Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) signed a bill into law earlier this month aimed at helping older Coloradans save money on rent through a refundable tax credit.

State Sen. Chris Kolker (D-Centennial), one of the bill’s sponsors, says he pushed the measure because many older Coloradans need help with rental expenses.


“The legislature worked hard this session to reduce the property tax burden for homeowners, but what about seniors who are renting,” said Kolker.  “Many seniors on fixed incomes don’t have property assets, and they need additional help to afford their rent.”

State Rep. Bob Marshall (D-Highlands Ranch), another sponsor of the bill, echoed Kolker’s opinion.

“Seniors who rent have been left out of the homestead property tax exemption which applies only to homeowners. So they have similar housing expenses but don’t get any benefits,” said Marshall. “It’s a matter of fairness.”

Marshall said he and his co-sponsors, which also included state Sen. Chris Hanson (D-Denver) and state Rep. Mike Weissman (D-Aurora), anticipated that Republicans would object to the bill because it would reduce the amount of money returned to taxpayers through their TABOR refunds.

“The Republicans usually scream bloody murder at any attempt to cut down the TABOR refund, but it made it out of the House Finance Committee by a vote of 11-0,” said Marshall. 

The bill’s sponsors argued in their respective sessions that since the money to fund the homestead property tax exemption already cuts TABOR refunds, it’s only fair to fund the tax credit for older renters similarly.

The argument worked. Only two House Republicans, Stephanie Luck and Matt Soper and three Senate Republicans, Mark Baisley, Janice Rich, and Kevin Van Winkle, voted no. Rep. Steven Woodrow was the only Democrat to oppose the bill.

To qualify, Coloradans aged 65 and up must make under $75,000, or $125,000 if filing jointly, and have not claimed a homestead property tax exemption for 2024. Individual and joint filers making less than $25,000 will receive the maximum credit of $800. The credit drops by $8 or $4, depending on if you’re single or married, for every $500 more the taxpayer earns.

The law anticipates 119,000 qualified seniors will apply for the credit, which will cost the state $67.6 million for the 2024 tax year.

Kolker said he plans to help amend the homestead tax exemption in a future session to include a senior tax credit for renters. Since the exemption is in the state constitution, any amendments have to win voter approval through a ballot measure.

The measure was included in Proposition HH, which failed to pass in the November 2023 election.