One thing I love about Colorado is that the people here like to be pioneers. From time to time, we build a new path and try something different.
Right now, Colorado is opening up a new avenue for charitable giving – it is called ReFUND Colorado – and we are the first state in the nation to offer this new opportunity.
ReFUND Colorado is an easy way for taxpayers to give money to charity through annual state tax returns, starting with the 2019 tax year (2020 filings). The Colorado Nonprofit Association is spearheading this effort on behalf of nonprofits in our state. They worked with the Colorado Department of Revenue, tax software developers, certified public accountants, donors and nonprofits to develop a system whereby a taxpayer can choose to donate all or part of a state tax refund to an eligible nonprofit.
You may be wondering, “Which nonprofits are eligible?” In the past, the state had a program where some money could be donated to just a handful of charities. The beauty of the new option is that now there are thousands of nonprofits from which to choose, so you can truly give to your favorite cause. Nonprofits that have been registered to accept charitable contributions with the Colorado secretary of state for at least five years as of September 2019 are eligible. You can search for eligible nonprofits and receive more information at refundwhatmatters.org.
The key to making the new system work is the registration number the secretary of state has assigned to each nonprofit. You can look up these numbers at the website mentioned above, at the Colorado secretary of state website or you can obtain it directly from a nonprofit. You will likely soon see some marketing that displays the name of a nonprofit with a registration number beneath it – this is the number you need to enter on the tax document or in the online tax program. For example, our name is United Way of Southwest Colorado and our registration number is 20023003781. Easy to remember, right? OK, not really. We understand it is not easy to remember, which is why we are providing all the tools to help you find the charity of your choice.
This is a wonderful way to support our nonprofit sector. These are the folks who help people in crisis, protect victims, provide basic needs, operate treatment programs, promote education, save our environment, create affordable housing and so much more. Our local nonprofits have been hit hard financially during the past couple of years because of tax law changes, the 416 Fire and major corporations leaving the area.
If you can give some or all of your refund, you can make a difference in the quality of life in our corner of the state.
So, be a pioneer! Strike out on this new trail and try the new system. Thanks for Living United with us and Colorado.
Lynn Urban is president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.