Jefferson County taxpayers will soon receive a TABOR refund check in the mail, as required by the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Amendment (TABOR).
The TABOR Amendment requires governments in Colorado to refund revenue collected above the TABOR limit for a given fiscal year or seek voter approval to retain the revenue. In 2021, Jefferson County received approximately $17.3 million in revenue above the TABOR revenue limit, as a result, the county is required to give that money back to the 213K property taxpayers in 2022.
There are a variety of methods that can be used to refund the revenue to taxpayers. Examples include mailing refund checks to property taxpayers or applying a credit to the following year’s property tax bill. After exploring the various options, Jefferson County determined mailing refund checks was the most direct and transparent way for each taxpayer to receive their fair share of the refund.
All property taxpayers, including homeowners and business owners, will receive an equitable share of the $17.3 million refund. The average check amount will be about $80 and 88% of property taxpayers will receive a check for $80 or less. The median check amount is $48, which means that 50% of people will receive a check for $50 or less.
Even though some refund checks will be less than $1, the Board of County Commissioners, County Manager and staff believed it is important to be as equitable as possible in distributing the refund. Please note that the Jefferson County Treasurer's Office will cash any check under $100 (with a valid ID). Additionally, the Treasurer's Office asks that you do not send your checks back, please cash them. The funds cannot be use by the county.
More on TABOR:
- Adopted by voters in 1992, TABOR applies to all levels of government in Colorado, including the state, counties, cities, school districts and special districts.
- The amount of revenue that can be received each year can only grow according to specific growth factors, depending on the level of government. For counties, such as Jefferson County, the annual revenue limit is based on the prior year’s actual revenue or limit (whichever was lower) and increases each year depending on two growth factors: local inflation and the value of new construction. Unlike the state TABOR limit, population figures do not factor into the county revenue limit.
- Because growth isn’t tied to population like it is at the state level, county local growth factors often fail to keep pace with the demands stemming from the county’s expanding population. This means Jefferson County continues to provide services and maintain roads and other infrastructure for an increasingly larger group of people without having the funding to support these increases.
There are more tough decisions ahead, and Jefferson County continues to evaluate all areas for efficiencies, reductions or possible elimination. We will continue to work to prioritize the safety and well-being of our community and those things only local government can do. Learn more about TABOR.