Your Taxes at Work


"The health of our community as a whole depends on ensuring the well-being of all of our individual members. Your tax dollars contribute to a more vibrant, active and caring community for everyone by supporting a breadth of needs ranging from roads, trails and land use projects to programs that promote and protect the interests and health of our residents."
-Boulder County Commissioners

There are two primary ways that you directly contribute tax dollars to Boulder County:

Property Taxes

Boulder County receives approximately 30 percent of your total property taxes and uses those funds to provide essential services directly to residents as well as indirectly through funding for local nonprofit agencies. (see How Property Taxes are Calculated.)

Property taxes within Boulder County vary according to your location within municipal and special district boundaries. Received collectively by the Boulder County Treasurer, your property taxes are then apportioned to the various governmental agencies and special tax districts to which you belong, including your local school district, fire protection district, municipality and/or water district. In all, there are 88 taxing entities that receive a portion of your property taxes each year in Boulder County alone.

Sales and Use Taxes

Sales taxes are collected at the point of purchase when you buy retail goods within Boulder County.*

Use taxes are assessed on motor vehicles during vehicle registration, and on the purchase of building and construction materials at retail prices, collected when a building permit is obtained.

Sales and use taxes are collected by the State of Colorado and reapportioned back to the counties and municipalities in which they were collected. Boulder County receives less than 1 percent* of the value of all purchases made in Boulder County. For more information on sales and use taxes in Boulder County, download the Sales and Use Tax Brochure.

The breakdown between sales and use taxes is generally around 86% sales taxes and 14% use taxes; these percentages vary slightly year to year.

*The total sales tax rate in Boulder County varies from location to location based on varying municipal sales tax rates. The sales tax rate for Boulder County government in 2014 is 0.80 percent and applies to all purchases made within county boundaries.

Where Do Tax Dollars Go?

The Boulder County tax dollars that you pay (summary), whether through property taxes or sales and use taxes, help support key infrastructure and services such as:
  • Transportation and road maintenance
  • Public safety, including law enforcement, courts, wildfire mitigation, jail, and emergency services
  • Health & Human Services
  • Environmental health and protection
  • Elections
  • Conservation and Open Space
  • General governmental operating costs
Combined with a variety of other funding sources, your tax dollars also contribute to help provide a breadth of other services that collectively create a healthy community. Through funding supplied by grants, state and federal allocations, your local taxes, fees and other revenue sources, Boulder County government is able to offer:
  • Health programs that provide vaccinations, protect the public health and educate community members.
  • Community Services programs that enable career growth, encourage self-sufficiency, involve children, families and aging adults in beneficial activities, and promote financial stability and homeownership.
  • Housing and Human Service programs that protect the welfare of children and older adults.
  • Financial support to nonprofit organizations that are at the very heart of our community and provide essential services.
  • A countywide Sustainability Initiative to preserve the health of our environment into the future, including pollution prevention, waste reduction and energy and resource conservation.
  • Parks and Open Space programs that protect local habitat and provide beautiful places to catch a breath of fresh air and get some exercise.
  • Transportation improvements that help make our roads and transit programs better, safer and more accessible for all members of the community.
In addition to paying property taxes, voters in Boulder County continuously show their commitment to investing in and improving their community by passing special ballot issues that enact specific property or sales and use taxes.

Some of these special tax funds include:
  • Developmental Disabilities and Health and Human Services: Funding for local nonprofits and programs that serve the developmentally disabled; funding to support health and human services programs that have suffered funding cutbacks from other sources
  • Worthy Cause: Funding for capital improvement projects by local human services non-profit agencies
  • Open Space: Various taxes to support acquisition, trails and maintenance of open space.
  • Public Safety: A sales tax that provides funds for a jail expansion, construction of an addiction recovery center, and ongoing support for jail programs
  • Transportation improvements: Includes increased transit, regional trails and bikeway shoulders
  • Human Services Funding: Funding to local nonprofit agencies to supporting safety net services to low-income and/or at-risk or vulnerable county residents.