Garfield County to file suit against state to refund sales taxes

February 11, 2014

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County will pursue a lawsuit against the State of Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) to compel the state to repay sales tax collections improperly used to pay a legal judgment.

Since 2010, refunds held back by the state have amounted to $5,346,075.38; including recent increases. Several local taxing entities aside from the county, including the Garfield County Public Library District, the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority and the Garfield County Human Services Grant Fund are adversely affected by loss of the revenue.

Monday the Garfield County Board of Commissioners directed County Attorney Frank Hutfless to prepare the suit to compel the State of Colorado to comply with statutory obligations to settle lawsuits filed against the state, and to refund county sales taxes the state has withheld, including some stemming from a 2010 judgment in a Noble Energy lawsuit.

“The county was not a party to this lawsuit and therefore is not obligated to pay this judgment,” said Hutfless. “In addition, the DOR is required to obtain approval by the state legislature to fund this judgment. Since the DOR has not complied with the statutes and has used county money to pay the judgment, this action is illegal.”