Increased personal property tax exemptions, new task force on streamlining sales and use taxes highlight achievements for small business
The 2017 half of the 71st Colorado General Assembly adjourned May 10 with five accomplishments for small business. The 2018 half commences January 10, 2018.
Boosted Personal Property Tax Exemption
Because of negotiations to get a transportation funding bill passed, Colorado small-business owners ended up with a Christmas-in-May gift of an increased tax exemption. Business owners will now be allowed a statewide tax credit that will refund personal property taxes paid by businesses to local governments on the first $18,000 worth of equipment that they own. The amount of the current exemption is $7,300.
Won Sales and Use Tax Reform
NFIB lobbied extensively for the passage of House Bill 1216, which creates a task force to study streamlining the myriad sales and use taxes in the state. Colorado is in the top four states in the country known for having the most complicated and inefficient sales tax collection and remittance process. Currently, Colorado maintains over 700 taxing districts. The Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force, which will be comprised of business owners from both small and large business organizations, legislative members, and state and local sales and use tax experts, along with local municipal and county governments., will examine issues such as uniform definitions of taxable items and a single point of collect and remittance of sales and use taxes collected by state, local, and home-rule governments.
Secured Clarification of Dispute Resolution Process
NFIB pushed for passage of Senate Bill 112, which clarified the General Assembly’s intent when it enacted a dispute resolution process in 1985 to address a situation when a taxpayer paid sales and use tax to one local government when it should have instead paid that disputed amount to a different local government. A recent court case applied the statute of limitations to this dispute resolution process, resulting in the taxpayer having to pay the disputed amount twice to two different local governments.
Preserved an Employer’s Right to Know
For the second session in a row, NFIB/Colorado defeated an attempt to prohibit an employer from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the initial employment application. House Bill 1305 would have delayed the hiring process for small-business owners because they would have had to wait until an official job interview or a job offer to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history. Popularly called ‘Ban the Box’ bills, NFIB pointed out in this guest editorial sent to the Colorado media that these well-intended efforts to help ex-convicts wind up harming more people than they help.
Defeated State-Run Retirement Plans
House Bill 1290, which was vigorously opposed by NFIB/Colorado, would have invited state government into the business of managing retirement plans of private employees. Under the proposed legislation, which passed the House but died in the Senate, all businesses would be required to make a state-run retirement plan available to employees unless they already offered one, and employees would be automatically enrolled in the program unless they opted out. In addition to pointing out the abundant and private ways for everyone to save retirement, NFIB/Colorado pressed the point that HB 1290 would have created new fiduciary liabilities for small businesses.