Economy, Gold Dome, Taxes

Number of "balance due" letters from Dept of Revenue spike

Photo: Todd Shepherd
Photo: Todd Shepherd

The number of “balance due” letters sent out to taxpayers by the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) has shot up by about 40 percent in the last two years.

According to press releases, the number of balance due letters sent out by the DOR has progressed as such:

  • 70 thousand in 2013 (for tax year 2012 filings)
  • 90 thousand in 2014 (for tax year 2013 filings), and
  • 100 thousand in 2015 (for tax year 2014 filings)

The increase in balance due letters comes at a time when the national economy is thought to be recovering – even if recovering more slowly than from previous recessions – and unemployment in the state is generally thought to be decreasing. If both of those ideas are correct, it might reasonably follow that more taxpayers would be paying their full tax amount, and doing so on time.

However, when asked for an explanation in the increase in letters, the Department offered none. Ro Silva, a manager in the DOR Office of Public Information and Education division said by email, “The Department does not analyze data to provide this type of information.”

In response to a Colorado Open Records Act request, the DOR did provide a spreadsheet that contained detailed categorical breakouts of the types of letters generated by DOR, but the data in the spreadsheet only spanned from 2009 to 2011. In this instance, the DOR had already run the report for those dates, and therefore had to provide the document in response to the open records request.

When Complete Colorado asked DOR to run a similar report for the same data including 2011 to present, the DOR declined to do so.

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