May 16, 2017

Did Colorado Raise Your Property Tax Value? Here's How to Challenge the Valuation

Every odd year, Colorado reassesses real property for a two-year period. This year, we are seeing huge increases in property tax values across the state and especially in the Denver/Boulder areas. The value increases are ranging from 35 percent to 50 percent—and some increases are even higher. For Coloradans receiving their assessments, here are a few answers to commonly asked questions:

Who determines what the value of my property is for tax purposes, and how are taxes determined?

Colorado has a classification system for commercial and residential properties. Commercial property is assessed at 29 percent of its actual market value. Residential property has a tax rate cap under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), and as a result of increased property values, the assessment ratio has been lowered by the state legislature for the first time since 2003, from 7.96 percent to 7.2 percent. Colorado uses comparable sales to set values for both commercial and residential properties. An income or cost approach to valuation can also be used for commercial properties.

Can I challenge the assessor’s valuation?

Yes. The first requirement is to file a protest of the assessment with the county assessor. That protest must be submitted by June 1, 2017, after which the following process takes place:

Assessor Determination

The assessor must make a decision on the valuation and mail a notice of determination (NOD) to you before the last regular working day in August (the last working day in June during non-reappraisal years).

Appealing the Assessor’s Decision

If you disagree with the assessor’s determination, you can file a written appeal with the County Board of Equalization (CBOE) on or before September 15 (during non-reappraisal years the deadline is July 15) for real or personal property. The CBOE schedules and completes their hearings before November 1 (August 5 in non-reappraisal years). The board must notify you in writing within five business days of rendering a decision.

If you are satisfied with the CBOE decision, the process ends there.

Appealing the CBOE Decision

If you disagree with the CBOE, there are three options:

  1. Go to binding arbitration
  2. Appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA)
  3. Go to District Court

Regardless of which option you choose, you must appeal within 30 days of the CBOE decision.

If you choose arbitration after the CBOE decision, the decision reached at arbitration is final and not subject to review.

If you are satisfied with the decision rendered by either the BAA or District Court, the process ends there. If, however, the decision rendered by either the BAA or District Court is unsatisfactory, you may then appeal to the Court of Appeals within 30 days of the BAA decision or 45 days of a District Court decision. The only appeal beyond that is to the Colorado Supreme Court.

For more information view the Protest/Appeals Calendar.

How do I initiate the process to challenge an assessor’s valuation?

As mentioned above, the first step for all challenges is the initial protest to the county assessor, which must be submitted by June 1, 2017. Faegre Baker Daniels’ Equity Property Tax Group can help with that protest. We have consultants who have handled tax protests in Colorado for over 20 years. And if it becomes necessary to appeal an adverse decision beyond the county assessor, we have a legal team that can handle your appeal.

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