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Colorado Basic Business Taxes

Corporate Taxes & Incentives Guide
Corporate income tax:
Net income allocated and apportioned to the state is taxed at 4.63 percent. For tax periods commencing on or after January 1, 2009, income is generally apportioned based on a method new to Colorado, the single factor apportionment method. All business income is apportioned to Colorado by multiplying such business income by a fraction, the numerator of which is the total sales of the taxpayer in Colorado and the denominator of which is the total sales of the taxpayer everywhere during the tax period.

Corporate income tax credits include child-care programs, a credit for the use of alternative fuels, qualified school-to-career expenditures, credits for rehabilitation/ restoration of historic buildings and investment tax credits. Additional credits apply in enterprise zones.

Sales and use taxes:
Colorado collects a 2.9 percent sales or use tax on goods purchased by a business that are not intended for resale. Local governments may collect up to an additional five percent sales tax. The statewide average sales tax is 6.5 percent.

Most services are not taxed. Food for home consumption and prescription drugs are exempt.

State sales or use taxes on manufacturing equipment or machine tools are not collected on purchases over $500. Additionally, sales or use taxes are not collected on component parts, fuels and electricity, ink and newsprint, packaging materials, general maintenance aircraft parts, farm equipment and machinery, clean-fuel vehicles or biotech equipment. Biotech research and development is eligible for sales and use tax refund.

Unemployment taxes and workers' compensation:
An employer's unemployment insurance tax liability is based on the taxable wage base, which is the first $11,000 of each worker's wages. If covered for the first time, the tax rate will be 1.7 percent of the wage base plus an annually computed surtax (0.22 percent), plus a solvency surcharge of 0.6 percent for a total of 2.52 percent. After one full year of coverage, the tax rate will be calculated based upon the employer's individual experience.

Workers' compensation insurance is provided by over 200 private companies and the state's Compensation Insurance Fund, dba Pinnacol Assurance, which carries coverage for the majority of Colorado employers. Self-insurance is an option, available by special permit specifying strict financial and loss control standards, for companies employing 300 or more Colorado workers.

Property tax:
Property taxes are not levied by state government. These revenues are exclusively for local government services, primarily school districts.

Commercial and industrial real and personal property is assessed for property tax purposes at 29 percent of market value. Personal property (furniture, fixtures and equipment) used in commercial and industrial operations is subject to personal property tax. If total personal property is valued under $4,000, it is exempt. This exemption threshold will increase to $5,500 beginning January 1, 2011, and rise to $7,000 as of January 1, 2013.

Business personal property with an economic life of one year or less (consumables), or with an acquisition cost of less than $250, is exempt. Computer and telecommunications equipment have accelerated depreciation schedules. Local governments have the option to negotiate up to a 100 percent rebate or credit on personal property tax as an economic development incentive.

Local governments in enterprise zones have the option of providing new companies with a rebate or credit not to exceed the difference in property taxes after development less the property taxes prior to zone designation.

Inventory taxes:
Inventory taxes are not assessed in the state.

Severance taxes:
Colorado levies a tax upon the severance from the earth of metallic minerals and energy resources ranging from 2-5 percent, based upon the gross income of the extraction operation or upon the amount extracted. The tax is reduced by a credit for 87.5 percent of local property taxes paid, and low-producing "stripper wells" are exempt.

Investment tax credits:
Business investments qualifying under the former federal guidelines for an investment tax credit qualify for a one percent investment tax credit in Colorado, up to a maximum credit of $1,000 in any tax year. Excess credits may be carried forward three years.

Enterprise zone tax credits:
The Enterprise Zone (EZ) Program encourages job creation and capital investment in economically depressed areas by providing tax credits to businesses and projects to promote and encourage economic development activities. Pre-certification is required prior to commencing an activity that will earn an EZ business tax credit on or after January 1, 2012.

Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit
The Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit is a tax credit to the owners of designated commercial properties that do a certified rehabilitation of their property. This program is jointly administered by OEDIT and History Colorado.

Colorado State Contact:
State of Colorado
Office of Economic Development
1625 Broadway, Suite 2700
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 892-3840
Fax: (303) 892-3848
Incentive and tax information is provided to Area Development by each state's economic development or commerce agency for information purposes only and is subject to revision at any time by the state government. Please contact the state agency directly for full requirements and offerings. This information was last updated October 2015.

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