March 1, 2023

Just Got Your Property Tax Statement? Don’t Panic!

Just Got Your Property Tax Statement? Don’t Panic!
[Editor’s note: This post about property tax statements and property taxes was originally published in May 2019; it has been reviewed and updated for accuracy, and a significant amount of new content has been added for comprehensiveness.]
 
Every year around this time, I get lots of questions from homeowners about property taxes. Here’s a roundup of the questions I get asked most often, along with the answers.
 
If you have a question that’s not answered here, please feel free to reach out to me at (303) 204-6494 or by [email protected].
 
  • Why did I get a property tax statement? Why didn’t I get one?
  • How is the valuation of my property determined by my property taxes? 
    • What if I think the valuation on my property tax statement is too low?
    • What if I think the valuation on my property tax statement is too high?
  • When will my property be reappraised?
  • How is my Assessed Value determined for property taxes?
  • How do I appeal my property taxes?
  • Can I appeal the various tax rates applied to my property?
  • How can I get a property tax exemption?
    • Property tax exemption for senior citizens.
    • Property tax exemption for disabled veterans.
    • Property tax exemption for Gold Star spouses.
    • Can I claim more than one property tax exemption?

Why Did I Get a Property Tax Statement? Why Didn’t I Get One?

Since 2010, Colorado law has allowed counties to send property tax statements via email. Most (but not all) Colorado counties took that opportunity to stop mailing hard-copy versions to anyone whose property taxes are paid via their mortgage company. Instead, these counties send emails to let you know when tax statements are available for viewing and when due dates are approaching. So.
 
  • If you did receive a hard-copy statement, it’s because either: 1) your property taxes are not paid via a mortgage company for example, your home is paid off, or 2) you live in one of the counties that still mail hard-copy statements, or 3) your county sends emails but you have signed up with the county assessor to receive hard-copy statements. Each county assessor’s website will have a way for you to sign up for emailed statements if that’s your preference.
  • If you didn't receive a hard-copy statement AND your property taxes are paid via your mortgage company, you probably received your statement via email. If you’re in this group and still cannot locate your property tax statement, contact your county assessor. Note: it’s important to keep your email updated with the county assessor; otherwise, you will not receive property tax-related communications.

How is the Valuation of My Property Determined by Property Taxes?

For tax year 2022 (i.e., the property taxes payable in 2023), the valuation listed on your property tax statement is as of June 30, 2020. The valuation is an educated estimate of your property’s market value at that point in time in comparison to properties that sold between January 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, and are similar in location, design, size, age, and amenities.
 

What if I Think the Valuation on My Property Tax Statement is Too Low?

Remember that the valuation figure is from June 30, 2020. That’s kind of “forever ago” when it comes to real estate. So you’re right that the number may be a little (or a lot) lower than what you might expect to get if you were to sell your home today. Here’s the bright side to a low valuation: since your Assessed Value gets calculated based on this number, the lower it is, the lower your property taxes will be.

What if I Think the Valuation on My Property Tax Statement is Too High?

It makes good financial sense to take a critical look at the valuation shown on your property tax statement. Your Assessed Value gets calculated based on this number, so you want to be sure it’s not higher than it should be. If you think the valuation is too high, reach out to me. I can do a Competitive Market Analysis using figures from that same January 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020 time period. If it turns out the valuation really is overstated, you can appeal the valuation with the county assessor (see How Do I Appeal My Property Taxes? below).
 

When Will My Property Be Reappraised?

Colorado law requires all assessors to reappraise all real property including land and improvements every two years. Your property will be reappraised and show a new valuation on the property tax statement you’ll receive in 2024 for payment of 2023 taxes. At that time, the value of your property will be determined based on comparable sales falling in the period of July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022. Although the pace of Colorado’s real estate appreciation has slowed, don’t be surprised to see a significantly higher valuation figure when you receive your statement in early 2024.
 

How is My Assessed Value Determined for Property Taxes?

Your Assessed Value is the result of multiplying your valuation by the Residential Assessment Rate. The Residential Assessment Rate in Colorado is currently 6.765%. As part of a new measure passed by the Colorado legislature in 2022, residential properties will have their actual value reduced by $15,000 for the 2023 and 2024 tax years, as long as the assessed value does not drop below $1000.
 

How Do I Appeal My Property Taxes?

Each county in Colorado has procedures for appealing property taxes. Check your county assessor’s website for specifics. Typically, you can ask to speak with an assessor about your valuation or you can complete and submit the county’s appeal form. It is important that if you choose to appeal the Assessor’s value, you should provide pertinent information supporting your estimated value; that’s where my Competitive Market Analysis is useful. Here are links to the appeal forms for the five metro Denver area counties:
 
Note: There are timelines associated with these appeals; be sure you check the dates that apply in your county if you choose to make an appeal.
 

Can I Appeal the Various Tax Rates Applied to My Property?

No. Your property tax statement has a section titled “Tax Authority/Other Charges.” This is where you can see every tax or charge that applies to your property – both who’s charging it and at what dollar amount or rate per $1,000 of Assessed Value. Common taxes in this section are those related to your property’s school district, county, city, library district, community-centered board for services for people with developmental disabilities, water and fire districts, metropolitan districts, and more. The mill levy rates and charges were approved by voters living in the relevant geographic boundaries of each taxing authority.
 

How Can I Get a Property Tax Exemption?

Three property tax exemption programs are currently available in Colorado: one for senior citizens; one for disabled veterans; and one for Gold Star spouses.
 

Property Tax Exemption for Senior Citizens

Colorado has had a property tax exemption for seniors since January 1, 2001. You qualify if:
 
  • At least one owner of the property is at least 65 years old or older as of January 1; and
  • The property in question is the primary residence; and
  • The property in question has been the primary residence for at least 10 consecutive years prior to January 1 of the year he/she applies.
You must meet all three requirements to qualify (see the information on the state website). Qualifying seniors receive an exemption of 50% of the first $200,000 of the valuation. The remaining valuation is then assessed at the standard Residential Assessment Rate of 6.765%. The filing deadline for the senior citizen exemption is July 15.
 

Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans

Colorado has had a property tax exemption for disabled veterans since January 1, 2006. Important: The qualifications for disabled veterans are more complex than the ones for senior citizens; check the information on the state website and review it with your tax professional. Qualifying veterans receive an exemption of 50% of the first $200,000 of the valuation. The remaining valuation is then assessed at the standard Residential Assessment Rate of 6.765%. The filing deadline for the disabled veteran exemption is July 1.
 

Property Tax Exemption for Gold Star Spouses

Colorado enacted a property tax exemption in 2022 for Gold Star spouses. A Gold Star spouse is a homeowner who is the surviving spouse of either a military service member who died in the line of duty or a veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. Important: The qualifications for Gold Star spouses are more complex than the ones for senior citizens; check the information on the state website and review it with your tax professional. Qualifying Gold Star spouses receive an exemption of 50% of the first $200,000 of the valuation. The remaining valuation is then assessed at the standard Residential Assessment Rate of 6.765%. The filing deadline for the Gold Star spouse exemption is July 1.
 

Can I Claim More Than One Property Tax Exemption?

No. You may not claim more than one exemption per tax year for a residential property, even if one or more of the owners qualifies for more than one exemption. Further, if an individual or married couple applies for more than one exemption on more than one property, the exemptions will be denied on each property. This is because only one property can be the primary residence.

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