On May 1, El Paso County mailed out Notice of Valuation letters to all homeowners in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. Many homeowners most likely needed to take a deep breath when they saw their new property tax amount. All real estate property in El Paso County is being reevaluated (commercial, residential, manufactured, land), but this article will focus on residential valuations.
Most of the Pikes Peak region is experiencing low inventory with the number of homes for sale remaining low for 2023. Colorado Springs was already a seller’s market before the pandemic. The lack of inventory, low mortgage interest rates, and the fact that our 80911 zip code was the hottest zip code in the nation (again) created ideal conditions to push home values up. In fact, home values in Colorado Springs increased an unprecedented 17-20%.
This year’s market has been a little harder to predict with rising interest rates, but our home values aren’t dropping like many folks expected. If you experience sticker shock viewing your new property tax assessment, it’s because this value is based on sales data taken from January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. Dynamics in our market during that time included multiple offers on nearly every home, listings selling for well over list price, appraisal gaps and more.
If you already signed up with our regular home value monitoring service, you are well informed about the price trends in El Paso County. Higher home values are great news for homeowners, but they also mean bigger tax bills with each new assessment. Homeowners have until June 8, 2023 to appeal their home’s assessed value from the county.
THE COUNTY ASSESSOR’S ROLE
The assessor does not collect taxes.
“The assessor determines the equitable value of a property to ensure that each tax payer pays his or her fair share of the property taxes” ~ Schleiker, County Assessor
The assessor simply determines the value of a home with a number of facts: size (home and lot square footage), year built, subdivision, floorplans, etc. This value is used to determine the assessed value and to calculate the tax bill.
Property taxes pay for public services like schools, libraries, fire protection, police and more.
Curious about what specific organizations benefit from your property taxes?
- Visit the El Paso County Assessors webpage
- Click Parcel Page Search
- Enter your address and look at the Tax Entity and Levy Information
How do I pay my property taxes?
Most homeowners with a mortgage have their taxes collected, escrowed and paid for by the lender on their behalf. Homeowners who own their home free and clear are responsible for paying for their property taxes. They can do this easily by visiting the Treasurers Website. Alternatively, you can click the link in the El Paso County Assessors webpage (enter your property, and click the link indicated below).
THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
All properties are reappraised every two years. In El Paso County, reappraisals occur every odd year. All Notices of Valuation were mailed on May 1st, 2023 to the address on file with the tax assessor. Homeowners might miss this letter if they are live out of town or are an investor and haven’t updated their mailing address with the county. Homeowners can find the updated values on the county website.
Comparable sales: The county assessor appraisers will review home sales similar to your home in size, floor plan, year built and neighborhood. They will look at sales in the 2 year period ending June 30th of the year prior to the year of reappraisal. To find comparable home sales for your home, you can review any sales between January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. If you refinanced or purchased your home during that time period, the appraisal from that process could potentially be enough evidence to prove the value of your home.
Our team is happy to provide comparable sales for you: email susanna@co-regroup or call 719-219-9739. The County Assessor appraisers are only allowed to use the sales market comparison approach to determine the actual value.
Residential Assessment Rate: Property taxes are calculated with a fraction of a home’s full value. The current Colorado Residential Assessment Rate is 6.765%. For example: if a home is valued at $380,000, then the assessed value is $380,000 x 6.765% = $25,707. With the partial appeal of the Gallagher Amendment, the assessment rate is frozen over the next few years.
Taxing District: Homeowners also pay specific rates based on their taxing district. El Paso County has about 300 different taxing districts, and this number grows along with the city. Depending on where you live in town you will pay the municipality (Colorado Springs, Monument, Manitou Springs, etc.), the school district and all organizations listed under the Tax Entity and Levy Section on your personal homeowner property El Paso County webpage.
Mill Levy: Where you live will determine the mill levy you pay. Residents of mill levy districts vote on any levy changes in local elections. These changes are applied to property taxes.
HOW ARE MY TAXES CALCULATED
- The Assessed Value is a simple equation. The county will take the actual value of the home and multiply it by the Colorado Assessment Rate of 6.765%.
- The Assessed Value is then multiplied by the mill levy of the property as it is listed by the Treasurers Office. Alternatively, mill levys are also listed on the El Paso County Assessors webpage of your property.
You can only appeal the appraised value of your home (not the taxes). You’ll find detailed instructions on how to appeal the reappraised value on the back of your Notice of Valuation letter. Homeowners in El Paso County have until June 8, 2023 to appeal. Otherwise, they can restart the appeal process after January 1, 2024 when new tax notifications are mailed out.
What are you appealing? The actual value of your property, the size or the condition? You’ll need to explain why your home’s value has been affected.
- The very first thing to do is to review all the data the Assessor has about your property. If there are discrepancies in square footage or the Assessor shows finished square footage that isn’t actually finished, it might pay off to have that corrected and reduce a lower payment just with that. You’ll need to provide documentation like an appraisal or building plans.
- Provide comparable sales or your appraisal if you purchased or refinanced between January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.
- If there is anything in your home that could reduce its value that the assessor might not be aware of (foundation cracks or general structural issues), provide a structural engineer report. If your neighborhood has been stigmatized (yes that has happened before) then you can provide buyer statements, canceled contracts and other documentation.