NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Attention Cyber Shoppers: Did You Pay Colorado Sales Tax?

Flickr: Creative Commons

If you ventured online Monday for that deal on a great gift, you joined millions of Americans on Cyber Monday.  Analysts are calling it the busiest online shopping day of the year. Many companies include Colorado sales tax on that purchase. But if they don’t, it’s up to you to pay the state directly.

Companies with a physical presence in the state are required to charge sales tax. Other retailers without a location here? They probably aren’t going to charge you.

“When you’re getting ready to pay [online], you typically see how much sales tax you’re going to need to pay,” said Ro Silva with the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Tax Division. “If you don’t see any sales tax being charged that’s where you need to pay [the] consumer use tax.”

In 2010, Colorado passed a law which required extensive reporting requirements on e-retailers who don’t collect the state’s 2.9 percent use tax on purchases.

The law is currently in legal limbo after being declared unconstitutional by a federal Judge in 2012. A federal court of appeals in August overturned the ruling saying the lower court overstepped its jurisdiction.

The law was passed to entice large e-retailers to start charging sales tax, despite not having a physical presence in Colorado.

However, Silva says, that has little impact on the everyday consumer who is still required to pay up just the same.

“It’s the obligation of all Colorado residents to pay sales tax, whether they do it right away at the time they purchase, or later in the form of [the] consumer use tax,” she said.

So how do you take care of it? Residents can go to to file a consumer use tax return.

The 2.9 percent consumer use tax for 2013 is due April 15 of 2014. Which coincidentally happens to be tax day. 

Related Content