Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Category

Colorado: Let’s Implement a 1207800% Marginal Tax Rate!

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

Consider two taxpayers who enjoy gambling; both are single and residents of Colorado.  Both are amateur gamblers who earn $100,000 of wage income and rent.  Joe Unlucky broke dead even in his gambling, winning $299,000 (using the session method) and losing $299,000.  When he files his 2022 tax returns, he has a federal refund of $3,238 and a Colorado refund of $490.

Larry Lucky fared a little better: He had $301,000 of gambling winnings and $301,000 of gambling losses.  When he files his 2022 tax returns, he has the identical federal refund of $3,238.  However, he owes Colorado a whopping $11,632.  What caused Larry to have a ridiculous marginal tax rate of 606.1% on the additional $2,000 of gross winnings?

For 2022, Colorado implemented a $30,000 reduction in itemized deductions for taxpayers whose Adjusted Gross Income exceeds $400,000 and who itemize their deductions.  (The reduction is $60,000 if married filing jointly.)  Larry faced this; Joe didn’t.  Larry ends up with that 606.1% marginal tax rate on $2,000 of “winnings!”  Remember, Larry broke even so he really didn’t win anything.

I could have made this illustration even more ridiculous.  It truly is a hard cliff: If Joe had $300,000 of wins and losses he would have refunds of $3,238 from the IRS and $490 from Colorado; if Larry had $300,001 of wins and losses he would have the same federal refund of $3,238 but would owe Colorado $11,588.   That’s an insane marginal tax rate of 1,207,800% on the additional dollar of income!

Hard cliffs cause taxpayers to make decisions that are correct for themselves but bad for the economy.  Consider if Larry and Joe had their own businesses, each earning around $400,000 a year.  Assume both have net income of $399,000 right at year-end and have the opportunity for an additional $2,000 of net income.  There is no circumstance where it makes sense for them–if they reside in Colorado–to obtain that income in the year; they would be facing a tax rate of more than 100%.

Proposals like what passed in Colorado sound good, feel good (let’s tax the rich), but end up with perverse economic results.  Hopefully the Colorado legislature will fix this for the future.

Colorado Voters to Get the Chance to Add 10% Payroll Tax for Single-Payer Health Insurance

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Colorado voters will get the chance to add a 10% payroll tax next year to fund universal health insurance. The 10% payroll tax–which is on top of all other federal and state taxes–would be on employees pay. Self-employed individuals would owe 10% of their net income (presumably their Schedule C income).

Of course, one has to wonder if Colorado voters will approve a plan to tax themselves in this manner. Proponents say that, “ColoradoCare would slash administrative costs of private insurance and negotiate bulk rates for pharmaceuticals.” Really? The government will be more efficient than private industry? Let’s just say I have my doubts.

In any case, I suspect that voters will look at a 10% tax increase and say, “You must be kidding.” This will certainly drive anti-tax voters to the polls next year.

Colorado Voters Reject Tax Increase

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Colorado voters had a chance to increase taxes drastically. Amendment 66, which would have made Colorado’s taxes very progressive (with far higher taxes impacting most citizens), was defeated. With about half the votes cast, the no’s were leading by 66% to 34%.

The initiative was sponsored the the teachers union and was strongly supported by Democrats including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The supporters outspent those opposed; however, it appears not to have mattered with Colorado voters.

Coloradans Have a Chance to Increase Business…In Utah, Idaho and Other Neighboring States

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Colorado Seal

It’s an off year for elections, but Coloradans have a chance to help neighboring states: Amendment 66 on the state ballot would increase taxes in Colorado. Colorado’s current income tax is a flat 4.63%; the ballot initiative would increase this to 5% on the first $75,000 of income and 5.9% above that. Shock of shocks, the initiative is supported by teachers…because they want pay increases because they want better education for children through lower class sizes and better paid trained teachers.

The initiative only increases individual income taxes, but today most businesses are flow-through entities. These are partnerships, LLCs (my business is an LLC), and S-Corporations. They pay taxes on the individual level and generally not on the corporate level. What happens when taxes goes up? Let’s put it bluntly: It’s not good for the economy overall. Private industry is far more efficient than the government, so when taxes go up, overall the economy suffers. The Tax Foundation today released a report that mirrors my thinking on this.

