Sales taxes coming due for online shoppers in Colorado - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Sales taxes coming due for online shoppers in Colorado

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For online shoppers in Colorado, the taxman cometh!  Websites should begin mailing shoppers annual statements at the end of January which detail all their purchases made over the last 6 months where sales should have been collected but were not.  The Colorado Department of Revenue calls these Consumer Use Taxes and they're due by April 17.  

Under new state rules, online retailers are required to send these Annual Purchase Summaries to both individual customers and the Department of Revenue.  These unpaid taxes can be paid directly through the Colorado Department of Revenue website or by attaching them to their state income tax returns.

Local sales tax officials expect the purchase summaries statements to come as a surprise to many Coloradoans.

"It's a new one, it's a new process and so, I think they will (be surprised) and I expect that we'll be getting phone calls when those come in," said Brian Olson, Interagency Relations Officer at El Paso County. 

Colorado lawmakers passed the so-called "Amazon" tax back in 2010, but a lengthy court battle put off collection until 2016.  

Olson believes many of the big online retailers already collect sales taxes at the point of purchase and will not need to send the summary.

"The bigger ones have been collecting and I would encourage the viewers when they are out making purchases, they should be checking those things anyway just to make sure that your tax amount is correct."

While Amazon currently collects sales taxes from Colorado shoppers, many of the third party companies which sell their products on Amazon's site do not.  Customers can check whether sales taxes were collected by viewing their order history.

Olson said Walmart and Target are more likely to charge correct state and local sales taxes at the point of sale because they have what tax collectors call a "nexus" to the community. It basically means that there is a brick an mortar store somewhere in El Paso County.

How much you have to pay depends on where you live.  Shoppers who live in the City of Colorado Springs will have to pay the full 8.25 percent sales tax rate, whereas those who live in unincorporated El Paso County will have to pay 5.13 percent.

Olson explained that the Department of Revenue considers the address where an online purchase is shipped to be the physical location of that sale for taxation purposes.

The Department of Revenue will only collect sales taxes for the State of Colorado and individual counties. Shoppers who live in the City of Colorado Springs will calculate a separate 3.12 percent sales tax in order to pay the Consumer Use Taxes to the City. 


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the date that on which Consumer Use Taxes are to be paid is March 1, rather than the correct date of April 17.

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