Finance

OpenBook COS

OpenBook COS is the Mayor’s initiative to provide financial transparency to our community.

The City of Colorado Springs provides this OpenBook experience to help the community understand how their tax dollars are collected and spent.

OpenBudget

Launch OpenBudget

OpenBudget is your app to explore our government’s financial health, strategy, and operations.

Open Data

The City of Colorado Springs is committed to financial transparency. Download or connect directly to this data exported monthly from the City’s financial system.

Terms of Use

  • Compare budgeted revenue and spending to actual amounts
  • Understand historical spending patterns
  • Visualize and share important financial information

Finance Glossary

Accrual Basis of Accounting – The basis of accounting that records revenue at the time earned and expenses when incurred, rather than when collected or paid. 

 

Affordable Care Act – On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law. The law, and changes made to the law by subsequent legislation, focuses on provisions to expand coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care delivery system. Due to the complexity of the changes, requirements have been phased in over the last 4 years and additional requirements must be met for 2015 and beyond.

 

Allocated Administrative Costs – Allocates the cost of general administrative departments that are required to manage the City and provide support to all funds.

 

Annual Budget – A plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures.  The budget is the financial plan for the City's allocation of resources to provide services, accomplish the City's goals and objectives, and perform activities.

 

Appropriation – The legal authorization given by City Council to spend funds that have been designated for a specific purpose.

 

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was instituted in February of 2009 as a direct response to the economic crisis.  This funding was designed to stimulate economic activity and long-term growth, create and retain jobs, and provide transparency for government spending.

 

Arterial Roadway Fund – Fees paid by landowners provide funding for the cost of constructing/ expanding freeway, expressway, and major or minor arterial roadway bridges.

 

Assigned Fund Balance – This describes the portion of fund balance that reflects the City’s intended use of resources.  This authority rests with the Mayor and is delegated to staff through the use of encumbrances.

 

Balanced Budget – A budget in which revenue sources are identified to balance with expenditures for services provided in a specific fiscal year.

 

Ballfield Capital Improvements Fund – Fees paid by softball and baseball teams upon league registration provide funding for maintenance and improvements to baseball and softball fields throughout the city.

 

Banning Lewis Ranch Fund – General Annexer Obligation Fee, BLR Parkway, or Interchange Fees provide funding to reimburse those annexers who construct shared infrastructure or who fulfill Annexation Agreement obligations identified as reimbursable shared obligations within the BLR Annexer Shared Infrastructure Study.

 

Basis of Accounting – The City’s annual budget is developed using the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the budgetary basis of accounting.  GAAP is determined on a modified accrual basis and budgetary is determined on an accrual basis.

 

Beginning Fund Balance – The unexpended amount in a fund at fiscal year-end that is available for appropriation in the next fiscal year.

 

Bicycle Tax Fund – A sales tax on the purchase of all new and used bicycles purchased in the city provides funding for maintenance repair and expansion of the city’s bikeway system.

 

Business Improvement District (BID) – District created under Colorado Revised Statutes § 31-25-1201 et. seq. to finance public improvements and/or provide services within identified primarily non-residential areas.  BIDs typically derive most of their revenue from a property tax, and they have the authority to issue debt.

 

Cable Franchise – Pursuant to franchise agreements approved by City Council, cable subscriber fees provide funding to the City for information technology strategic needs; to Southern Colorado Educational Televisions Consortium (SCETC) to continue operating their network and production truck; and to SpringsTV for implementation, equipment maintenance, staffing and communication needs.

 

Capital Improvement – A project of relatively high monetary value (at least $50,000), long life (at least five years), and the outcome of the project results in the creation of a fixed asset or a significant revitalization that upgrades and extends the useful life of a fixed asset.

 

Capital Improvements Program (CIP) – An annual updated plan of capital expenditures for public facilities and infrastructure (buildings, streets, etc.) with estimated costs, sources of funding, and schedule of work over a five-year period.  A five-year plan is included as required by the Charter.

 

Capital Outlay – A major object category that includes expenditures for land purchase, buildings (purchase or construction), improvements other than building (purchase or construction), or equipment and furniture with a unit cost in excess of $500.

 

Certificates of Participation (COPs) – A type of financing in which an investor purchases a share of the lease revenue of an agreement made by a municipal or governmental entity, rather than the bond being secured by those revenue.

