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Bill aims to help Colorado businesses navigate tax codes (and here's how you can, too)

A new bill sponsored by state Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp would force the state to create a simplified system for businesses to submit sales and use tax payments.

DENVER — Not everything that happens at the Colorado State Capitol gets covered because well - not everything is that interesting.

"There is somebody in my district who has said to me, Tracy does not do the sexy bills, but she does the things that need to get done, and that's this bill," said Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada).

SB19-006, the not-so-sexy bill that she is sponsoring, would force the state to create a simplified system for businesses to submit sales and use tax payments.

"This is how the cities and counties get paid. This is how we pay for our roads. This is how we pay for our schools," said Kraft-Tharp.

"I am confident that many cities are not getting all the revenue," said Edward Rothschild, owner of three AlphaGraphics locations in the Denver metro area. "If the address is a new location we haven't shipped to before, my manager or I have to go in and set that sales tax system up in our system, so it can be used in the future. It's not a simple process."

If someone buys an item in a brick-and-mortar store, they pay the sales tax for where that store is located. If they buy it online and have it shipped to their home, they have to pay the sales tax for where they live.

"Just as an example, if I shipped letterhead to a business (in Brighton), I should have a sales tax license and be submitting the sales tax, but if I ship that letterhead once a year, for $100, it's hardly worth my while to do that, so I don't. And many businesses feel the same way," said Rothschild.

If state lawmakers pass the bill to create a system where businesses need to simply fill in blanks, Rothschild thinks communities will start getting the money they might be missing out on.

"This makes it easier because it's a portal that the state will develop where we can get our license for all those communities, we can submit all our taxes through that portal and that database will be simpler to use so that we can collect the right sales tax rate," said Rothschild.

Businesses can use different websites to verify the amount of sales tax that is supposed to be collected based on location. One of those sites is this one.

If you type in your address, you can see how much sales tax you'll pay if you buy something online and have it shipped to your home. You can also see which entities get different portions of your sales tax.

If you want to shop around and know where you can physically pick up your item and get the best deal, you can type in the address to that store.

For example, a $200 item bought...

  • At the Pearl Street Mall will cost you an additional 8.845 percent in sales tax. That means the total will be $217.69.
  • At Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, there's an 8.31 percent sales tax rate, which means it will cost $216.62.
  • At Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, it will cost $213.63.
  • At Southwest Plaza in Littleton, the final cost will be $213.

Here are the addresses (or nearby addresses) of popular shopping centers and the sales tax that applies.

  • Pearl Street Mall: 1942 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302: 8.845%
  • Denver Premium Outlets: 13801 Grant St., Thornton, CO 80023: 8.5%
  • Outlets at Silverthorne: 246-V Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne, CO 80498: 8.375%
  • Cherry Creek Mall: 3000 East 1st Avenue, Denver, CO 80206: 8.310%
  • Northfield Stapleton: 8340 Northfield Boulevard, Denver, CO 80238: 8.310%
  • Flatiron Crossing: One West Flatiron Crossing Dr., Broomfield, CO 80021: 8.160%
  • Belmar: 464 S. Teller St. Lakewood, CO 80226: 8%
  • Southlands: 6155 S. Main St., Aurora, CO 80016: 8%
  • Town Center at Aurora: 14200 E. Alameda Ave, Aurora, CO 80012: 8%
  • Outlets at Castle Rock: 5050 Factory Shops Blvd., Castle Rock, CO 80108: 7.9%
  • Colorado Mills: 14500 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, CO 80401: 7.500%
  • Greeley Mall: 2050 Greeley Mall, Greeley, CO 80631: 7.010%
  • Park Meadows Mall: 8401 Park Meadows Center Dr., Lone Tree, CO 80124: 6.813%
  • Shops at SouthGlenn: 6991 S. Vine St., Centennial, CO 80122: 6.750%
  • Promenade Shops at Centerra: 5971 Sky Pond Dr., Loveland, CO 80538: 6.7%
  • Southwest Plaza: 8501 W. Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO 80123: 6.500%

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