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Homestead Exemption in Colorado

Posted by Susanna Haynie on May 17, 2024
| 56 Comments

colorado homestead exemptionWhen I hear the word “homestead”, I think of early settlers traveling across the Midwest plains and looking for a plot of land to claim as their own. A total of 10% of U.S. land was snatched up by or given to our predecessors. Free land to expand the Land of Freedom. An opportunity for those who could never outbid wealthy landowners from the South. What an adventure to live during those times! Claim free land and cultivate it into a home and livelihood for generations to come. (A humble heart acknowledges the loss and suffering of the First Nations who were pushed out to accommodate the expansion of the settlers. We honor you.)

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SECURING A FUTURE

The days of homesteading are a distant memory. No more land is available on the mainland (though I hear Alaska still has some!). Even so, wouldn’t it be nice to know that the property we own now is secure and available to pass down to the next generation? Such security is not guaranteed anymore, yet several states now have Homestead Laws to help protect and alleviate the stress of taxes on a homeowner’s primary residence.

When I lived in the mountains of Colorado, I met many families living at a poverty level who were blessed with homes and land passed down through the generations. However, their once-secure properties were being threatened as property taxes started to rise with the influx of an affluent population looking for vacation or retirement homes. Property values skyrocketed and I watched several families lose their family property and houses because they could no longer afford the taxes that were assessed.

What's my home worth?

In 2000, the state amended the Colorado constitution to include the Homestead Law. While it’s not perfect or ideal, the law does give seniors a break from their primary residence. Additionally, families going through bankruptcy may receive protection on a primary residence. In other words, it protects the residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death or debt of the homeowner.

The Colorado Homestead Law:

  • Prevents a forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors.
  • Provides a surviving spouse with shelter.
  • Provides an exemption from property taxes.
  • Applies to one primary residence.

Related Reading:
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PROTECTION FROM CREDITORS

The Colorado Homestead Exemption allows qualified homeowners to exempt up to $75,000 of their real property value when filing bankruptcy. There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically applied to lower-income individuals and involves liquidating your assets to pay off your debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, although similar, involves reorganizing and forgiving some debts through a payment plan. With home equity greater than the exemption amount, the difference is subject to a legal claim from creditors.

This protection applies to single-family detached homes, as well as townhomes and condominiums, and even mobile homes, manufactured homes, and trailers. (consult your attorney)

Let’s consider a home worth $200,000 with a mortgage balance of $130,000. This property has an equity value of $70,000. Assuming a sale at the full market value of $200,000, the owners receive their $60,000 exemption. The balance belongs to creditors. However, in the case of only $40,000 equity in a home, the home is under the protection of the Homestead Exemption. For example, if the owner of a mobile home in Denver has to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they retain the right to their primary residence and remain safe from any actions from creditors.

Citizens over 60 or with a disability receive an exemption of $105,000.

The exemption does not double for married couples.

If you need more info or protection from creditors, please contact a local Bankruptcy attorney for legal advice, including all pertinent laws and protection for your situation.

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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR SENIORS

The Colorado exemption is also available in order to protect the elderly who have invested in their primary home. Senior citizens receive a significant reduction in their property tax value. Property owners over 65, or their surviving spouse, qualify to receive a 50% deduction for the first $200,000 in value of their primary residence. This results in an average savings of $630 per year for qualifying property owners. 

If you would like to review your Colorado property tax bill, your due date or if you’d like to pay property taxes online, simply go to the El Paso County Treasurers website – not the Assessors website.

Senior Exemption Portable for 2025 and Beyond

In the upcoming November 2024 election, Colorado voters will have the chance to determine whether Bill SB24-111 will enable seniors to transfer their property tax exemption to a new home when they move. If passed, it would go into effect in 2025 everyone who has previously been approved for the senior tax exemption and sold a home 2016 or later may re-apply regardless of how long they have lived in their new home.

Requirements:

  • Must be 65 years of age on January 1 of the year they apply for the exemption.
  • A surviving spouse of a qualifying owner.
  • Must be the primary residence of the owner on record for 10 consecutive years.
  • The property is classified as residential.
  • The legal address for the property is listed on your voter registration or other official documents.
  • For seniors who own a multiple dwelling unit, only the unit occupied by the applicant is used for the exemption.
  • This can only apply to one property.
  • To receive the exemption, you must apply with your county assessor.
  • Only need to apply once.