 

City Health Foundation – Lease payments made to the City’s Memorial Health System Fund by the University of Colorado Health system provide funding to the City Health Foundation to address health issues in the City of Colorado Springs. 

 

Committed Fund Balance – This represents the portion of fund balance whose use is constrained by limitations that the City imposes on itself by City Council (highest decision making level) and remains binding unless removed in the same manner.  The City does not use committed funds in its normal course of business.

  • Requires action by City Council to commit fund balance
  • Formal City Council action is necessary to impose, remove or modify a constraint reflected in the committed fund balance

 

Committed Revenue (Prior Year) – Committed revenue includes budgeted draws or contributions from fund balance, multi-year project balance carry-forward, and purchase order carry-forward amounts.

 

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Federal grant funds dedicated for programs and activities which primarily benefit low and moderate-income families, individuals, and neighborhoods. Programs include but are not limited to housing rehabilitation, affordable housing development and preservation, human service activities, and capital improvement activities.

 

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – This report is commonly known as the annual Audit and is completed by an independent certified public accounting firm for the Finance Department.  It contains information regarding all general-purpose financial statements for revenue and expenditures, selected financial and demographic information, and amortization of long-term debt and selected investment portfolio data.

 

Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) – This fund provides funding that can be used for the acquisition, development, and maintenance of new conservation sites or for capital improvements or maintenance for recreational purposes on any public site.  This fund gets its money from the Colorado Lottery. 

 

Contingency – An account established for the purpose of meeting unanticipated requirements.

 

Cost Allocation Plan – A cost allocation plan is a financial model that identifies and distributes citywide indirect costs to benefiting departments.  These indirect costs are those expenses that benefit multiple departments, programs, or activities.  Examples of these indirect costs include Accounting, Human Resources, and Information Technology.

 

Debt Service – Payment of interest and principal on an obligation resulting from the issuance of bonds.

 

Development Authority – The Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority, which has been created under Colorado Revised Statutes § 31-25-801 et. seq. to provide public facilities and service specific to an identified downtown area.  DDAs have the authority to levy property taxes, issue debt and utilize tax increment financing (TIF).

 

Efficiency – A ratio between input (resources) and output (production).

 

Efficiency Measure -   A ratio of the amount of input (or cost) to the amount of output (or outcome)

 

Emergency Shelter Act Grant (ESG) – Federal grant funds dedicated for programs and activities which primarily benefit low and moderate-income families, individuals, and neighborhoods.  Programs include but are not limited to housing rehabilitation, affordable housing development and preservation, human service activities, and capital improvement activities.

 

Enterprise Fund – A fund that pays for its costs of operations, predominantly from user fees, and does not generally receive property tax support.

 

Expenditure – The actual outlay of or obligation to pay cash.

 

Fiscal Year – A 12-month period at the beginning of which the City implements a new budget based on expected revenue and expenditures and at the end of which the City determines its financial positions and the results of its operations.  The City of Colorado Springs' fiscal year coincides with the calendar year January 1 through December 31.

 

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) – 40-hour per week position on an ongoing basis that is specifically authorized for ongoing funding by classification in the annual budget.  Two half-time positions equal one FTE.

 

Fund – A budgetary and fiscal accounting mechanism for designating a sum of money or other resources set aside for the purpose of providing services and achieving objectives in accordance with state and local laws, regulations, or other limitations.  Each fund constitutes an independent budgetary, fiscal, and accounting entity.

 

Fund Balance – The balance remaining in a fund after expenditures have been subtracted from revenue.

 

Geographic Information System (GIS) – A computer-based mapping and analytical tool.  GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps.  These abilities distinguish GIS from other information systems and make it valuable to a wide range of public and private enterprises for explaining events, predicting outcomes, and planning strategies.

 

General Fund – A fund used to account for all general purpose activities of the City supported by City taxes and other non-dedicated revenue such as license and permit fees, user charges, etc.  This fund includes all traditional municipal expenditures such as Public Safety, Parks, and Transportation with the exception of those accounted for elsewhere.

 

General Improvement District (GID) – District created under Colorado Revised Statutes § 31-25-601 et. seq. to finance public improvements in commercial or residential areas.  GIDs are governed by City Council as their ex officio board.  They ordinarily derive their revenue from a property tax, and they have the authority to issue debt.

