Tax burden

A recent 2019 study conducted by SmartAsset.com calculated the amount of money a specific person would pay in income, sales, property and fuel taxes in each county in Colorado, and ranked them lowest to highest in terms of tax burden.

Las Animas County ranked number one for lowest tax burden in the study calculating that a person in the county could expect to pay $480 in sales tax, $403 in property tax, and $259 in fuel tax compared to previous estimates of $454 in sales tax, $721 in property tax and $162 in fuel tax.

The smartasset.com results used a median household income ($51,939 according to the US Census Bureau 2014) to figure the average income tax paid in counties throughout Colorado is $10,756.

It was assumed that an average 35 percent of take-home pay is spent on taxable goods. Median property value for Colorado was set at $365,000. Average fuel tax was based on miles driven per licensed drivers in registered vehicles. In Baca County, sales tax paid averaged $480, property tax $423 and fuel tax $258 for a total of $11,917. In Otero County, average sales tax paid was $645, property tax $481 and fuel tax $254 for a total of $12,136.

According to the Tax Foundation, per capita income in Colorado in 1980 was $27,788 and total state and local taxes paid per capita were $2,691. In 2011, per capita income for Colorado residents was $42,473 and total taxes paid per capita were $4,217.

Steve Sabato of SmartAsset.com, said everyone feels a tax burden of some kind, but its weight can vary across different states and countries.

Sabato provided a list of ten counties (out of 64) with the lowest tax rates in Colorado based on income, sales, property, and fuel taxes. Las Animas County, as stated, experiences the lowest tax rates and Otero County the highest of the ten counties ranked lowest, with Kiowa County ranked the fifth lowest.

In 2014, Colorado residents paid an average $899 in sales tax, $1,323 in property tax and $170 in fuel tax. Fuel tax is based on miles driven per licensed driver and those numbers vary per county, but the tax rate is consistent statewide. In 2013, Colorado drivers paid 22 cents in tax per gallon of gasoline.

The Tax Foundation says America will pay more in taxes in 2015 than it will spend on food, clothing and housing combined. “In 2015, America will pay $3.3 trillion in taxes to the federal government and an additional $1.5 trillion to state and local government. America’s total tax bill of $4.8 trillion is about 31 percent of the nation’s total income.”

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