Friday, April 8, 2011

Colorado tax amnesty bill clears second hurdle

Thursday, a bill to increase funding for Colorado schools by providing late taxpayers a period of tax amnesty, and to make the state’s tax system more transparent and accountable passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 184, sponsored by Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver), would generate an estimated $9.5 million to help reduce the proposed cut to education. This revenue would be generated by providing Colorado businesses and families who have fallen behind on their taxes a 60 day period of tax amnesty this summer, from August through September. Anyone who owes back taxes will have the opportunity to pay what they owe and have penalties forgiven.

Colorado instituted a similar tax amnesty program in 2003.

Senate Bill 184 would also help make state government more transparent by ensuring taxpayer money is spent wisely. The bill would require the state to report the cost and effectiveness of all tax expenditures, such as tax credits and exemptions, which result in reduced state revenue. Tax expenditures currently make up more than one-fifth of all state spending, but no data is collected or reported on the effectiveness of this spending.

Senate Bill 184 will now be heard by the full Senate.

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