 

General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) – These bonds are typically issued to finance government improvements benefiting the community as a whole and are secured by an unlimited tax levy of the issuer.

 

Gift Trust Fund – Donations made to the City by private individuals or businesses provide funding for the specific purpose designated by the donor.

 

Goals – A defined goal of a department/division objective with outcomes measured or completed by a determined timeframe that achieve the Mayor’s goals for the City.

 

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) – The purpose of the GFOA is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and best practices and promoting their use through education, training, facilitation of member networking, and leadership.

 

Grants Fund – Various grants as well as any anticipated interest earnings including SAFETEA-LU and FTA grant funds, among others, provide funding for grant activities as approved by City Council, plus interest earnings for those grants eligible to earn and spend interest income.

 

Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) – A State fund that receives revenue from the State-imposed excise taxes on gasoline and special fuels as well as various motor vehicle registration, title, and license fees and taxes.

 

Home Investment Partnership Act (HOME) – Federal grant funds dedicated for programs and activities which primarily benefit low and moderate-income families, individuals, and neighborhoods.  Programs include but are not limited to housing rehabilitation, affordable housing development and preservation, human service activities, and capital improvement activities.

 

HOPE III – Federal grant funds dedicated for home ownership programs to benefit low and moderate-income families.

 

Human Services – These programs address emergency care and shelter, youth, and self-sufficiency services.  The City currently funds these community programs with the City’s General Fund and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

 

Infrastructure – The underlying foundation or basic framework of the City’s physical assets, buildings, roadways, etc.

 

Internal Service Funds – Internal Service Funds are used to account for the financing of goods or services provided by one department to other City departments on a cost-reimbursement basis.  The divisions include Fleet, Office Services, and Radio.

 

Journal Entry - Some transactions are initially spent from one account/fund/department but are more appropriate to be spent using another designation. In these cases, the City uses "journal entries" to move an expense to a different designation. Rather than delete data from a previous month, the City maintains transparency by showing the journal entry transferring an expense from one designation to another.

 

Key Measures – An indicator that measures the degree of accomplishment of a department’s or division’s mission. The major types are as follows:

 

Output Measure - A quantity of work performed

 

Outcome Measure -   Events, occurrences, or conditions that indicate progress towards achievement of the mission and objectives of a program

 

Lease-Purchase Agreement – An agreement between the governmental agency and a private sector vendor to purchase or lease equipment or facilities rather than purchase them outright.

 

Level of Effort – The level of funding the City committed to maintain for public safety, transportation-related maintenance, and transit after the passage of the Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST) in November 2001 and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) in November 2004.

 

Levy – The total amount of taxes, special assessments, or service charges imposed by a government.

 

Local Improvement District (LID) – District authorized under City Code (Chapter 3, Article 5) for the purpose of assessing certain properties in order to finance specified public improvements that benefit them.  LIDs are component entities of the City and its budget.

 

Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART) Fund – Revenue resulting from the City’s 2% lodging and 1% automobile rental tax are deposited into the LART Fund.  Revenue not otherwise obligated may be used for the acquisition, construction, maintenance, and operation of public infrastructure or public improvements; which constitute, in part, visitor or tourist attractions.  Revenue may also be appropriated for economic development activities as determined by City Council.

 

Lottery – See Conservation Trust Fund.

 

Memorial Health System Enterprise Fund – Lease payments received from University of Colorado Health system provide funding to the City Health Foundation to address health issues in the City of Colorado Springs.

 

Metropolitan District – A district with two or more purposes created under Colorado Revised Statutes § 32-1-101 et. seq. for commercial or residential areas and chartered by a service plan approved by City Council.  Subject to the service plan, metropolitan districts have broad potential authorities including the levying of property taxes, issuance of debt for public improvements, and operations and maintenance.

 

Mill – A mill is equal to one one-thousandth (1/1,000) of a dollar of assessed valuation of property.

 

Modified Accrual Basis of Accounting – A type of accounting which records revenue when measurable and available and expenses when the liability is incurred.

 

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit (aka Municipal Stormwater Discharge Permit) – In response to the impacts of urbanization on Water Quality, the United States Congress passed the Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended, which prohibits the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States unless said discharges are compliant with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.  The City of Colorado Springs was issued a municipal stormwater discharge permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on October 12, 1997, which allows the City to convey stormwater through its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s).

