By law, the assessor must consider a variety of market-based information in appraising different kinds of property:
Colorado law requires all Assessors to reappraise all real property, including land and improvements, every two years, in odd-numbered years. A reappraisal is the review and adjustment of property value to a different level of value. Property value may change between reappraisals if there are changes to the property, such as new construction.
Each reappraisal cycle the Assessor’s Office disregards the old valuations and starts from scratch using an entirely new sales list. Colorado law requires that market value for a parcel is established using sales from a specific time frame; in the case of the 2021 reappraisal this was from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020. Often percentage increases or decreases in property value are reported in the media, which is confusing to property owners because these figures are generalizations, not representative of a specific neighborhood. What is important is whether the current value is correct and aligned with sales of similar properties in the area.
According to State Statute, the Assessor is required to gather and confirm sales within the eighteen-month period ending on June 30 of the year prior to a reappraisal year, time adjusting each sale to the June 30 ending date. This data-gathering period is referred to as the Sales Study Period. While statute prescribes an eighteen month study period, assessors are allowed to extend the study period back in time in six-month increments. In Douglas County the study period for the 2021 reappraisal extends from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020. Click Here for More Information.
Assessors around the country employ what are commonly referred to as mass appraisal techniques in the valuation of property for property tax assessment purposes. Mass appraisal is the valuation of a group of properties using common data, standardized methods and statistical testing. Like single property appraisal, mass appraisal is rooted in the three traditional approaches to value: sales comparison (market), cost and income. For more information on Mass Appraisal click here.
One sale by itself does not determine market value. All neighborhood sales must be considered when establishing a level of value for consistency and equalization purposes. Your sales transaction is verified and then may be considered along with sales of similar properties.
While a property may not have been updated and characteristics remain the same, the property value is based on what it would sell for as of the prescribed appraisal date. Real estate values are influenced by numerous external economic, social, governmental, and physical factors. For example, general economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation rates, supply and demand, changes in tax laws, new highways, and a number of other factors can change and affect the value of property. As property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected on the assessment roll.
Although location is very important in the valuation of real estate, it is not the only factor. Other characteristics to be considered in choosing good comparable sales are similarity in size, quality, style, and condition of the residential improvements.
Your 2021 assessment is based on the status of your property as of January 1, 2021, and valued according to what it would have been worth on June 30, 2020. The taxes on the 2021 assessment will be due in 2022.
The Assessor determines the “actual” (market) value for all real and personal property. Then, a percentage of that value is taken in order to derive the “assessed” value. For all property in Colorado except residential, the assessment percentage is 29%. For residential property, the assessment percentage is set at 7.15%. The assessed value, multiplied by the mill levy, produces the property tax.
Real Estate may be assessed for more than the sales price because the assessment reflects “fair market value.” Fair market value is not necessarily the price paid for a piece of real estate, but rather, what it is worth on the real estate market. Values also change, and the property value may have gone up since the purchase. This is especially true if a piece of real estate was purchased several years ago, or if a person happened to get a good buy because of a distress sale condition. The actual value should represent fair market value, which may or may not be the same as sales price.
Newspapers sometimes publish a summary of the average sale price in an area that compares one time period to another. While this may give a general indication of a percentage change in sales prices, it should not be compared to any percentage change in your assessment, for the following reasons:
If your property value has increased, that does not automatically mean that your property tax will go up by the same percentage. THE ASSESSOR DOES NOT SET PROPERTY TAXES OR MILL LEVIES. Property taxes are determined by multiplying your home’s assessed value by the mill levy. Mill levies are set in December of each year by the various taxing authorities (city or town council, Douglas County School District, any special districts you might reside in, etc). All the mill levies for the taxing authorities are then added together into one overall mill levy.
All property in Colorado is valued as it exists on Jan. 1 of the current year. If a structure is not fully built on that date, a partial value reflecting the percentage of completion is used.