Application Details: The filing deadline is July 15. For instructions and the forms to file for your Homestead Exemption are located here:

Related Reading: 
How to appeal your home value
Click here to request a free, accurate home valuation

DISABLED VETERAN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

If you are a disabled veteran, first let me thank you for your service and your sacrifice. I have a special place in my heart for the military and disabled veterans. We are a United States military family as well. Disabled American veterans are included in the tax break on their primary residence. The extra benefit that they receive is that they do not have to be 65 nor do they have to occupy their home for 10 consecutive years.

Requirements:

  • A 100% permanent and total disability rating from the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
  • The disability is a service-related disability.
  • Have occupied the home since January 1 of the year the application is submitted.

Surviving spouses: If a qualifying veteran who had received the exemption passes away, their surviving spouse may apply to maintain the same benefit. The property must continue to be owner-occupied and serve as the primary residence of the surviving spouse.

Application Details: You’ll need to apply by July 1. The forms to apply for your Homestead Exemption are located here:

Related Reading:
Why is it important to know your home value?

GOLD STAR SPOUSE PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

In November 2022, Colorado voters extended the Property Tax Exemptions to Gold Star Spouses by accepting Amendment E. This means surviving spouses of  US Armed Forces service members who died in the line of duty or from a service-related injury now qualify for this Property Tax Exemption. This bill helps ease the tax burden for Gold Star Spouses.

Requirements:

  • The Gold Star Spouse must have occupied the home as their primary residence since January 1 of the year the application is submitted.
  • The surviving spouse must not be remarried in order to be eligible.
  • Must provide documentation such as a letter from the Department of Defense or a VA Benefits Summary letter.

Application Details: You’ll need to apply by July 1. The forms to apply for your Homestead Exemption are located here:

MORE PROPERTY TAX SAVINGS PROGRAMS

  • The Property Tax Deferral program allows certain qualified homeowners to defer up to $10,000 of property taxes. Keep in mind that you will still need to pay this money at a later time. 
  • The Property Tax, Rent, Heat (PTC) Rebate is now available to Colorado residents based on income. See details and qualification requirements here.

A FINAL NOTE

The Homestead / Property Tax Exemption is for one property for an individual or a married couple, a senior citizen, or a disabled veteran.  If an individual or a married couple applies for an exemption on more than one property, the exemptions will be denied on every property.

I hope you found this information helpful. Please pass it on to anyone who might be eligible for these benefits. Many eligible people are not aware of these programs or they have forgotten about it. Individuals on a low or fixed income appreciate every dollar they can save in their budget!

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56 thoughts on “Homestead Exemption in Colorado

  • Ron
    on January 18, 2018

    Too Whom it may concern , my question is , do you only file a homestead when you are in bankruptcy only ? Or can you file it alone before you need it ?

  • Patricia Anderson
    on August 21, 2018

    Is it possible to file a homestead exemption as well as a senior exemption on our home? We are 68 years old.

    • on August 22, 2018

      Patricia, the homestead exemption is ONLY for seniors (65+)to assist with tax relief

      • cindee
        on May 16, 2019

        I will not be 65 until 8/26/2019 (this year) so that said, does that mean I cannot apply until 2020 (I have been in my home 34 years, and I am on social security). this has nothing to do with bankruptcy, just cannot afford the huge tax increase this year.

    • Carolyn
      on July 3, 2023

      There are different qualifications however for you……….you can qualify for the exemption if you are 65 years or older and have lived in your home for 10 years

      • on July 10, 2023

        Yes, as of NOW (June 2023) that is still accurate. I believe the poster was asking if the Homestead exemption AND the senior exemption can be applied for simultaneously. There are several parts of the Homestead Exemption: There will always be a primary residence protection – regardless of the age of the owner…. However, for the purposes of a property tax reduction there is only ONE exemption you can file for, which is where you have to be at least 65 years old, it has to be your primary residence and you have to have lived there for at least 10 years (as of 06/23). In November there will be a bill up for voting that will make the senior exemption portable, which will help a lot of seniors.

  • sue horaz
    on February 22, 2019

    Good morning,
    I have a question about a chapter 7 bankruptcy filed in 2012.. We were allowed to keep our primary home.
    However, yesterday we went to try and refi our mortgage and Chase Bank told us our home was in fact part of the bankruptcy and we could not refinance it until it was taken off the bankruptcy.
    The bank stated that because we continued to pay our mortgage, The ownership of our home was not affected.
    My question is this,
    How do we get our home off of this bankruptcy at this late date?
    Thankyou for your time

    • on February 25, 2019

      Sue, thank you for your comment, I will email you directly, in order to protect your privacy.

