Each year from early January to mid-May, a Hall & Evans team leads lobbying efforts at the State Capitol to advocate for our clients before the Colorado General Assembly. This session, the Government Affairs team, led by Daniel Furman and joined this year by Erin Snow, helped clients navigate a wide variety of issues before a legislature that is preparing for an eventful election year ahead.
One issue with major political implications emerged in the last two and a half weeks of session, when Governor Polis announced that the legislature had come up with a way to speed up Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds to get at least $400 to everyone in Colorado. While at first glance, this policy seemed to be a win-win for Colorado residents and the Governor’s re-election prospects, alarm bells quickly sounded among the Colorado Society of CPAs, a Hall & Evans client. The original text of Senate Bill 233 required that state residents submit filings by May 31 to be eligible for the new type of refunds – even if they had timely filed an extension that gave them until October to file under federal law. This led to equity concerns for pass-through entities and individuals who are more likely to ask for extensions and may have been blocked from receiving their refund checks. What’s more, the CPAs realized they would be put under immense pressure to complete all filings by May 31, a virtual impossibility that would have led to mistakes and lost business.
Under the guidance of Hall & Evans, the CPAs quickly mobilized to contact their legislators en masse, providing much-needed stakeholder input to explain the real-world implications of a misguided policy. Meanwhile, Hall & Evans worked behind the scenes to lobby legislators in both parties and chambers. We found some unlikely allies to champion the proposed amendments to extend the filing deadline. Ultimately, Senate Bill 233 was amended so that all state residents who file by June 30 will receive their refund checks by September 30, and anyone who filed a timely extension and then files taxes by October will receive their checks next spring. Governor Polis signed the bill into law on May 23. This is one of many examples of how effective advocacy can improve our state’s lawmaking process. These changes serve our clients’ interests and have an impact on everyone who lives in the state.
To learn more about the swift changes made to SB 233, view the Denver Business Journal’s article, “How Colorado Accountants Ensured a New Tax-Refund Law Will Benefit Everyone.”