 

 Old City Hall – Until December 1997, this facility was the location of the Municipal Court operations. Funding was obtained in 2000 to renovate this historic building for occupancy late in 2001.  The building houses the City Council and the City Auditor’s Office.

 

Operating Budget – The annual expenditures for the routine, ongoing activities and work program of a department or division as opposed to budgets which may also be established for capital projects, grant-funded projects, and other activities of a nonpermanent nature.

 

Outsourcing – Contracting with private companies to provide the same level of services while reducing personnel costs.

 

Overmatch Funding – The Pikes Peak Area of Council Governments (PPACG) engages in a process to prioritize projects for state and federal transportation funding; and in 2007, an overmatch component was added.  Overmatch is funding in excess of the required match (typically 20%) that local communities are willing to put toward their high priority transportation-related projects.  Because there is reduced state and federal funding available, competition for these funds is greater.  In order to get the most projects with the available state and federal funds, PPACG now considers overmatch funds when determining where these dollars will be dedicated.

 

Park Land Dedication Ordinance (PLDO) – Commonly referred to as PLDO for the City Council ordinance (City Code 7.7.12) that provides for the policy and fees paid by developers in lieu of land dedication for the development of parks and open space in new subdivisions.

 

Pay-as-You-Go for Capital Improvements – A process in which capital improvements are paid from current revenue.

 

Permanent Funds – These funds account for assets held by the City in a trustee capacity or as an agent for other agencies, individuals, private organizations, or governmental units. Included in this category are non-expendable trust funds and agency funds.

 

Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) – Authority approved by voters in November 2004, which resulted in a 1% sales and use tax increase effective January 1, 2005, for the City of Colorado Springs, the unincorporated areas of El Paso County, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, and the Town of Ramah to fund transportation capital projects and maintenance.  In November 2012, Voters approved an extension of PPRTA to 2024.  PPRTA may be also referenced as RTA throughout the Budget document.

 

Public Safety Sales Tax Fund (PSST) – On November 6, 2001, voters approved Ballot Question 4, which authorized a City of Colorado Springs Sales and Use Tax rate increase of 0.4% to be used to fund public safety operating and capital improvement needs.

 

Public Space and Development Fund – The fund for collection of fees paid by developers in lieu of land dedication for the development parks and open space in new subdivisions (commonly referred to as PLDO).

 

Rebudgeted Revenue – The amount of revenue from the previous year due to the receipt of unbudgeted revenue and/or the receipt of revenue exceeding the budgeted amount.

 

Restricted Fund Balance – This represents the portion of fund balance that is subject to externally enforceable legal restrictions.  Such restrictions are typically imposed by parties altogether outside the City such as creditors, grantors, contributors or other governments.  Restrictions can also arise when the authorization to raise revenues is conditioned upon the revenue being used for a particular purpose. 

 

Retailers Fee – The reimbursement for sales tax collections.  This was budgeted for the first time in 2006 and is the result of an accounting change.  This expenditure is offset by a matching increase in revenue.  This is also referred to as the Vendors Fee.

 

Revenue – Money received by the City during the fiscal year, which includes taxes, fees, charges, special assessments, grants, and other funds collected that support the services the City provides.

 

Revenue Bonds – Bonds issued by a public agency authorized to build, acquire, or improve a revenue-producing property and payable out of revenue derived from such property.

 

Road and Bridge Tax – A County fund that receives revenue from all taxable property located within the county (El Paso County) and subsequently disburses the allotted share to the municipalities located within the county for the specific purpose of construction and maintenance of roads and streets located within its corporate boundaries (see Colorado Revised Statues [C.R.S. 43-2-202, 203]).

 

RTASee PPRTA.

 

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act-Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) – The federal and state governments provide grants to local governments for approved regional transportation-related projects such as bridge replacement, installation of additional traffic signals, road widening, etc.  These grants usually award 80% of the total project cost - provided the City can fund the local 20% share.  This program was originally authorized in 1996 and was called the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA).  It was then reauthorized as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998 and reauthorized again in 2004 as SAFETEA-LU.

 

Sales Tax Revenue Bonds – Those bonds issued to finance various capital improvement projects that have a definable revenue base.  These bonds are secured by the City Sales Tax revenue.