    • on April 9, 2019

      Emailed you privately, glad we could help.

  • Nancy Archer
    on April 5, 2019

    If you have to move because you can no longer manage stairs, do you have to wait another 10 years to qualify?

  • Cathie
    on April 15, 2019

    As possible transplants to Colorado, is the only tax relief for Seniors the Homestead Exemption? We are pretty old to be thinking of waiting 10 years for this. Is there any other relief?

    • on May 19, 2019

      Yes, it’s the only tax relief we currently have. Taxes are less in other areas of Colorado.

  • Nancy
    on May 4, 2019

    Is a Homestead Exemption the same as a Senior Exemption?

  • carmen
    on July 4, 2019

    Hi there, we are a married couple at 40yr age, buying our first home in Arvada, CO. Can we file for homestead exemption? We never had any bankruptcy, and we are not veterans. thanks for the help.

    • on July 28, 2019

      I am sorry you can’t apply.

      Here are the requirements:
      Must be 65 years of age on January 1 of the year they apply for the exemption.
      A surviving spouse of a qualifying owner.
      One must be the owner of record for the property in question for 10 consecutive years.
      Must be the primary residence of the owner on record for 10 consecutive years.
      The property is classified as residential.
      Legal address for the property is listed on your voter registration or other official documents.
      For seniors that own a multiple dwelling unit, only the unit occupied by the applicant is used for the exemption.
      Can only apply on one property.
      To receive the exemption, you must apply with your county assessor.
      Only need to apply once.

  • Juanita
    on September 12, 2019

    Where do I get the application for the exemption, I live in Otero County?

  • Linda F
    on September 17, 2019

    We have owned our house for 15 years. We tore down and rebuilt the property living in another property we owned during the construction. Can we claim the homestead exemption?

    • on October 29, 2019

      Linda, best is to call the county assessor and ask them to see if you qualify.

  • Marie
    on September 23, 2019

    Will a disabled senior be protected from a POA or HOA whose dues are in arrears?

    • on October 29, 2019

      I am not sure, you’d have to talk to legal counsel

  • Dorothy
    on October 22, 2019

    Where don I get forms for Tax Relief for Weld County. We are in our 70s.

  • Michelle Ferrier
    on August 5, 2020

    Is there any law in the state of Colorado that protects a homeowner of any age from frivolous liens filed against their property? I was speaking with an elderly woman who informed me that several states have a law in effect which states that only first liens (with a lender) and mechanic’s liens are allowed to be filed against a property–no other liens can be filed/recorded. Does Colorado have such a law. Thank you!

    • on August 28, 2020

      Dear Michelle, I am not a real estate lawyer and I am not sure what current legislation states.

  • Christine
    on October 17, 2021

    I am a Colorado native, have lived in Jefferson County most of my life. We recently moved from Thornton (the only time not in Jeffco) to be closer to our children for help as we are getting older. Why are we penalized by the 10 year rule? We are over 65 and when we were living in Thornton while both are kids live in Littleton, the distance was very difficult to receive assistance from them. Now that we are minutes from them, we are ineligible for assistance. How is that fair? What has to be done to rewrite the rules to make it better for the seniors? Regardless of where we lived in Colorado, we have paid property taxes for over 43 years. That should count for something. Just because we had to move doesn’t mean we don’t need help. Thank you

  • Evan
    on October 30, 2021

    My wife and I are well over 65 and have owned our home for 28 years. We have lived in it for more than 10 consecutive years but not the most recent 10 consecutive years (8 1/2). So, would we qualify for the homestead senior tax benefit? Thanks.

    • on November 1, 2021

      HI Evan, I am not quite sure about not living in a place for 10 years consecutively. Never had that question, personally, I think “Why not?” – but of course, best is to confirm with the assessor of the county you live in.

  • Celia
    on November 5, 2021

    Hi I have a question I am current on my primary home but am thinking about filing chapter 7 will my home be affected?

    • on November 8, 2021

      Depends on the value of the home, your situation, that’s not something we can answer. Someone from our office will email you.

  • shocked
    on November 22, 2021

    Wow,! ,moving from Texas which has homestead for all homeowners and extra discount for seniors, without waiting. This is shocking to me to say the least!

    • on November 22, 2021

      Yes, every state has their own rules. Feel free to contact us should you have questions.

  • on February 7, 2022

    I am interested in the age of the senior property tax exemption law and when it was last updated. While half of $200000 is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick it is an insult in the Colorado Marketplace after Covid. County accessors are quick to adopt the new values. The growing cost of taxation will soon force many senior Coloradans to consider leaving the state for more friendly climate.

