Colorado Property Taxes
Overview of Colorado Property Taxes
Property owners in Colorado are required to pay property taxes every year in the respective counties where their homes are located. Like in many other states, Colorado property taxes are administered by local taxing jurisdictions. They support special districts, municipal governments, junior colleges, public schools, and county governments. Revenue generated through property taxes stays within the county where it is collected and does not fund any state operations. It is one reason why Colorado property tax rates are some of the lowest in the country.
The state and its local governments collect $51.8 billion in total revenue every year. Of that, $8.6 billion is from property taxes or 16.7% of total revenue. The low percentage of property taxes compared to the total revenue collected indicates a state with low property tax rates. If you own a home in the Centennial State, you pay 0.63% of your home value every year in property taxes or $6.31 for every $1,000 in home value. However, Colorado property tax rates vary from county to county.
Each county in Colorado has Assessors tasked with the listing, classification, and valuation of the properties within their jurisdiction. Residential properties are assessed every year to establish their true market value, which is the amount any buyer would pay for the property. This ensures the Colorado property tax burden is equitably shared among property owners in a particular taxing district.
However, Colorado property taxes are not applied to the market value but rather to the assessed value. The assessed value is calculated by multiplying your home's actual value by the residential assessment rate, currently calculated at 7.15% of market value. For instance, if your home has an actual value of $275,000, the assessed value will be ($275,000 x 0.0715) $19,662.50. The assessed value is then multiplied by the tax rate, as determined by the local taxing jurisdictions to get the amount of property taxes due.
If you are planning to buy a home in Colorado and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Colorado Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Colorado Property Tax Due Dates
In Colorado, homeowners receive a Notice of Valuation via mail by June 15th of each year. The notice contains the location, classification, and valuation of your property for the current and prior years. Property classification is determined by County Assessors depending on the property's actual use as of January 1st. Classification determines the property's assessment rate and, ultimately, the amount of Colorado property taxes.
When are property taxes due in Colorado? If your Colorado property tax bill is greater than $25, it can be paid in one or two EQUAL installments by April 30th. If you opt to pay in installments, the first half is due by the last day of February. The second installment is due by June 15th. Should your tax bill be below $25, it must be paid no later than April 30th. The state does not offer discounts for early payments. Failure to receive a Notice of Valuation does not excuse you from paying your property taxes.
Homeowners who don't comply with Colorado property tax due dates risk losing their homes. The state allows the County Treasurer to hold a tax lien sale, which is a public auction, for the overdue taxes. A notice regarding the impending tax lien sale is sent to the homeowner by September 1st. If you fail to clear the delinquent tax bill by the date specified in the notice, your home is auctioned. You are required to pay the due Colorado property taxes, accrued interest, and other penalties within a three-year redemption period of the tax lien sale. If the redemption period passes without paying your due taxes, the winning bidder takes your home for good.
Colorado Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option of appealing your property taxes, if you disagree with the Assessor's valuation of your property, the state of Colorado offers several exemptions to eligible homeowners. The most common are homestead and senior exemptions. These exemptions can potentially reduce your Colorado property tax burden. However, you are still required to comply with Colorado property tax due dates, notwithstanding your eligibility.
Colorado Homestead Exemption
Colorado's homestead exemption protects the equity of your home against creditors in case of bankruptcy. It exempts up to $75,000 of home equity against a forced sale by creditors. You must be a legal Colorado resident and use the property as your principal residence. The exemption rises to $105,000 if the homeowner is disabled or 60 years old and over. However, the exemption does not affect the accrual of Colorado property taxes.
Colorado Senior Citizens Exemption
The senior exemption is available to elderly Colorado residents. The amount exempt under this provision is decided by the Colorado legislature. To qualify, you must be at least 65 years old and have owned the home as your principal residence for at least ten years before January 1st of the year in which you apply for the exemption. Applications for this exemption must be filed by July 15th. However, the exemption does not cover Colorado property taxes assessed before the year in which you apply.
Other Colorado property tax exemptions include the Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption. It exempts 50% of the first $200,000 of actual value for the disabled veteran's primary residence. To qualify, the veteran must legally own the property as of January 1st of the current fiscal year. Additionally, the disability must be service-connected and sustained during active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs must rate the disability service-connected, permanent, and total. More details regarding this and more exemptions can be obtained from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Colorado
The state of Colorado allows you to appeal property taxes if you have reasons to disagree with the County Assessor's valuation of your home. A successful appeal can lower your Colorado property taxes. Disputing your assessment starts with submitting your objections to the Assessor in oral or written form. The Assessor considers the objections and makes the necessary adjustments. If you disagree with the Assessor's decision, you can appeal to the County Board of Equalization by July 20th. Decisions by the County Board can be further appealed to an arbitrator, District Court, or the Board of Assessment Appeals within 30 days of receiving the County Board's decision.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Colorado, though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Denver County
To understand how to appeal your property taxes in Colorado, here is a breakdown of the process in Denver County, the most populous county in Colorado.
Obtain your assessment
Before deciding if you should appeal, the first thing is checking what the County Assessor thinks your property is worth. You can obtain your assessment from the Notice of Valuation or by visiting the County Assessor's office.
Determine if you are over-assessed
A successful appeal must show that the Assessor's valuation of your property is above the market rate for similar properties. You can use TaxProper's search tool to search for similar units within your location and compare their market rates with your property's assessment.
Complete forms needed to appeal
Forms needed to appeal property taxes in Denver County can be obtained from the Assessor's Office - Online Forms page.
File property tax appeal
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Denver County are encouraged to file their property tax appeals via e-mail.
Prepare for hearing
It is upon you as the appellant to provide compelling evidence showing how your home was wrongly classified and assessed. Evidence can include sale prices of similar properties that have been sold within the fiscal year in which you are appealing.
The Denver County Board of Equalization requires you to attend the appeal hearing in person. However, you can also be represented by a certified property tax specialist.
Appeal the decision
The County Board's decision can be appealed to the state Board of Assessment Appeals, arbitration, or the District Court of the county in which the property is located. The appeal should be filed within 30 days of receiving the County Board's decision.
Property Tax Information for Colorado Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Colorado county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Colorado county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|Clear Creek County||$306,601||$1,678||$5.50|
|El Paso County||$250,490||$1,378||$5.50|
|Kit Carson County||$147,491||$1,057||$7.20|
|La Plata County||$394,455||$1,134||$2.90|
|Las Animas County||$173,148||$596||$3.40|
|Rio Blanco County||$249,680||$842||$3.40|
|Rio Grande County||$190,514||$979||$5.10|
|San Juan County||$240,059||$1,313||$5.50|
|San Miguel County||$1,268,694||$3,450||$2.70|