The voters of Colorado will get to decide this on November 5th.

Psychic Help Wasn’t Good for Clients, but Was Great for the Psychic…Until Caught

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I’ve been told that a psychic is supposed to know and foretell the future. Nancy Marks was a psychic in Lafayette, Colorado. She had a unique–and quite illegal–method of obtaining income.

She warned her clients that there was evil lurking in the money in their bank accounts. The only way to get rid of the “bad energy” was to withdraw the money and for her to hold onto the funds. There were too many instances of the number “6” in their accounts and credit cards. Why, there at least one in ten numbers on their statements was “6”. [I made that last line up, but it goes to show the ridiculousness of this whole line of thought.]

In any case, Ms. Marks did know what to do with the money that was withdrawn and given to her: She spent it. There’s another word for spending others’ money without permission: theft. Added to that is not paying tax on that money (tax evasion). Ms. Marks was convicted last week of 14 counts of theft and two counts of tax evasion.

Of course, I do have to ask the obvious question: If Ms. Marks was truly a psychic, didn’t she know that she’d get caught in the end?

Denver Madam Pleads Guilty

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Late last year, I reported on Brenda Stewart. Ms. Stewart owned Denver Sugar and Denver Players, a prostitution ring that, per the Denver Post, catered to the high-end of Denver society.

The problem for Ms. Stewart wasn’t the call-girl ring; rather, it was what she did not do with the profits. She forgot that you do need to pay taxes on all income, even income from being a call girl.

This past week Ms. Stewart changed her plea. In a plea bargain, she pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion; in return, the government dropped 69 other charges (racketeering, money laundering, and witness tampering). She also agreed to make restitution of $45,000 in back taxes and penalties.While Ms. Stewart could receive up to five years at ClubFed, it’s far more likely she’s looking at one year at ClubFed.

Tax Amenesty in Colorado this Fall

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Seal of Colorado

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill authorizing a tax amnesty in Colorado. The amnesty period will be from October 1st to November 15th. It applies to any tax debt owed as of December 31, 2010. Additionally, if the Colorado Department of Revenue has begun collection activities on the tax, that tax is ineligible for the amnesty.

Further details will likely be released the Colorado Department of Revenue as the amnesty period approaches.

Denver “High-End” Madam Indicted on Tax Evasion Charges

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Somehow tax evasion goes hand-in-hand with strip clubs and escort services. And if the government is correct in its allegations, a Denver madam will soon have plenty of time at ClubFed to reflect on this.

Brenda Stewart apparently owned Denver Sugar/Denver Players. Ms. Stewart began as an employee and then bought the business. Unfortunately, if the indictment is accurate, her business methods were both unusual and illegal.

Ms. Stewart allegedly didn’t bother sending most of her employees 1099s or W-2s. She also allegedly didn’t bother filing a 2006 tax return and understated her 2005 income on that return. Ms. Stewart allegedly created a second company, Phoenix Media and Consulting, LLC. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, she’s alleged to have used that company to shield some of her income from her businesses and not report it. There’s a lot wrong with that (if proved).

As I keep saying, there’s something about strip club owners (and escort service owners) and tax evasion. They go together very well. As usual, it’s a whole lot easier to just pay your taxes…even if you’re an escort service owner.

Colorado Loves California Day

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

A news story out of Denver notes:

Colorado lawmakers were incredulous after Gov. Bill Ritter declared that today is “Colorado Loves California Day.”

Republican Rep. Jim Kerr of Littleton said, “Are you kidding me,” after he found out it wasn’t a joke.

Rep. Kerr apparently doesn’t understand that California businesses pay high taxes, face high regulations, and must operate in an unfriendly business environment. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation ran an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times touting Denver.

However, I’m annoyed with Metro Denver. They sent chocolate valentines to Fortune 500 companies and ‘clean tech businesses’ in California but I didn’t get any. I’m a chocoholic, and I feel spurned!

In any case, as the budget situation likely deteriorates this summer in Sacramento, expect more businesses to flee California. Some will definitely land in Denver.