Individual Income Tax | Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to file my federal tax return first? 

Yes, Colorado state income tax is different from federal income tax. You must determine your federal income tax by preparing your federal return first. Then you can complete the Colorado return. For information on how to file your federal return and for links to federal/state free filing services, see the Internal Revenue Service website

2. I am mailing in my return. Do I need to attach a copy of my federal return?

No, the Colorado Department of Revenue does not require taxpayers to attach a copy of the federal return to the Colorado return.

3. What filing status to I use on my return? 

Your Colorado income tax filing status will always be the same as your federal filing status. For example, if you filed as single on your federal tax return, you would file as single on your Colorado Income Tax Return.

4. Can Common-Law married couples file jointly? 

Yes, you can file jointly if you filed jointly on your federal return. For mor information, visit the Common-Law Marriage web page. 

5. I need to file a return for someone who has passed away. What do I do? 

Visit the Deceased Taxpayer web page for information on how to file a return. This page covers both filing jointly or filing as single for the deceased taxpayer. 

6. Can I use a pay stub to file a return?

Pay stubs do not usually have the employer’s FEIN on them. The FEIN is required when taxpayers file their income tax, whether electronically or on paper. The Colorado Department of Revenue verifies the FEINs to ensure the employer has paid the taxpayer’s withholding tax. When there is no FEIN with the income tax filing or the FEIN is incorrect, the taxpayer will be required to communicate with the department to verify withholding, which will delay refund processing.

7. What if I didn't receive a W-2 from my employer?

  • The state does not retain paper copies of taxpayers W-2s. However, there are several options for obtaining this information:
  • Contact your employer or previous employer to obtain a copy.
  • If you have your final pay stub that includes the amount of taxes withheld for Colorado, you can use this information to electronically file your state income tax return or to fill out Form DR 0084 “Substitute Colorado W-2 Form” to send with your paper return.
  • Contact our call center at (303) 238-7378,Note: this information from our call center will contain State of Colorado W-2 information only –not federal.

For federal W-2 information you must contact the IRS.

8. I received more W-2s, but I already filed a return. What do I need to do?

If you filed your Colorado income tax return and now have an additional W-2 that changes your tax or refund you must use an amended return to correct the filing. Filing a corrected original return will not correct your return and may cause serious problems on your income tax account.

9. I only lived in Colorado for part of the year. What do I need to know?

If you are new to Colorado, visit the New Colorado Resident web page. If you moved away from Colorado, visit the Part-Year Resident web page. 

10. I earned income in Colorado, but I do not live there. Do I need to file a return?

Yes, you do need to file a return to report all Colorado derived income. Visit the Nonresident web page and/or the Living Out of the Country web page for more information. 

11. Can I deduct my vehicle registration fee from the Colorado income tax return? 

The amount shown in the ownership tax ("OWN. TAX") section of your vehicle registration receipt can be claimed as an itemized deduction on your federal income tax return. This is NOT claimed on your Colorado income tax return because the figure has already been taken out of your federal taxable income when you start to complete your Colorado return. The ownership tax is listed on the back of the car registration receipt with the address listed. 

12. What is a 1099-G?

Year-end 1099 statements are mailed in January to inform recipients about income they received during the previous year. The 1099-G is issued by government agencies such as the Department of Revenue and the Department of Labor and Employment for use in filling out your federal income tax return.

The IRS requires the Colorado Department of Revenue to provide Form 1099-G to taxpayers who may have itemized deductions on their federal return the previous year. The form is in postcard format. A separate copy of your 1099-G is sent to the IRS. Amounts on this form include:

  • the Colorado income tax refund you received the prior year
  • the Consumer Use Tax paid on the DR 0104
  • any overpayment credited to the following year’s estimated tax
  • any overpayment applied to a prior year’s balance due
  • any overpayment intercepted by the IRS or by a state agency
  • contributions to any of the voluntary checkoff funds

Taxpayers who itemized their deductions using Schedule A on last year’s federal return must use this information to complete their federal return this year. Taxpayers who took the standard deduction on last year’s federal return generally will not report the refund on their federal return.

If you do not receive the 1099-G in the mail, sign up for access and log into your account through our Revenue Online service to view the amount of last year’s Colorado refund that was reported to you on Form 1099-G. If there is no record of a 1099-G in your account, you may not have received a taxable income tax refund last year.