GUIDELINES FOR APPEALING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS
Sometime in the first quarter of odd-numbered years, the County Assessor’s Office will mail to owners of property in the county a NOTICE OF VALUATION for that year. The notice will include the type of property - such as Residential or Vacant Land – the prior assessed value and the current valuation from the Assessor.
Many property owners believe that the county’s assessments are overstated. And while some owners may appreciate a higher assessed value for whatever reason, others may like to lower the assessed value in order to reduce the property taxes which are based on the assessment. The purpose of this document is to provide basic guidelines in the event that a property owner wishes to dispute their assessed value.
Note that this document includes some basic guidelines that property owners in Colorado use to dispute their property tax assessment. It does NOT represent legal, financial or any other type of advice. It does not include up-to-date information or information specific to any property assessments. Please conduct your own research or seek appropriate counsel for your specific situation.
The following is taken directly from the State of Colorado document titled “Understanding Property Taxes in Colorado:”
PROTEST AND APPEAL RIGHTS: If you disagree with the actual value or classification placed on your property, you may present oral or written objections to the assessor. Protests for real property must be postmarked or delivered to the assessor on or before June 1*. Personal property protests must be postmarked or delivered to the assessor by June 30*.
The assessor must make a decision on your protest and mail a Notice of Determination to you by the last regular working day in June for real property and by July 10* for personal property. Any county may elect to extend the Notice of Determination mailing date from the last regular working day in June to the last regular working day in August.
If you are dissatisfied with the assessor’s decision, you may appeal to the county board of equalization by July 15* for real property and by July 20* for personal property. The county board conducts hearings through August 5*. If the county has opted for the extended appeal period, you must appeal to the county board by September 15*. Under this option, the county board conducts hearings through November 1*. The county board must notify you in writing within five business days of the date of its decision.
If you are dissatisfied with the county board’s decision, you may appeal to an arbitrator, district court, or the Board of Assessment Appeals within 30 days of the date the decision was mailed.
* Due to weekends and holidays, statutory dates are not necessarily the dates to be used by taxpayers and counties. Please contact your county assessor for more information on adjusted dates.
To summarize from the state of Colorado PROTEST AND APPEAL RIGHTS:
1. If you disagree with the assessment, appeal to the county assessor;
2. If dissatisfied with the assessor’s decision, appeal to the County Board of Equalization;
3. If still dissatisfied, appeal to your choice of (a) an arbitrator, (b) district court or (c) the state Board of Assessment Appeals.
The REAL PROPERTY PROTEST PROCEDURES can be found on the back of the NOTICE OF VALUATION from the County Assessor, along with key dates which must be adhered to in order to file an appeal. Simply fill out the form including your estimate of the property’s value and your rationale supporting your estimate. See “Comparable Sales” section below for assistance with historical property sales.
The County will send a NOTICE OF DETERMINATION to let you know the result of your appeal. On the back of the notice is another set of APPEAL PROCEDURES in which you must appeal to the County Board of Equalization. A hearing before the Board of Equalization will be scheduled. If you cannot attend in person, you can either mail information supporting your appeal, or schedule a phone conference.
After the hearing, you will receive a NOTICE OF DECISION OF YOUR APPEAL OF THE ASSESSOR’S VALUATION OF YOUR PROPERTY, along with instructions on next steps if you still disagree with the decisions, which include:
· Appealing to the state Board of Assessment Appeals
· Filing a case in district court
· Submitting to binding arbitration
Note that there are no fees for appealing to the Board of Assessment Appeals, and appeals must be on their forms. Fees will be incurred for the other two options.
If appealing to the Board of Assessment Appeals, you will receive a notice of your appeal and a notice of your hearing date and time.
The county is supposed to use an 18-month lookback period in determining property values. For some areas and subdivisions, data may be limited, so a longer lookback period might be used.
Data for comparable sales can be found on the Costilla County website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/costillacounty/assessor. These specific instructions are based on the website as of December 2018 and may change over time:
1. Click on “County Assessor Property Search”
2. Click on “Enter EagleWeb”
3. Click on “Sale Search” in the menu bar – on this page you can enter specific dates
4. Click on “Advanced” tab
5. Enter “Little Norway” in the Subdivision field
6. Click on “Search”
This will provide a listing of Sales Search Results which can be sorted using the fields on the left side of the page. Note that this listing will include items that do not necessarily represent a sale but might include miscellaneous documents filed such as titling changes, etc. In addition, some sales might include the sales price for multiple properties rather than just one property. And in some instances, information seems to be inconsistent. Therefore, this information must be used with care.
A link on www.littlenorway.org/documents.htm will display a sample listing of the sales search results for Little Norway.
· In researching property information, the first four digits of the parcel numbers for all Little Norway lots are 7300.
· Costilla County changed their website a couple of years ago. If you go to the old website at http://www.co.pueblo.co.us/cgi-bin/webatrbroker.wsc/ackatrcos.p you can search for sales that took place in prior years (search using Little Norway subdivision #7300), but these listings seem to end in 2016.
· Sadly, the information on the Costilla County website can be inconsistent. A sale listed on the Sales Search Results report shows the residence on lot #39 sold on 3/17/17 for $329,628. But the details for this specific lot show a sales price as $162,314. Is there is a reason for the calculation of (162,314 * 2) + 5,000 = 329,628?
· Going through the appeal process is not the only recourse. There are forms on the Costilla County Assessor’s page titled “Petition for Abatement or Refund of Taxes.” Costilla County has procedures in place for property owners who did not file their appeal on a timely basis and feel they have been overcharged for their property taxes.
· In going thru the appeal process, keep copies of all forms, and send certified mail in order to obtain proof of delivery.
· There are very specific instructions for all parts of the process, including deadlines for all appeals, requirements for sending a specific number of copies by a specific date, etc. Be sure to pay attention to all requirements.
*** GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR APPEAL PROCESS ***