calculator and tax form

​Thornton Taxes Explained

Online Thornton Sales & Use Tax Workshop March 10th at 9:00am via Microsoft Teams.

The City of Thornton Revenue Division offers free sales and use tax workshops. These general workshops provide tax information for all types of businesses, including service-only organizations, home-based & commercial businesses, and wholesalers. Please join us for our upcoming tax workshop from the comfort and safety of your own home or business to learn about getting a business license, collection and remittance of sales & use taxes and how to file your returns!


If you are interested in attending the next workshop (Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 9:00am via Microsoft Teams), please email us at or call the Revenue Division at 303-538-7400 to register – we will then supply you with an email confirmation including a link to the meeting forum.


  • If you are unable to attend this session, you may reach out to the Revenue Division for information on future sessions and resources


About the Revenue Division

The City's Revenue Division is responsible for collection of the following taxes and fees: sales, use, lodging and telephone taxes, and E911 surcharges. We assist businesses and the public in understanding how Thornton's taxes apply to their operations or purchases. The Sales Tax Division is also responsible for auditing businesses to ensure that they are in compliance with the City Code.

Property taxes are administered by the County. Please contact Adams County directly for questions regarding your property taxes.

Sales Tax

The City of Thornton levies a sales tax on tangible personal property or taxable services which are purchased, sold, leased or rented in the City. The term "in the City" includes any personal property or taxable service that is provided or delivered to the purchaser within City limits. Sales tax is a transaction tax that is collected and remitted by a retailer. Retailers collect a total of 8.5% for sales made in Thornton. The City portion (3.75%) must be remitted directly to Thornton. The remainder of the taxes (4.75%) are remitted directly to the State of Colorado. For businesses located at the Denver Premium Outlets center, please see below.  View a map of Thornton's boundaries: Boundary Map

The total combined sales tax rate in Thornton is 8.5%, and is comprised of the following taxes...

City of Thornton                          3.75%
State of Colorado                        2.90% 
RTD/CD                                       1.10% 
Adams County                             0.75% 
Total                                           8.50% 

  • Marijuana Products

The City of Thornton charges an additional 5% sales tax on all marijuana products sold in the City, making the total City sales tax rate 8.75% on all marijuana products.  Additional state collected taxes will also be collected at the time of sale.

  • Denver Premium Outlets

The City tax rate for businesses located in the Denver Premium Outlets shopping center is 2.35%.  This rate is in addition to Public Improvement Fees (PIF) that the developer may require their tenants to collect on sales transactions to finance a portion of the cost for the public improvements surrounding this area.  Generally, these improvements are financed through a Special District, and the PIF collected repays the PIF debt incurred by the developers. 

The PIF at the Denver Premium Outlets center is 1.80%.  The PIF is NOT a tax and is NOT remitted to the City.  Instead, the PIF is a fee that becomes a part of the total cost of the sale/service, and it is subject to sales tax.  The PIF is collected on all taxable sales/services made within the outlet center and is remitted to the Village at Dry Creek Metro District. 

  • Taxable Items

Some examples of items subject to Thornton's sales and use tax are as follows:

    • Automobiles
    • Computer software
    • Cable television
    • Linen services
    • Maintenance contracts
    • Restaurant food
    • Tangible personal property
    • Food for home consumption (groceries)
    • Gas and electric service
    • Telecommunication services 
    • Internet access service
    • Cover/door/admission charges 
    • Recreation services 
    • Automated or hand held car wash 
    • Construction equipment
  • Use Tax

Use tax is a complement to sales tax. If City sales tax has not been charged on a taxable item or service, then use tax is due. The purchaser is responsible for reporting use tax. Use tax should be reported on line 10 of the City Sales and Use Tax Return. Download and print form: Tax Return 

Sometimes another city's tax is paid on items brought into Thornton. If that city's tax is less than Thornton's, then the difference between the two rates is due as use tax. Some examples of use taxable transactions follow. 

Use Tax Examples

Example #1 - ABC Company purchases a computer from a store located outside of Thornton. The store charged 7.0% sales tax (4.0% State + RTD and 3.0% city tax). ABC Company brings the computer back to Thornton to use in the business. 

The difference in the store's city rate and Thornton's is 0.75% (3.75% - 3.0%).  ABC Company owes use tax to the City of Thornton at a rate of 0.75%. 

Example #2 - XYZ Manufacturing ordered a computer over the internet. XYZ received the computer and invoice; there was no sales tax on the invoice. 

XYZ has not paid any city sales tax on this computer and owes use tax to Thornton at a rate of 3.75%.

Example #3 – ABC Company's corporate headquarters are in Texas. ABC Company ordered a new computer. The Computer was delivered to corporate headquarters in Texas, and later shipped to their Thornton location. A review of the invoice shows Texas sales tax of 8.75% was charged. 

Sales tax equal to or greater than Thornton's rate has already been paid. No use tax is due on this transaction. 

  • Lodging Tax

The City of Thornton levies a lodging tax on the price paid or charged for the lease, rental or furnishing of rooms or other public accommodations. The lodging tax rate is 7.0% and is levied in lieu of sales tax. Customers who enter into a written agreement for occupancy of a room or public accommodation for a period of thirty or more consecutive days are exempt from this tax. 

  • Telephone Tax

The City of Thornton levies a telephone tax on any business providing local exchange telephone service to inhabitants of the City. The amount of the tax is $8.00 per local telephone account per year. The tax is due and payable in four quarterly installments. Each installment is due 30 days after each quarterly period.

  • E-911 Surcharge

The City of Thornton E-911 Authority levies a $1.72 surcharge per month on each telephone line. The surge is collected from Thornton residents and businesses on their monthly telecommunication bill. The surcharge is used to pay for a portion of equipment, personnel, technology maintenance, and other authorized costs pursuant to State statute for the City to provide emergency response service