    • on February 7, 2022

      Greg, yes, agreed, $200,000 would not seem appropriately adjusted for all the increase in home values. But like you said, $200,000 is better than a poke in the eye, considering that this Homestead Exemption is reviewed every year and it is determined by the state if or if not they will reimburse Counties for the exemption amount. It could happen that one year that the exemption is denied. I understand that the tax increases could easily become a hardship for our seniors.

  • Steve Soller
    on April 16, 2022

    We moved into our new home on Sep 27 2014. I turn 65 this year, my wife is already 65. The law says 10 consecutive years. Do I file for the exemption on Sep 27, 2024, or can I file after 1 Jan 2024?

    • on April 19, 2022

      Steve in the website it is stated: “You must apply by July 15 of the year in which you seek an exemption, but you have to wait for January 2 of the following year if you miss this cut-off.” Obviously by July 15th, 2024 you would NOT have been in your home 10 years. This means you’d have to wait to apply the following year 2025 and it seems that 2025 would be the first year to get your exemption. That said, you can always try and apply before 7/15/2024 and see if you get rejected…that way you have all your bases covered.

  • Jennita. Cohen
    on May 13, 2022

    My mother had 5ac of land in Costilla County. I have been paying the taxes since 1995. She is dead now how do I get the land in my name. I was given the name of a lawyer but he retired and his son took over and he has left the company, and they are not taking any more clients. Who can I contact to get this done.. I am retire now and would like to live on the land.

  • Francisco
    on December 5, 2022

    I am a veteran, and am only 25 years old, and plan on making the home in Colorado my home of residence, am I eligible?

    • Sarah Steen
      on December 8, 2022

      We sent you an email with details!

  • Justin
    on February 28, 2023

    I’m an approved permanent and totally disabled veteran. I qualified for the homestead exemption but I’m getting conflicting information on having to re-file annually or not needing to as long as I haven’t moved.

    • on March 3, 2023

      Dear Justin, thank you for your question. Denvergov.org says:

      The Senior Exemption deadline has passed for 2022 for taxes payable in 2023. We are currently accepting applications until July 15, 2023. If you have been approved in previous years, you do not need to apply again, but you must notify us of property ownership or occupancy changes.

      I hope this helps!

  • David K.
    on April 10, 2023

    I am over 65 years old and purchased my home on May 31, 2013. Can I apply for the Senior Tax Exemption for the 2023 taxes due in 2024 or do I have to wait another year?

    • on April 19, 2023

      Dear David,
      sorry for the belated reply. The rules state: ” 2) the
      qualifying senior must be the owner of record, and must
      have been the owner of record for at least ten consecutive
      years prior to January 1;” This leads me to believe that the earliest you can apply is in 2024 for 2023.

  • Deb
    on April 23, 2023

    I will be applying for the exemption next year but I cannot seem to calculate how much I’d be saving. Using these figures, how much will be taken off my taxes: Actual value is $501,.900. Taxes are $2,773.00. Thank you.

  • Lisa Worley
    on May 4, 2023

    Hi, Ms Haynie

    My parents had filed for the senior exemption several years ago and when my dad passed away in January 2020, my mom re-filed with no problems. She received her tax bill today and it’s for the full amount. It’s my understanding once you file you don’t need to file again. Could this just be a glitch? Will she need to call the Assessors office to get a new tax bill?

    Any help you could provide or point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Lisa Worley

    • on May 5, 2023

      Once you file you do not need to file again and even if the value shows up in full, but the taxes should show reduced. Please feel free to reach out to me at info@co-regroup.com with the address so I can look it up for you.

  • Teresa
    on July 30, 2023

    Just learning of this option for my 80+ MIL who meets all qualifications. If she has never applied for this and has been paying full taxes, is there any way for her to request refunds on previous years?

    • on July 31, 2023

      To our knowledge, the answer is no. But to be 100% sure, please contact the office of the tax assessor. We don’t want your Mom to lose any more money.

  • Jessica
    on October 3, 2023

    I believe this article needs to be updated colorado homestead exemption is now up to $250,000

    • on October 9, 2023

      Dear Jessica, thank you for your comment. The Homestead Exemption is 50% of the first $200,000 of a homes market value as determined by the local assessors office. Are you referring to the Capital Gain Free Exemption for the sale of a primary home? It is correct that is $250,000 for ANY single filing sellers and $500,000 for ANY jointly filing sellers. This amount is independent from age or time you have lived in the home as your primary residence.

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