Denver, CO

Denver prepares to eliminate city’s diaper tax

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver is one vote away from ending the city tax on diapers.

Denver City Council voted Monday unanimously to approve the first reading of a bill that ends the diaper tax. The council must approve it again next week to become law on Oct. 1.

"Inflation and the rising cost of living in Denver have created a burden for families and Denver's older residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes," councilmember Amanda Sawyer said in a statement. "Diapers are necessary, and they should be exempted from sales tax just like any other necessary product."

Sawyer and councilmember Jolon Clark sponsored the bill. "Diapers are an essential item, but unlike other essential items, they have been taxed," Clark said in a statement. "This tax disproportionately affects low-income families in our community, and this exemption will provide relief to those who need it most."

Tax collects up to $800,000 per year

City staff created the bill. "Incontinence products and diapers mean absorbent cloth or disposable products worn by humans who are incapable of, or have difficulty, controlling their bladder or bowel movements," the bill describes.

The tax earns Denver between $500,000 and $800,000 per year. The General Fund will have to absorb the loss.

Menstrual products already tax-exempt

The Colorado legislature passed a law in 2022 exempting menstrual products and diapers from state sales tax. Cities must enact exemptions if they want to end city sales tax. Denver already exempts menstrual products from city sales tax, a measure led by Clark in 2019.

Aurora ended its tax on diapers earlier this year. According to Baby2Baby, a nationwide group advocating for an end to diaper taxes, 33 states tax diapers. Rates range from 1.5 to 7 percent.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

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