Colorado ranks 18th in state tax analysis

Colorado ranks 18th among the 50 states in the latest analysis of how taxes affect businesses.

Colorado slipped two spots in the State Business Tax Climate Index for 2018, faring well for property and income taxes, but less so for unemployment insurance premiums and sales taxes.

The Tax Foundation — a nonprofit, nonpartisan tax research organization based in Washington, D.C. — compiles the index to rank states for the competitiveness of their tax codes. The index takes into account a total of more than 100 variables in categories for individual and corporate income taxes, property and sales taxes and unemployment insurance. States with transparent and neutral tax codes fare better than states with complex tax codes that distort business decisions.

“While the amount of revenue a state raises gets a lot of attention, it doesn’t tell the whole story about a state’s tax system,” said Jared Walczak, a policy analyst with the Tax Foundation. “The goal of the index is to start a conversation between taxpayers and legislators about how their tax system compares with other states and provide a roadmap for improvement.”

Scott Drenkard, director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, said states that have implemented reforms have increased their index rankings. “Our index shows how thoughtful reforms can improve taxes in a way that benefits all taxpayers. As federal lawmakers look to simplify the tax code and remove barriers to business investment, several states have already shown how tax reform could make th U.S. more competitive.”

Colorado scored 5.41 in the 2018 index to rank 18th overall. Colorado ranked 16th in 2017 and 2016 and 18th in 2015 and 2014.

For 2018, Colorado ranked the highest at 14th for its property tax structure as well as 15th for its individual income tax structure and 18th for its corporate income tax structure. Colorado ranked lower at 35th for its unemployment insurance structure and 39th for its sales tax structure.

The rankings for the five most competitive states in the 2018 index remained unchanged. Wyoming ranked first overall with the top rankings for individual and corporate income taxes. South Dakota ranked second, followed by Alaska, Florida and Nevada.

New Jersey remained dead last at 50th, followed by New York, California, Vermont and Minnesota.