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October 31, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Bills to Save Seniors Money on Housing, Expand Wildfire Mitigation Efforts Advance

DENVER, CO - The Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning Tax Policy & Task Force today advanced bills to extend the senior housing income tax credit, exempt modular homes from sales and use taxes, and expand the wildfire mitigation tax credit and the health preceptor tax credit.

“These bills will put more money back into the pockets of Colorado seniors renting their homes, property owners trying to mitigate wildfire risk, and health care preceptors training the next generation of doctors,” said Chair Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, sponsor of Bills 1 and 10. “By increasing the tax credit for wildfire mitigation costs, we’ll make it easier and cheaper for Coloradans to protect their homes. We’re also exempting modular homes from sales and use tax and reestablishing a housing tax credit for seniors, which together will help build more affordable places to live and save Coloradans money on housing.”

“Colorado’s working families deserve a break, and the bills we’re advancing today will do just that by making it more affordable to defend homes against wildfires, bolstering our health care workforce, and allowing more Colorado seniors to stay in their homes,” said Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver, sponsor of all five bills. “I’m proud to champion these bills that will save money on housing and will make life easier for Colorado families.”

Bill 1, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Lisa Frizell and Senators Chris Hansen and Chris Kolker, would modify various tax expenditures including increasing the wildfire mitigation tax credit, doubling the health care preceptors tax credit, and exempting modular homes from sales and use tax. 

Under this bill, the Rural and Frontier Healthcare Preceptor Credit would increase from $1,000 to $2,000 and the maximum Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Expenses Tax Credit would increase from $625 to $1000.

Bill 10, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Bob Marshall and Senators Chris Hansen and Chris Kolker, reinstates a refundable income tax credit for seniors, created by HB22-1205, for the income tax year starting January 1, 2024. To qualify, you must be a Colorado resident who is 65 years old or older by the end of 2024, have a federal adjusted gross income (AGI) that is $75,000 or less for a single filer, or $150,000 or less for joint filers, and have not claimed the senior property tax exemption for the 2024 property tax year.

“This bill could save 130,000 Colorado seniors over $143 million dollars,” said Rep. Bob Marshall, D-Highlands Ranch, sponsor of Bill 10. “Seniors are particularly vulnerable when the cost of living rises because they are dependent on a set income, like their retirement savings, to cover all of their costs. Our bill ensures that seniors who cannot take advantage of the senior homestead property tax exemption because they rent their homes also receive some housing costs assistance as they age in place on fixed incomes. By advancing this bill, we’re one step closer to saving lower- and middle-income seniors thousands of dollars each, helping them combat the rising cost of living.”

“We’ve been working hard to support Colorado seniors, and especially those living on a low fixed income while renting, or who are not eligible for the senior homestead exemption, which is why I am so proud to champion this important legislation,” said Senator Chris Kolker, D-Centennial, sponsor of Bill 10. “This measure would save older Coloradans millions of dollars on housing, make our state a more affordable place to live, and ensure seniors can remain in the communities they have called home for years to come.”

Single filers with a federal AGI of $25,000 or less will receive $1,000. Joint filers with a federal AGI that is $50,000 or less will also receive $1,000. For every $500 of income above the threshold, the amount of the credit is reduced by $10.

The committee also advanced three other bills. Bill 2, in response to the SCOTUS ruling of Tyler v Hennepin County, ensures that Colorado’s laws around the recovery of unpaid property taxes on real property and mobile homes align with the Constitution by changing requirements and process for the issuance of treasurer’s deeds. 

Bill 6 modifies short-term rental definitions and directs the property tax administrator to establish and administer a program to develop a statewide database and uniform reporting system to track short-term rentals. Properties used as a residence, but only for short-term rentals, would be defined as a lodging property under the definition of hotels and motels. 

Bill 7 changes procedures of the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) for evaluating state tax expenditures and directs OSA to review federal tax law changes that impact the state. The bill also permits the Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning Tax Policy & Task Force to request evaluation of specific tax expenditures and continue the oversight committee and task force until December 2031.

The bills will now go to the Legislative Council for approval before being introduced next session. Once introduced in the 2024 session, interim bills will follow the legislative process in the same manner as all other bills.

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