Significant valuation increases for Colorado property owners

Courier photo by John Waters Property valuations throughout Colorado have increased dramatically. Property valuations for land on the Baca Grande in Saguache County near Crestone have increased in some cases by 165%.

‘Rural Colorado has been discovered’

COLORADO — Property owners in Colorado are receiving their 2023 Real Property Notice of Valuation, which almost universally includes a dramatic increase.

Saguache County Assessor, Peter Peterson issued this statement in regard to recent property valuation increases:

Property owners in most of rural Colorado can expect tremendous valuation increases when they receive their 2023 Notice of Valuation on or about May 1, including Saguache County. Over the past two years, strong demand for real estate, increased building material costs, historically low mortgage rates, and steady migration from larger cities into rural Colorado have all contributed to these historic valuation increases. Rural Colorado has been discovered, and people are paying much higher prices for properties for the opportunity to live here.
Under Colorado law, county assessor offices throughout the state conduct a complete revaluation of all properties in their county every two years. The previous valuations were based on a June 30, 2020, level of value. These valuations used market sales data from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020. The new 2023 valuations are based on a June 30, 2022, level of value and were established using market sales data from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022. These new valuations will be used for tax years 2023 and 2024 (payable in 2024 and 2025, respectively). Any sales transactions occurring after June 30, 2022, cannot be used or considered until the next reappraisal in 2025. The Colorado Legislature sets the appraisal date, the market sales data collection period, and the annual calendar for the assessment process.
In addition to lowering assessment rates, the Colorado Legislature has also provided an actual value exemption of $15,000 per residential property and $30,000 per improved commercial property for tax year 2023. These actual valuation exemptions will not be reflected in the Notices of Valuation but will be applied prior to the 2023 tax bills being sent.
Tax calculations also take mill levies into account. Mill levies are established by the county commissioners, school districts, and the boards of the various taxing entities such as fire, recreation, library, sanitation, cemetery, etc. A summation of these various individual levies is applied to the assessed value to determine the taxes due. It is undetermined at this time what the 2023 mill levies will do since the taxing entities will not set their 2023 mill levies until later this fall during their budget hearings.
The assessor’s office is solely responsible for establishing valuations, not taxes. To accomplish this, the assessor uses actual market sales transactions to build a mass appraisal valuation model that is then used to set the values on all properties within the county. With the 2020 repeal of the Gallagher Amendment to the State Constitution, assessment rates are now dictated by the Colorado Legislature for all 64 Colorado Counties.
Ultimately, the assessor’s goal is to equalize property values and ensure that the tax burden is distributed fairly and equitably among property owners within the statutory and constitutional guidelines of the State of Colorado.
Property owners have recourse through exemptions for those who qualify, and protest.

“There are exemptions for seniors, disabled veterans, and gold star spouses,” Saguache County Assessor, Peter Peterson, explained. “Veterans and gold star spouses must apply through the Division of Veterans Affairs, while seniors may apply through the Assessor's Office. Seniors must be 65 years old as of Jan. 1 and have owned/lived in their house as their primary residence for 10 years or more. The exemption exempts half of the first $200,000 of property's actual value from taxes.”

The protest deadline has been extended to June 8 this year.
For questions about your property value, please call 719-655-2521 or email [email protected].

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