For over two decades, legislation has been proposed to reduce business personal property taxes in Colorado by raising the tax exemption.
This session, bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate. The House bill was postponed indefinitely but the Senate bill remains in committee.
Currently, businesses whose total personal property is valued at $7,400 or less are tax exempt and do not have to file. HB 17-1063 would have raised the exemption to $50,000, which would be adjusted for inflation every two years.
For public utilities that are assessed statewide, all tangible personal property within the state is included to determine the value of the public utility as a unit. This bill exempts the first $50,000 from the public utilities statement of property tax it files with the property tax administrator.
HB 17-1063 was postponed indefinitely less than a month after being introduced.
As originally filed, SB 17-009 tripled the existing business personal property tax exemption to $21,900. It was later amended by the Senate Finance Committee to reflect a $10,000 exemption for the next two property tax years, adjusted for inflation in subsequent tax cycles. SB 17-009 was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Colorado Legislative Council Staff's Fiscal Note on SB 17-009 says increasing the tax exemption to $10,000 will reduce assessed values statewide by an estimated:
$34.2 million in 2017
$35.7 million in 2018
$37.3 million in 2019
Lawmakers face a balancing act to collect enough tax revenue to pay for needed services while also finding ways to help businesses and grow the economy.
Previous attempts to raise the personal property tax exemption have repeatedly failed. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. For more information on these bills, visit the Colorado General Assembly.