The Assessor mails a Notice of Valuation (NOV) to each property owner on May 1. The NOV states the actual value for that year, however current and prior year property values are available on the Assessor’s website.
Property owners can protest the Assessor’s valuation of their property between May 1 and June 1 of each year. This may be done in a number of different ways. You may file an online appeal, mail or fax back your appeal form, or appear in person. We do request an appointment to be made for a face to face hearing. See the Step-By-Step Protest Procedures in the Protest/Appeals section of this web site.
During the meeting, the appraiser will review the record on your property with you to be sure all the information such as age, style and size is correct. You may want to identify and review information from the Assessor’s office on properties comparable to your own and sales of comparable properties, all available on this website, to present at your hearing. After your meeting the appraiser will review all the information provided as well as information in the assessor’s records and make a decision. The Notice of Determination will be mailed by August 15th. The appraiser’s job is to ensure that values are fair and equal and will take all of the issues into consideration. This should not be considered adversarial.
The Assessor may not review values for prior years during the annual appeal period. However, IF you did not already appeal those values during the years in question, abatement petitions may be filed within two years of the date the taxes were due, provided that:
The filing of the Petition For Abatement or Refund of Taxes, is the first step in a process of appeal that is lengthy and may take up to six months before a decision is rendered.
No. Colorado statutes require that the Assessor process appeals on valuations that have been assigned by the Assessor. There is no provision to appeal taxes and THE ASSESSOR’S OFFICE HAS NO CONTROL OVER TAXES. Valuation is only one part of the formula for calculating taxes. The assessment rate is set by the State Legislature. Mill levies are set each year by taxing authorities.
Property taxes are calculated using the following formula.
Current Actual Value (provided on Notice of Value) x Assessment Rate* = Assessed Value
Assessed Value x Tax Rate (Mill Levy) = Estimated Property Tax
* Current Assessment Rate is 7.15 percent for residential and 29 percent for all other property.
The Colorado state legislature adjusts the residential assessment rate in reappraisal years.
Multiply the current purchase price by the current assessment rate (7.15%). Multiply the result by the mill levy in your area and move the decimal point 3 spaces to the left.
Real property tax is the responsibility of the owner of record January 1st of each year. Private contracts between buyer and seller will often specify who pays the taxes or how the taxes are prorated based on the date of title conveyance. The proration is generally completed at the closing with the title company.
No. The Tabor Amendment (Amendment 1 of 1992) controls the amount that State and local governments can collect and spend. It does not limit the rate of increase of an individual tax bill.
Property tax continues to be the major source of revenue for local government. Property taxes are an important source of revenue for local schools, libraries, fire protection, water and sanitation, and law enforcement. The list of taxing authorities serving your property may be found on our website on the Property Details page for your property.
The differences in assessment rates between residential homes and other types of property is the result of an amendment to the Colorado Constitution, approved by the voters in 1982, which limited the residential share of the property taxes. The state legislature changes the residential assessment rate each reappraisal year to keep the property tax burden from shifting to residential property.
The title on property can be changed via a recorded deed. The Assessor’s Office is an “office of record,” which means changes in ownership or property boundaries are done based on recorded deeds, surveys, subdivision plats, and other documents pertaining to ownership. Deeds must be recorded at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office before the Assessor’s records can be modified to reflect any changes. Deeds are available for purchase at many office supply stores or online.
Review your original deed to see how title was taken. Then list the current owner(s) in the area for the grantor(s) and list the new owner(s) in the area for grantee(s). If grantees want to take title as Joint Tenants, that must be stated in the language of the deed or title is automatically taken as ‘Tenants In Common’. Joint Tenants have a right of survivorship meaning if one of the owners dies, title is automatically vested to the remaining person(s) after a death certificate is recorded. ‘Tenants In Common’ is the statutory default and if one owner dies their interest passes to their heirs, but must go through probate court. ‘Tenants in Common’ is also used when there are interests other than equal ownership between the parties.
