City Council Approves Sales Tax Relief Program to Help Local Restaurants

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – On Tuesday, January 26 in their Regular Work Session, the Colorado Springs City Council voted unanimously to approve the Sales Tax Relief Program for Local Restaurants that was proposed in December. This joint effort by The City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County aims to grant restaurants that have experienced sales declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic a much needed boost. Now that businesses are opening back up and COVID restrictions are beginning to ease the time is now to offer as much support to local restaurants as possible in conjunction with the State’s 5 Star Program.

The program is limited to the General Fund portion of taxes for each organization (2% for the City and 1% for the County). The County’s version of the program also received approval in December. City Council’s approval clears the final hurdle for the full program to be up and running through

“We know our restaurants have experienced some of the most dramatic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and we felt it important to provide some support,” said Mayor John Suthers. “We know that a $1,400 per month sales tax rebate isn’t the complete solution, but we do hope that it helps sustain these important local businesses as we move toward a vaccine and a return to normalcy.”

“Most of our local restaurant owners have worked hard to protect their customers, employees, and also to feed their families,” said El Paso Board of County Commissioner’s Chair Mark Waller. “It’s frustrating the state is limiting their ability to operate, and we all must do everything we can to help. We’re happy to work with the City of Colorado Springs, and any other municipality, to offer tax relief to these businesses.” 

Applicants only need to apply once for both the City and the County’s tax relief program. While the City and the County are partnering on this program, each organization’s plan will have some similarities and differences.

Both programs will have the same threshold to participate. To qualify for the program, Relief/Assistance Program restaurants must have incurred a greater than 5% loss from third quarter 2019 to third quarter 2020. The maximum rebate is $1,400 per month (or sales tax on up to $70,000 in sales). 

However, the programs will cover different months of revenue. The City’s program offers refunds based on the taxes remitted on sales from November 2020, December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021. The County’s program offers refunds from July 2020 through February 2021.

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