 

Special District – A general term intended to encompass a variety of special purpose districts including but not limited to metropolitan districts, general improvement districts (GIDs), business improvement districts (BIDs), limited improvement districts (LIDs), and special improvement maintenance districts (SIMDs).

 

Special Improvement Maintenance District (SIMD) – District authorized under City Code (Chapter 3, Article 7) formed primarily by developers and business owners to provide for maintenance of public improvements of general benefit to the residents or owners within their boundaries.  Most SIMDs levy a property tax, and they cannot issue debt.

 

Special Revenue Funds – Special Revenue Funds are used to account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources (other than major capital projects) that are legally restricted to expenditures for specific purposes.

 

Springs Community Improvements Program (SCIP) – A capital improvements process implemented in 1998 that engaged citizens in identifying, prioritizing, and funding over $110 million in infrastructure projects to improve the community.

 

Strategic Plans (previously known as the Strategic Action Plan) – The Mayor’s Strategic Plan is comprised of goals and objectives that set priorities for resource allocation, establishes policy guidelines, and provides governance direction.  Also as directed in the City Charter, each year, City Council determines its areas of priority for the following year and provides them to the Mayor for consideration in the development of the municipal budget.

 

Street Tree Fund – Owner and developer fees collected at the time a building permit is issued along with a City match provide funding for a program to plant and care for new trees in previously underdeveloped lots.

 

Subdivision Drainage Fund – Fees charged to subdivision developers provide funding for the construction of storm sewers and other facilities in the designated subdivision for the drainage and flood control of surface water.

 

Surplus Utility Revenue – In accordance with the City Charter, surplus revenue generated by sales of electric and gas services inside the City shall be transferred to the City’s General Fund.

 

TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) – An amendment to the Colorado Constitution (also referred to as Amendment I) approved by voters in 1992 that essentially limits annual growth in local government revenue to the combined percentage change in the Denver/Boulder/Greeley Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the net change in the local property tax base due to new construction.  Revenue received above and beyond the annual revenue cap established by TABOR must either be refunded to city residents or retained upon voter approval.

 

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – Tax increment financing is a method of redistributing tax collections within a designated area to finance public infrastructure improvements within the specified geographic area.  Infrastructure improvements may include upgraded on-site drainage systems, adjacent intersection/roadway capacity/pedestrian improvements, etc. 

 

Trails, Open Space, Parks (TOPS) Initiative – The Trails, Open Space, and Parks (TOPS) revenue is generated from a 0.1% sales and use tax adopted by voters in April 1997, extended by voters in 2003, and set to expire in 2025.  The majority of funds are designated for open space purchases and associated maintenance, development and maintenance of trails, and development and maintenance of parks. 

 

Unrestricted Fund Balance –The GFOA recommended, at a minimum, that general-purpose governments, regardless of size, incorporate in its financial policies that unrestricted fund balance in their general fund be no less than two months of regular General Fund operating revenues or regular General Fund operating expenditures.  The City’s goal target range for General Fund Reserve – Unrestricted Fund Balance is 16.67 % to 25% of the following year’s expenditure budget.  The target for the unrestricted General Fund balance would exclude the TABOR emergency reserves but include other categories of fund balance that are committed, assigned or unassigned.

 

 

User Fees – The payment of a fee for direct receipt of a public service by the person benefiting from the service.

 

Utilities Staff Share – The portion of a General Fund function, department, or unit cost chargeable to Colorado Springs Utilities.

 

Vendors Fee – See Retailers Fee

Sales Tax FAQ

FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about City of Colorado Springs sales and use taxes. The City of Colorado Springs is a 'home rule' city and is authorized to levy and collect its own sales tax. The State of Colorado collects the State and El Paso County sales tax.

What is sales tax?

The sales tax is a transaction tax levied upon sales, purchases, and leases of tangible personal property and taxable services sold or leased by persons engaged in business in the City. The sales tax is collected by the retailer or lessor and remitted to the City.

When do I need a sales tax license?

A sales tax license must be obtained by any person engaged in the business of selling and/or leasing at retail within the City.

How much is the sales tax license?

$20.00 - January 1- June 30 of the even-number year

$15.00 - July 1 - December 31 of the even-number year

$10.00 - January 1- June 30 of the odd-number year

$  5.00 - July 1 - December 31 of the odd-number year

 

Can I file my return online?

