News Releases

Statement from the Colorado Chamber on Favorable Colorado Supreme Court Corporate Income Tax Decision

For media inquiries, please contact Cynthia Meyer at CMeyer@cochamber.com.

DENVER – The Colorado Chamber of Commerce released the following statement from Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal relations, following this week’s favorable decision from the Colorado Supreme Court in Department of Revenue v. Oracle:

“A fair, consistent and predictable tax system is critical to the Colorado Chamber’s mission to champion a health business climate. This swift decision from the Colorado Supreme Court is a clear and decisive victory for Colorado taxpayers and the business community. The decision confirms the unique nature of the Colorado corporate tax system and affirms the relevance of Department of Revenue regulations.”

The Colorado Supreme Court decision notably comes just seven weeks after oral arguments were heard in this case, while most decisions take at least several months. The Colorado Chamber of Commerce filed an amicus brief on the Oracle case in October 2018.

Background:

At issue is a complex corporate tax case regarding combined reporting and the taxation of holding companies and affiliated foreign entities. In general, under combined reporting, the taxable income of a corporation in a state is combined with the income of specified other entities that are affiliated with the taxable corporation for income tax purposes. In 1985, the state of Colorado set corporate tax statutes to define which entities to include or exclude.  The Department of Revenue further defined the affiliates to include in a combined report through regulations issued in 1994.

The Department of Revenue v. Oracle case originated after the Department of Revenue faulted corporations that failed to report certain holding companies that don’t have payroll or property in the United States on their Colorado tax returns. The corporations argued that they were not at fault, since includible entities in Colorado combined reports defined by state law and regulations must have more than 20 percent of their payroll or property within the U.S. The Department of Revenue assessment directly conflicted with its promulgated and long-standing regulation regarding the matter.

In 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals rejected the Department of Revenue’s arguments and ruled in favor of the taxpayer – after which the case progressed to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Court’s decision, announced on May 28, 2019 affirmed the opinion of the Court of Appeals.

A week prior to the Colorado Supreme Court hearing in Oracle, new legislation was introduced in the 2019 state legislative session that was poised to change the longstanding tax laws and definitions. As introduced, Senate Bill 233 would have potentially cost businesses hundreds of millions of tax dollars. After testimony from members of the Colorado Chamber, SB 233 was amended to neutralize certain concerns about the bill.

Click here to view the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Department of Revenue v. Oracle.

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The Colorado Chamber of Commerce was created in 1965 based on the merger of the Colorado Chamber and the Colorado Manufacturers’ Association. It is the only business association in Colorado that works to improve the business climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective. As a private, non-profit organization, the Colorado Chamber’s work is funded solely by its members.