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Carryout Bag Fee

In 2021, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 21-1162. Additional information about this fee can be found on the Colorado Department of Revenue Carry Out Bag Fee website.

Beginning January 1, 2024, the act prohibits stores and retail food establishments from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers. Certain retail food establishments, and small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have 3 or fewer locations, may provide single-use plastic carryout bags.

Between January 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024, a store may furnish a recycled paper carryout bag or a single-use plastic carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale if the customer pays a fee of 10 cents per bag or a higher fee adopted by the municipality or county in which the store is located. On and after January 1, 2024, a store may furnish only a recycled paper carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale at a fee of 10 cents per bag or a higher fee imposed by the municipality or county in which the store is located.

Please review the full text of HB21-1162 for all requirements and restrictions imposed under the act.

Businesses must collect the Carryout Bag Fee based on the following:

  • The business meets the definition of "Store" as defined in C.R.S. 25-17-503.

  • Store definition includes grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores, dry cleaners, pharmacies, drug stores, clothing stores, farmers market, roadside market, stand, festival, temporary event, or other retail establishments where carryout bags are traditionally provided to customers.

  • A paper or single-use plastic carryout bag is furnished to a customer at the point of sale to transport or carry purchased items away.

Exclusions to Collecting a Carryout Bag Fee:

  • "Small Stores," a store that operates solely in Colorado, has three or less locations in the state and is not part of a franchise, corporation, or partnership that has physical locations outside of Colorado.

  • Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, potted plants, and other items where dampness may be a problem.

  • Bags used to contain loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, chocolate, nails, screws, etc.

  • Bags used to contain unwrapped prepared foods and bakery goods.

  • Bags used to protect items from damage or contamination when placed in a reusable bag.

  • Bags used to contain medical prescriptions issued by a pharmacist.

How to report and pay the carryout bag fee:

The carryout bag fee must be reported through the city's Tax and Licensing Portal. The city has identified some businesses that need a carryout bag fee account and has added the account for those identified. If your account does not have a bag fee account and one is needed, it can be added through the same tax and licensing portal. Below are instructions to add the account.

Adding the carryout bag fee account:

1. Log into the Aurora Tax and Licensing Portal
2. Click "More..." from the heading choices
3. Click "Add a Bag Account" under the "Business License" section
4. Read the instructions and click "Next"
5. Click the box next to each location needing the carryout bag fee account and select the date the business first started collecting the bag fee and then click "Next"
6. Add a mailing address for the account, then click "Next"
7. Accept the terms and click "Submit"
8. Return to the summary page and click on "Add Access to this Account," and then select the security level and click "Save." The carryout bag fee account is now added, and returns can be filed.

Filing returns - Only quarterly filing is available

1. Click on "View Returns" in the Disposable Bag Fee Account section
2. Click on "File Now"
3. Under the Location Returns section, click on "File Now"
4. Click on "Yes" to file a zero return or "No" to enter the amounts for the return.
5. On line 1, enter the number of carryout bags distributed to customers for the quarter and then press Enter
6. Follow the remaining steps to pay and submit the return.

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