Tax analysis: Colorado ranks among most business-friendly states

Raymond Keating
Raymond Keating

Colorado continues to rank among the  top 10 business-friendly states in an annual analysis of the cost of tax systems on starting and growing small businesses.

Colorado moved up two spots to eighth in the 2013 Business Tax Index calculated by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, a small business advocacy and research group based in Washington, D.C.

“At the federal level, businesses, investors and entrepreneurship have been hit hard in 2013 by big tax increases. But taxes matter for business at the state and local level as well. In the states, tax burdens vary widely, with competiveness affected accordingly,” said Raymond Keating, chief economist for the SBEC and author of a report on the latest index results.

The index takes into account 21 tax measures in compiling a single score that allows state-by-state comparisons. The index includes not only income, property and capital gains taxes, but also unemployment and estate taxes.

“Competition for investment and business relocation is fierce, and state leaders who understand this dynamic are reshaping tax policies to enable capital formation and entrepreneurship,” said Karen Kerrigan, president and chief executive officer of the SBEC.

Colorado consistently ranks among the most business-friendly states because of its comparatively low unemployment and corporate income and capital gains taxes — and no state estate tax.

For the 2013 Business Tax Index, Colorado fared the best in assessing the sixth lowest unemployment tax.

With a top rate of 4.63 percent, Colorado imposes the eighth lowest corporate income taxes and 10th lowest corporate capital gains taxes.

Colorado ranks 14th for the lowest state diesel tax and 17th for the lowest state gasoline tax.

Texas topped the rankings of the most business-friendly states in the 2013 Business Tax Index, followed by South Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming and Washington. Conversely, California ranked dead last, followed by Hawaii, New Jersey, Iowa and Vermont.