Yes. In the search box located in the upper right hand corner of this page type  "SALES TAX ONLINE SERVICES"  this will take you to the hyperlink of our online services where you are able to file a sales tax return or apply for a new sales tax license. 

I only plan on selling my product for a few days. Do I still need a license?

Yes, you will need a temporary sales tax license. The application for a temporary license  can be mailed to our office along with payment for the license fee and cash deposit. For quicker processing, you can bring the application into our office where we can process it immediately and assign you a temporary license number. A copy of the license should be maintained by the vendor as proof of licensing. The license fee is $20.00. Please call the office to determine the cash deposit amount before mailing. Our mailing address is: Sales Tax Division, P.O. Box 1575, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1575. Additional questions can be answered by contacting the Sales Tax Department at (719) 385-5903.

I plan on having a garage sale. Do I still need a license? Am I required to collect sales tax?

City zoning requirements restrict garage sales to two per household per year, and they are limited to two days in length per garage sale. The first $300 of sales per year at a garage sale are exempt from City sales tax. If sales do not exceed $300 in a year, a sales tax license is not required, and City sales tax does not have to be collected.

When are my taxes due?

All returns are due on the 20th of the month following the reporting period. A return must be filed even if there is no liability.

If I am late in filing my return, is there a penalty?

If the return is filed after the 20th you must add a 10 percent penalty and interest at the applicable rate.  Please call 385-5903 for the current interest rate.

What is use tax?

If you purchase furniture, fixtures, equipment (not inventory) or supplies for use, storage or consumption in the City without paying the City sales tax you owe a use tax. You owe one or the other, not both. The use tax is paid directly to the City by you, the consumer. For example, if you purchase office supplies from a direct mail catalog company outside the City and the sales tax is not collected by the seller, you must pay use tax directly to the City. Transactions specifically exempt from the City sales tax are also exempt from the City use tax.

What is a use tax account?

Any business that purchases tangible personal property for its own use, storage or consumption without the payment of the City sales tax must apply to the City for a Use Tax Account.

Is there a fee for the use tax account?

No. The account is free. 

What is a Public Improvement Fee? (PIF)

Public Improvement Fees are not a sales tax. They are not administered or collected by the City of Colorado Springs.

Most often PIFs are a private fee that developers require their tenants/retailers to collect from customers. This fee is collected as part of sales transactions and is generally a percentage of the sales amount.  The developer/property owner may normally implement at PIF without municipal approval.

The PIF may be used for any designated purpose but is generally used to pay for infrastructure, on-site improvements, and maintenance (examples: curbs, sidewalks, street lights, parking facilities, roads within the developed area).

Public Improvement Fees must be listed on the sales receipt as a separate line item from the sales tax.

What is the City sales or use tax rate?  

January 1, 2016 to Present - 3.12%   State of Colorado rate is 2.9%. El Paso County rate is 1.23%. Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority rate is 1%.  

How long do I have to keep my sales and use tax records?

Generally, you must maintain books and records for a period of 36 months.

If I make a sale to a church or charitable organizations do I collect the tax?

No, but the burden of proof of exempt sales rest with you. Religious and charitable organizations within the City are required to have a letter of exemption provided by the City.

I overpaid my tax. How do I get a refund?

Any claims for refund must be made within 36 months from the time the tax was paid.

I am a contractor. Do I pay sales tax?

Yes, all construction materials purchased or used within the City are taxable. There is no exemption for jobs performed for government, religious or charitable organizations, since the contractor and/or subcontractor is the user of all tangible personal property used or consumed with the City. If City sales tax is not paid, City use tax is due.

My Business is in an enterprise zone. Can I get an exemption from the sales and use tax?

No, the City does not have an exemption from the sales or use tax in an enterprise zone.

I make tools. Do I have to collect a sales tax on my labor?

Yes, the sales or use tax is imposed on the full retail selling price of tangible personal property sold after manufacture or after having made to order.

I repair electronic equipment. Do I have to charge sales tax on labor?

No, if the bill (invoice) separates the parts used and labor expended, the tax may be charged on the parts only. Otherwise, the entire invoice amount is taxable.

I want to operate a business out of my home. Do I need a City sales tax license?

If you sell taxable property from your home in the City, you need a sales tax license to collect and remit City sales tax. If you operate a business from your home, you may need a Home Occupation Permit from the City Planning Department. Please call City Planning at (719) 385-5905 before applying for a sales tax license for more information on zoning requirements.

