The unique benefits of retiring in Colorado are never ending. If you're planning on spending your golden years in this stunning state, here's what you need to know about the tax benefits.
If you're planning on retiring in Colorado, the Centennial State has a lot to offer. Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, with mountains and plains stretching as far as the eye can see. And if you'd like to live at or near those majestic peaks, Colorado is a tax-friendly place to do it.
Colorado's rate income tax is one of the lowest in the nation, and property taxes are also on the low end, with a median rate that ranks among the lowest in the country. Gas taxes are also low, which means your day-to-day travel will be easier on your savings than it might be elsewhere.
Before we start, it's worth noting that even though taxes are better in Colorado, you may notice a bump in the cost of living. Depending on where you currently reside, you may need to pay a little more for some things. Here’s a look at Colorado tax laws you should know about.
Colorado Income Tax
Colorado has a flat income tax rate of 4.5% for the 2021 fiscal year, which started in July of 2020 and will end in June of 2021. The rate was lowered from 4.55% to 4.5% because of a high fiscal year revenue growth rate. The rate for 2022 is 4.55% and has proved it will be able to maintain this low tax rate throughout the remainder of the year.
In Colorado, federal Social Security benefits are fully taxable. However, up to $24,000 of Social Security benefits are excluded from your federal income tax. Additionally, up to $20,000 of retirement income is also excluded from your Colorado income tax.
In 2022, the cap on federally taxable Social Security benefits will be removed for all taxpayers 65 and over. This change will effectively make all federally taxed Social Security income deductible for taxpayers 65 and over.
Colorado Sales Tax
According to the Tax Foundation, the state levy in Colorado is 2.9%. Localities can add as much as 8.3%, and the average combined rate is 7.77%. Here are a couple other items that are taxed and tax exempt:
- Groceries: Exempt
- Clothing: Taxable
- Motor Vehicles: Taxable
- Prescription Drugs: Exempt
Colorado also includes a tax on items such as beer, wine, and liquor. These items are known as “sin-taxes”. Here is a list of some of those items and the tax that comes along with them:
- Cigarettes: $1.94 per pack; additional local taxes may also apply
- All other tobacco products: 50% of manufacturer's list price
- Beer: $0.08 per gallon
- Wine: $0.32 per gallon
- Liquor: $2.28 per gallon
- Marijuana: For retail purchases, 15% state retail marijuana sales tax and 15% excise tax, plus state and local sales taxes
Overall, Colorado has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the U.S. With a 2.90 percent state sales tax rate, a max local sales tax rate of 8.30 percent, and an average combined state and local sales tax rate of 7.77 percent.
Colorado Real Property Tax
According to the Colorado Division of Property Taxation, in Colorado, the median property tax rate is $505 per $100,000 of assessed home value. This is great news for Colorado residents 65 and older who may be eligible for a property tax exemption on their primary residence. The first $200,000 of the actual value of the home is exempt, and applicants must have owned and lived in the property for at least ten years.
For those who don't qualify for this exemption, an income tax credit of up to $1,000 is available for those age 65 or older with a federal adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less who don't claim the property tax exemption. Senior citizens may also qualify for a deferral of their property tax payments that can be paid off when they sell or otherwise transfer their property.
Full-year Colorado residents age 65 or older may qualify for the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate if they are single with an income less than $15,831 or married with a combined income less than $21,381 for 2021 (income limits are updated every year).
Please visit Tax.Colorado.gov/PTC-rebate-forms to learn more.
Individuals who do not have a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) may still be eligible for the PTC rebate. These individuals can use the Application for Alternate Identification Number (DR 0019) to apply for an alternate ID.
Colorado Inheritance and Estate Tax
Even though there is no estate tax in Colorado, you may still owe the federal estate tax. The exemption for that tax is $11.70 million for deaths in 2021 and $12.06 million in 2022. This tax is portable for married couples. That means that if the right legal steps are taken, a married couple can protect up to $24.12 million when both spouses die.
Planning an estate, in Colorado or elsewhere, isn’t easy. If you’re beginning this process – or in the midst of it – you might want to consider getting professional advice in the form of a financial advisor. You’ll want to make sure, though, that the financial advisor you are using is the right one for you.
Colorado is consistently named one of the best places to retire when it comes to taxes, financial opportunity, and health.
As you can see, colorful Colorado has a lot to offer when it comes to taxes. If you're interested in starting your retirement in Colorado, check out our pros and cons series here. It's important to look at your retirement plan and see if retiring here would benefit you. Once you have estimated the amount of money you may need for relocating in retirement, a sound approach involves taking a close look at your potential retirement-income sources and seeing how far they will stretch in your chosen state.
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we want you to know we’re here to help you navigate retirement and any questions that come up during your retirement process, including relocation opportunities. As Fiduciary advisors, it's our duty to act on your behalf in finding the right solutions for your individual wants and needs.