Monday is the deadline for city of Aspen residents to claim a $55 refund intended to take the edge off of sales taxes paid on purchases at the grocery store.
Applications for the annual “food tax refund” program will not be accepted after 5 p.m. Monday, April 15. New this year, residents can apply online athttps://www.cityofaspen.com/382/Food-Sales-Tax-Refunds.
The city made food tax refunds available to residents beginning in 1970, when voters first passed a 1 percent sales tax. The city now collects a 2.4 percent sales tax.
Sales taxes in Colorado typically are not applied to food purchases, but Aspen, as a home rule municipality, is able to collect. The thinking behind the food tax refund is that local residents should get money back equivalent to what they pay in sales taxes at the grocery store. A $55 food tax refund equates to around $220 per month in grocery spending.
Council in 2018 increased the food tax refund from $50 to $55, the first increase in 20 years. The refund was $7 when it was implemented in 1970. Some 3,500 city residents get a food tax refund each year, which is more than half the year-round population.
To qualify for the refund, one must submit an application by the deadline and have resided within Aspen city limits for the full 2018 year; have been registered to vote in the city of Aspen for the entirety of the calendar year; be able to prove residency within Aspen city limits for 2018; and, if still living within the city, ensure one’s current address is the same as his or her registered voter address.
Residents 65 or older and residents that are legally blind are eligible for additional refund payments. For persons barred from registering to vote, there are some exceptions to qualify.
While applicants are encouraged to apply online to reduce paper use and expedite the administrative process, paper applications are still be available for residents to print and mail or drop-off. For assistance completing the application visit the finance window on the first floor of city hall at 130 S. Galena Street.
Refund checks will be mailed out after the April 15 deadline.