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 nation is experiencing extremely low inventory with the number of homes for sale remaining low for 2021. Colorado Springs was already experiencing a seller’s market before the pandemic. The lack of inventory, low mortgage interest rates, and the fact that our 80911 zip code is the hottest zip code in the nation (again) created ideal conditions to push home values up. In fact, home values in Colorado Springs have increased an unprecedented 17-20%.
If you already signed up with our regular home value monitoring service, you are well informed about the dramatic price increases 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 1, 2021 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 finally 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.
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, 2021 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 July 1st, 2018 through June 30th, 2020. 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.
According to El Paso County’s Assessor, Steve Schleiker, the definition of home value is as follows: “The market is dictated by what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to sell for.” Our team is happy to provide comparable sales for you (susanna@co-regroup). The County Assessor appraisers are only allowed to use the sales market comparison approach to determine the actual aalue.
Residential Assessment Rate: Property taxes are calculated with a fraction of a home’s full value. The current Colorado Residential Assessment Rate is 7.15%. For example: if a home is valued at $380,000, then the assessed value is $380,000 x 7.15% = $27,170. 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 7.15%.
- 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 reappraised 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 1, 2021 to appeal. Otherwise, they can restart the appeal process after January 1, 2022 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.
- Provide comparable sales or your appraisal if you purchased or refinanced between July 1st, 2018 through June 30th, 2020.
- Sometimes the facts about the home, like square footage, are inaccurate. You’ll need to provide documentation like an appraisal or building plans.
- 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.