Why did we get checks?

Jefferson County taxpayers received TABOR refund checks in the mail last month, as required by the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Amendment (TABOR).

The TABOR Amendment requires governments in Colorado to refund excess revenue collected above the TABOR limit for a given fiscal year or seek voter approval to retain the excess revenue. In 2020, Jefferson County received exactly $1,543,575 in property tax revenue above the TABOR property tax limit, as a result, the county was required to give that money back to the taxpayers in 2021, which it did though the mail in December.

Each check cost about 97 cents in postage to send out. The printing and postage costs had to come out of the county’s general fund, as TABOR funds are not allowed to be used for distribution costs.

By The Numbers

212,874 checks

$200,000 in postage costs

$7 average check amount

$0.01 smallest check amount

41% of checks remained uncashed as of Jan. 1

$8.7 million in county budget cuts last year

Uncashed conundrum

Jerry DiTullio, the county treasurer and public trustee, recently released some stats on how the refund distribution has gone so far. As of Jan. 1 he reports that 87,298 of the checks remain uncashed, equalling roughly $536,299.

DiTullio said some of those uncashed checks haven’t reached the right person yet, with some property owner-addresses being out of date. He added that he received a few return envelopes with not-so-nice anti-TABOR comments written on the envelope. But many others “just haven’t bothered with such a small amount.”

“Those funds just sit in perpetuity until someone comes and claims them,” DiTullio said.

He suggested check recipients donate the money to a charity or add the amount to a tip, to benefit the community, instead of it not benefiting anyone.

TABOR Take Two

The early estimates from the Treasurer’s Department indicates that 2020 taxes collected by the county in 2021 will be even higher over the TABOR limit according to DiTullio.

It will be up to the Board of County Commissioners whether to ask voters to keep the money, or to refund it again.

For help

If you need assistance, either receiving your check, or getting it cashed, contact the Treasurers Department at 303-271-8337

There is more information about TABOR at jeffco.us/3994/What-is-TABOR