In 1977, Colorado became the first state in the country to allow a taxpayer to “check-off” a voluntary contribution to a state program.
The Colorado Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund was the first state income tax check-off fund in the United States. Today, almost every state in the country has a checkoff program.
Every year, U.S. taxpayers contribute tens of millions of dollars to a diverse range of programs. Check-off contributions are voluntary donations from a taxpayer’s refund or can come from an additional amount voluntarily added to a taxpayer’s liability. Nationwide, the most common funds support wildlife preservation, political campaigns, child abuse and neglect prevention, and U.S. Olympic committees. Since the tax checkoff program was established in 1977, well over $45 million has been raised for Colorado nonprofits.
In 2003, the funds that were part of the Colorado check-off program decided that to come together to make a bigger impact. The grassroots, public awareness campaign targets taxpayers, financial planners, CPAs and other tax preparers to educate them about the simplicity of making a donation when they file their taxes.
After Colorado launched its collaborative campaign, many other states followed suite