ checks.

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