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Income Tax Checkoffs

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Colorado taxpayers can voluntarily contribute to certain programs through the Checkoff Colorado campaign by donating a portion of their income tax refund or increasing the amount owed on their tax return.  Pursuant to Colorado law,1 each program except the homeless prevention activities and Western Slope military veteran’s cemetery programs is limited in the number of years the checkoff is available on the income tax return, unless the program is continued by the GA.

The number of checkoffs made available each year on the Colorado income tax return is limited to twenty.  Programs already on the return form have precedence over new checkoff programs.  Checkoff programs not included on the income tax return are placed in a queue to appear on the form based on the date in which the bill creating the checkoff becomes law.  There are currently no check-off programs in the queue.  Programs failing to collect sufficient donations are not offered in subsequent tax years.2

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the following program funds will be available as income tax checkoffs in the 2016 tax year:

  1. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Cash Fund;
  2. Colorado Domestic Abuse Program Fund;
  3. Homeless Prevention Activities Program Fund;
  4. Western Slope Military Veterans Cemetery Fund;
  5. Pet Overpopulation Fund;
  6. Military Family Relief Fund;
  7. Public Education Fund;
  8. Round Up River Ranch Fund;
  9. 9Health Fair Fund;
  10. Colorado for Healthy Landscapes Fund;
  11. American Red Cross Colorado Disaster Response, Readiness, and Preparedness Fund;
  12. Habitat for Humanity of Colorado Fund;
  13. Special Olympics of Colorado Fund;
  14. Colorado Youth Corps Association Fund;
  15. Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund;
  16. Alzheimer's Association Fund;
  17. Colorado Cancer Fund;
  18. Make-a-Wish Foundation of Colorado Fund;
  19. Colorado Multiple Sclerosis Fund; and
  20. Unwanted Horse Fund.

While there is an open spot available for a sixth program, the queue has been exhausted.

State Comparisons

In 1977, the Colorado Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund became the first state income tax checkoff fund in the United States. Since, checkoffs have grown in popularity across states.  According to a 2003 survey by the Federation of Tax Administrators, 220 checkoff programs were identified across 41 states and the District of Columbia for tax year 2002.  The first national checkoff program was implemented in tax year 1972, when taxpayers were allowed to designate $1 of their income tax liability to a special presidential campaign fund.


1Section 39-22-1001, C.R.S.
2Checkoff program funds must collect at least $50,000 in the first nine months of its third year on the tax return to remain on the tax return in subsequent years.  This "ramp up period" also applies to checkoffs that drop off of the return and then are brought back after at least three years of not appearing on the return.  Otherwise, programs failing to collect $50,000 in the first nine months each year are not made available on the tax return in subsequent tax years.
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