If  I operate a temporary business and sell merchandise on the street, do I need a City sales tax license?

If you sell taxable tangible personal property within the City you need a sales tax license. But, if you operate a temporary business and sell from private property or on the Public Right of Way you must comply with the Temporary Use Regulations in the City code. Please contact the City Planning Office at (719) 385-5905 for more information.

 

FAQs - ONLINE SERVICES

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding our online services.  Services available at this time include:

  • Apply for a Sales Tax License
  • Add a Location to an Existing License
  • File a Tax Return
  • Pay License Renewal Fee
  • Pay Statement of Account (credits cannot be used online)
  • View and Print License

Please Note:  If your mailing address is outside the United States, you will not be able to use these services.

I want to file my return on-line.  How do I do that?

You must first register by creating a new user account.  You will be asked to provide some initial information such as your name, phone number, and e-mail address.  A 10-digit phone number is required and must be entered without any characters (i.e. no dashes, spaces, periods, etc.).  You will also create a User Name and Password. After doing so, you will then be able to log in.  Logging in will permit you to file your current return. 

How do I choose a User Name?

Choose a user name that is easy for you to remember and that is unique to you or your business.  Don’t make it so complicated that you will forget it. The User Name is case sensitive, so if you use capital letters when it is created, you will need to use capital letters every time you log in.

Are there any requirements for the Password?

The only requirement is that it must be at least 6 characters.  It is recommended that you choose letters and numbers so that your password is not easily guessed by others.  The Password is case sensitive, so if you use capital letters when it is created, you will need to use capital letters every time you log in.

What happens if I forget my password?

You can reset it.  On the “Home” page of Online Services, there is a link you can click to reset your password.  Click on the link and provide the information requested.  A new password will be sent to the e-mail address you provided when you registered.

What is my Customer ID?

Your Customer ID is the account number that appears on your City of Colorado Springs Sales Tax License.  If you are currently receiving a sales tax return from our office, the Account Number is listed at the top of the form.

Why do you ask for a mailing zip code?

This helps to further authenticate your account and to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your information.

Can I have someone file and pay on my behalf?

Yes, if you have authorized that individual to do so.  They will be required to register and provide the requested information above. 

Why do I have to enter gross and net taxable sales?

Entering both ensures the information you have entered is mathematically correct.  The data may also be used to gather certain statistical reporting information.

My tax due for the filing period is less than $1.00 and my payment was rejected when I submitted payment.

Currently, you must owe at least $1.00 in sales or use tax before your payment will be accepted.  If the amount due is less than $1.00, you will have to file a paper return.

I don’t owe any tax for the filing period.  Can I file online? 

Yes.

What happens if I make a mistake when I am entering my sales tax return numbers?

Before submitting your return, you will be asked to verify that the information entered is true and correct.  You should re-check your figures at that time.  Once submitted and paid, you cannot make changes on-line.  If you need to make changes to the information submitted, please contact our office at 719-385-5903.

I file returns for multiple different customers.  Can I use the same user name and password for all accounts?

No, you must create a username and password for each separate account.

Can I file amended returns online?

No, not at this time.

I have more than one location in the City.  Can I file my consolidated return online?

Yes.

What happens if I enter my return information and decide not to pay at that time?

It is recommended that you pay your return at the time you enter the information so that you don’t forget to do so later.  However, in the event you need to exit, the information you have entered should still be visible when you log back in.  You should not have to re-enter the information. 

Why can’t I see my account history?

That option is not currently available, but we hope to offer that in the future.  If you need specific information about your account, please contact our office.

Does the City of Colorado Springs charge a convenience fee for filing online?

No.

I just applied for a sales tax license online.  When am I given my account number/Cust ID?

An account number is assigned once your application has been received in our system.  The information you provided online will be reviewed by the sales tax office and when approved, your sales tax license will be sent to the mailing address provided on the application.  Your account number is shown on the license.  Please allow 2-3 weeks for approval and mailing.

 

Sales Tax Information

File Tax Returns Online

Blank Sales Tax Returns will no longer be mailed after September 2019. Tax returns can be filed online by clicking the link below.

