Nearly one in four Colorado taxpayers owed Uncle Sam money in 2017

About one in five U.S. tax filers owed the federal government money on their 2017 returns, but in Colorado, that ratio is closer to one in four, according to a study from SmartAsset.

“In 2017, 24.2% of Colorado tax returns had underpayments,” said Casey Luneva, a spokeswoman for the New York-based personal finance technology company.

Using IRS data, SmartAsset counted 656,960 Colorado tax returns with underfunded federal obligations. Those taxpayers owed $4.1 billion, which worked out to an average obligation of $6,232 versus an average of $5,510 nationally.

Colorado had the 14th highest underpayment average. The state with the highest average unpaid tax obligation, at $8,077, was Wyoming. West Virginia has the smallest average underpayment at $4,239.

Last year’s study, based on 2016 returns, counted 602,080 Colorado taxpayers who underpaid federal taxes to the tune of $3.5 billion. That worked out to an average of $5,770 each for those who owed.

Some financial advisers view overpaying taxes akin to giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. That said, owing federal taxes can create hardship for filers who don’t have the money to catch up, and a larger number of people in the state likely found themselves in that predicament.