Property assessments are an invaluable part of our city and county budgets. They are used to determine property taxes, which, in turn, cover public expenses from schools and libraries to police and fire departments.

It is law in Colorado that all property must be appraised every two years and will happen in odd-numbered years (such as 2023!). The assessment is done by studying home sales over a 24 month period ending on June 30 of the year prior to the appraisal. That means, for this year, the date range is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.

The what and how this calculation is perfomed is beyond the scope of what I intend to cover here. You can find out more detail by looking at your local city or county site. In Denver, there is a great FAQ page on the denvergov.org website, which you can access here.

Instead, I want to focus on how one may go about contesting a property assessment as it is within your legal right to do so if you believe it is incorrect.


Notice of Valuation

Per Colorado law, a Notice of Valuation was mailed to each property owner before May 1, 2021 and you had until June 1, 2021 to appeal (or the next business day if June 1 falls on a holiday or weekend). The various assessor offices across the state dedicated the month of May to assist property owners with questions and concerns. A formal appeal can be filed via the instructions on the Notice of Valuation.


What You Can Appeal

For the most part, appeals will be filed for one of two reasons:

    1. Property characteristics: this includes any facts about the home incorrectly represented in the valuation, such as square footage, number of bathrooms, finished vs. unfinished basement.
    2. Value is too high: you will need evidence that similar properties sold for less during the time period.

What You Wish You Could Appeal but Cannot

Taxes are too high. An Assessor does not set the taxes, they simply provide a valuation for your home. Therefore, challenging them on the tax rate or amount of taxes to be paid will not go anywhere.

School boards, special districts and other taxing authorities hold annual public hearings to determine what is needed to fund operations, which will determine the mill levy. You will need to attend these hearings to be involved and informed.

The assessor reports the total assessed value to the taxing authorities in December each year so an accurate mill levy can be set.


What to Include in Your Appeal

When you contest your valuation, you will want to explain why you believe the value and/or property characteristics are incorrect with supporting material. Comparable sales, updates, corrections, and any other information concerning the condition of your home will help here. Include the parchel/schedule number from the Notice of Valuation and a phone number.


Notice of Determination

After receiving your appeal, the assessor will review the information and supporting material that you provide and mail a Notice of Determination prior to the last working day in June.


Further Appeals

If you remain in disagreement you may continue the appeal process. Instructions and dates will be included on the Notice of Determination. Depending on your location, this may include a Board of Equalization, the State Board of Assessment Appeals, District Court, or binding arbitration.


For More Information

It is always best to go directly to the source and there are great online resources through the counties and cities across Colorado. They also provide instruction with each correspondence throughout the process. As always, you can message me and I will be happy to provide a property evaluation and point you to other helpful resources to support you in this process.

want to find out more?

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, I am happy to help and would love to hear from you!