RTA tax may cause consumers to shop around

December 29, 2004
When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, it's not just a matter of what store you shop in, but where that store is located. Sales taxes levied by different municipalities in El Paso County vary slightly, and with certain cities opting out of the RTA tax, pennies can add up to big bucks, depending on the price of your purchase. In Colorado Springs, the city imposes a sales tax of 2.5 percent. That's in addition to a county tax of 1 percent and a state tax of 2.9 percent. So a $10 pizza comes out to $10.64. After Jan. 1, the additional RTA tax of 1 percent hikes that to $10.74. In Palmer Lake, a city sales tax of 2 percent added to 3.9 percent in state and county tax means your pizza would cost $10.59. The price won't change even after Jan. 1 because Palmer Lake opted out of the RTA tax. For most Colorado Springs residents, $.15 in savings will probably not be enough of an incentive to shop outside of town. But when it comes to larger-ticket items, it may be worth a drive to save. In unincorporated parts of El Paso County, like Cimarron Hills, no city tax is levied. Purchases in those areas are taxed at 4.9 percent by the state, county and RTA. That means a laptop computer that retails there for $1,500 would cost $1,573.50. Compare that to Manitou Springs, which has a 3.9 percent sales tax on top of state, county and RTA tax of 4.9 percent. When taxed at 8.8 percent, that same computer will cost $1,632, a difference of $58.50. Taxes in El Paso County*
Colorado Springs

(2.5 percent)
Fountain **
(3 percent)
Green Mountain Falls
(3 percent)
Manitou Springs
(3.9 percent)
Monument **
(3 percent)
Palmer Lake **
(2 percent)
$10 pizza =$10.74 $10 pizza =$10.69 $10 pizza = $10.79 $10 pizza = $10.88 $10 pizza = $$10.69 $10 pizza = $10.59
$1,500 laptop =$1,611 $1,500 laptop = $1,603.50 $1,500 laptop = $1618.50 $1,500 laptop = $1,632 $1,500 laptop = $1603.50 $1,500 laptop = $1,588.50
** RTA exempt *In addition to a 1 percent tax from El Paso County and a 2.9 percent tax from the state of Colorado.
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