Coloradans can earmark tax dollars for agriculture

With tax season upon the public, the Colorado Department of Agriculture wants to remind the people that for the first time ever, Coloradans have an opportunity to earmark their tax dollars to help support Colorado agriculture.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is offering tax credits for sale through the Colorado Agricultural Value-Added Development Program (CAVADP).

"It was just passed in the legislature last year," said Jim Rubingh, director of the marketing division with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "It's a very innovative program. It allows people to direct their taxes into something they care about."

People who buy tax credits are eligible for a tax credit equal to their donation.

"It doesn't cost a person anything," Rubingh said. "It simply allows them to direct their taxes to this fund."

Any credits purchased above an individual's or business's tax liability is refunded to the taxpayer.

The minimum contribution is $100, and the maximum contribution is $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for joint returns and businesses.

The money obtained through the sale of tax credits goes to the Colorado Agricultural Value-Added Development Fund, which is put toward value-added grants, extensions of credit and equity investments.

"This is meant to encourage, promote and stimulate agricultural-based economic development and employment in rural Colorado," said Rosemary Kehl, CDA business development specialist. "CAVADP will help provide financial and technical assistance to agricultural processors. The goal of the program is to help Colorado's agriculture industry, especially in the state's rural communities."

Rubingh said a program similar to CAVADP is in place in Missouri, but that was the only other state he could name.

"We're trying to contact everyone saying this is available," he said. "It's an innovative idea. We've been trying to find a way to fund value added agriculture programs for a long time."

The deadline for purchasing tax credits for 2001 is June 30, 2002.

"When people sit down with their tax forms they need to sit down with this form also," Rubingh said.

For more information or to request an application for tax credits, interested parties can call (303) 239-4114.

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