The Assessor’s office does not give legal advice. You may wish to consult an attorney to see if the change is appropriate to your situation.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Assessor’s Office of any change in mailing address. To protect the taxpayer from an erroneous address change, the address used by the Assessor’s Office will not be changed without the property owner’s written consent. For your convenience, you may download an Address Change Form from this site, complete it and mail it. Every year, thousands of property owners don’t receive the notices we send because they have not kept us advised of their changed addresses. Don’t let this happen to you!
Each residential property is assigned a quality designation that allows us to group properties of like quality for valuation and classification. Criteria for Residential Construction Quality
The Assessor’s Office uses exterior measurements of homes and buildings, which is an appraisal industry standard. This may cause the Assessor’s calculation of square footage to differ from that estimated by a builder or realtor since they frequently use interior measurements. This measuring technique is applied consistently to all improvements, which results in uniform data collection.
No. When an interior inspection is not allowed, the Assessor will attempt to update the records by looking at the property from the outside and using the best available data and information. However, to ensure an accurate assessment or determination of actual value, it is to your advantage to allow the assessor inside your property when an inspection is requested. All Douglas County appraisers have photo identification cards that are provided when an inspection is requested. If you wish to verify the person requesting the inspection, please contact the Douglas County Assessor’s Office at 303-660-7450.
Generally, improvements or changes to the structure will increase the value of the property. Examples of typical items that will increase the value of your property:
CRS 39-1-102 (14.4)(a) states – “Residential land means a parcel or contiguous parcels of land under common ownership upon which residential improvements are located and which is used as a unit in conjunction with the residential improvements located thereon. The term includes parcels of land in a residential subdivision, the exclusive use of which land is established by the ownership of such residential improvements. The term does not include any portion of the land which is used for any purpose which would cause the land to be otherwise classified. The term also does not include land underlying a residential improvement located on agricultural land.”
Owner requests for contiguous parcel designation on a vacant parcel will be considered for the classification after the owner submits in writing to the Douglas County Assessor:
Beginning in 2002, for those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 in actual value of their primary residence is exempt from property tax. The exempted taxes are paid by the State of Colorado, however the legislature has the ability to discontinue the exemption during times of budget shortfalls. Since its inception C.R.S. 39-3-203 has been revised back and forth to both eliminate and reinstate the senior property tax exemption benefit. At this time the exemption will be funded for taxes payable in 2017. Further information on the requirements and application process may be found on this web site under Senior Information.
Taxpayers who are at least 65 years old on Jan. 1, who have been the owner of record on their property for at least ten years prior to Jan. 1 and who have occupied the property as their primary residence for at least ten consecutive years prior to Jan. 1 may qualify for the Senior Exemption. Application must be filed by July 15 of the year for which the exemption is sought.
In 2006, Colorado voters approved Referendum E, amending section 3.5 of article X of the Colorado Constitution. The amendment and subsequent legislation expanded the senior property tax exemption to include “qualifying disabled veterans.”
Application must be made through the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. For further information, instructions for filing and an application form, please refer to the Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption.
Under Colorado law, organizations which are charitable, educational, or religious in nature can be fully or partially exempt from property taxes. Simply having a non-profit status under federal IRS rules does not automatically carry an exemption from local property taxes. For further information and to download an exemption form, go to the State Division of Property Taxation web site or call 303-866-2371.
There is a statutory provision that a homestead occupied as a home by the owner shall be exempt from attachment arising from any debt or bankruptcy up to the value of $60,000, but current Colorado laws do not allow for a Homestead Exemption from property taxes.
Yes. Anyone valuing property in the Assessor’s office is required by law to hold a Real Estate Appraiser’s license or certification authorized by the Colorado Real Estate Commission, State of Colorado. In addition, annual continuing educational courses, workshops, and seminars to maintain their license and certification are required. Most appraisers in the Douglas County Assessor’s office far exceed any minimum requirements established by law.