File Tax Returns Online

Receive Email Reminders for Sales Tax Returns

If you would like to receive email reminders for when your returns are due, please subscribe to our email reminders

Receive Tax Return Reminders

Current City Sales Tax Rate:

Current sales tax rate (effective January 1, 2016) in Colorado Springs, CO is 8.25%, broken out as follows:

  • 3.12% City of Colorado Springs (self collected)
  • 2.9% State of Colorado (state collected)
  • 1.23% El Paso County (state collected)
  • 1.0% PPRTA (state collected)

On November 3, 2015, Colorado Springs voters approved a sales and use tax rate increase of 0.62% to fund road repair, maintenance and improvements. The 0.62% road repair, maintenance, and improvements tax will expire five years from the date of implementation and will apply to all transactions that are currently taxable under the City Sales and Use Tax Ordinance.

The City of Colorado Springs sales and use tax rate was 2.50% for all transactions occurring on or before December 31, 2015.

In addition to Colorado Springs Sales Tax, the City Code imposes a 2.0% Lodger's Tax and 1.0% Auto Rental Tax to be used to attract visitors and to enhance the economy of the City and the Pikes Peak Region.

Sales Tax Payment:
City of Colorado Springs / Sales Tax
Department 2408
Denver, CO 80256-0001
 
Construction Payments / Correspondence:
City of Colorado Springs / Sales Tax
PO Box 1575, MC 225
Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1575
 
Office Location (8am-5pm, M-F)
northwest corner of Colorado and Nevada, downtown Colorado Springs
City of Colorado Springs / Sales Tax Office
30 S Nevada Avenue, Suite 203
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

File a Sales Tax Return

Originator ID (debit block) number is 1522077581. If you have a debit block on your bank account please provide this number to your bank to allow the payment to be processed when using our online services.

ONLINE - File a Sales Tax Return

Our Online Services allow you to:

  • Apply for a Sales Tax License
  • Add a location to an existing license
  • File a Tax Return
  • Pay License Renewal Fee
  • Pay Statement of Account (credits cannot be used online)
  • View and Print License

Sales and Use Tax Return

Consumer Use Tax Return (non construction)

Construction Use Tax Return (not related to ST-16A(QE) see "additional forms")

File an Amended Return:

If you discover an error on a previously filed return, you should file an amended return. An amended return must be filed within three years of the original due date of the return filed. Currently, you cannot amend or correct a prior period through our online services.

Amended Return:

Instructions, Signature Page and Amended Return

If you owe additional tax, return the completed form and payment to the City of Colorado Springs, Sales Tax, Department 2408, Denver, CO 80256-001.

If you have overpaid your tax, return the completed form to The City of Colorado Springs, Sales Tax, PO Box 1575, Mail Code 225, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1575.

City of Colorado Springs Disclosure Policies

The purpose of these Disclosure Policies (the "Policies") is to memorialize and communicate policies in connection with revenue bonds, lease-purchase agreements, and other types of obligations including, but not limited to, limited tax obligation bonds of certain general improvement districts (collectively, the "Obligations"), issued by the City, either for itself or any of its enterprises (the "Enterprises") other than the Utilities Enterprise (which has adopted its own disclosure policies), or by those General Improvement Districts created by the City Council of City for which the City Council serves as the board of directors for such (the "Districts") so as to ensure that the City, enterprises and Districts continue to comply with all applicable disclosure obligations and requirements under the federal securities laws.

Disclosure Policies

Sales Tax Reports

Sales and Use Tax Revenue Reports are prepared and released each month.  The collection month listed below represents the month the revenue was paid to the City for the filing period ending the previous month.  The filing period captures the tax collected by the retailer from their customers.

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

With the release of February 2015 report, audit revenue has been excluded to simplify the report and only to reflect current economic activity.  To facilitate relevant comparisons, the amounts from previous years have been revised to exclude audit revenue and can be found in the Statement of Comparative Tax Collections by Year.

Sales Tax Address Lookup Application

 

This application was developed to determine if an address is located within the boundaries of Colorado Springs. 

Address Lookup

  • To get started, click on the "Address Lookup"  button above to take you to the Application. 
  • Enter the address [For Example: 30 S Nevada], click Next. 
  • Select the address from the list, click Next. 
  • Finally, a box will appear stating whether that location is in the City limits or not.  This may take a few seconds.  If you receive a message that "No valid address found" please check the address and try again.

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the Sales Tax Office at (719) 385-5903.