Property taxes

Taxable value

How is the value of property assessed for tax purposes in your state? Which types of property are subject to tax?

County assessors are responsible for listing and valuing most real and personal property. They list and value all real property on a two-year reappraisal cycle, where property is valued every odd-numbered year. Personal property is valued each year, with assessments being based on schedules or statements filed by taxpayers (C.R.S §§ 39-1-103(5)(a), -104; §§39-5-101, -107(1), -108; § 39-10-102).

State rate

What is the state property tax rate?

Colorado does not currently impose a property tax for state purposes (see Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs, 2013 Annual Report: Certification of Levies and Revenues by County).

Local rates

What is the range of local property tax rates levied in your state?

Counties, cities, and districts in Colorado levy different tax rates based on the needs of each locality and the assessed valuation of property in that county, city, or district. Each locality calculates a tax rate based on how much revenue the locality needs to raise. The tax must first be certified by the Board of County Commissioners. After that, the board levies the tax and certifies it to:

  • the assessor;
  • the administrator;
  • the division of local government; and
  • the department of education.

All of the tax rates applicable to an individual property are combined to equal a total tax rate, and the property’s assessed value is multiplied by the total tax rate to determine the taxes due (see Colo. Const. Art. X, § 3(1)(b); C.R.S. § 39-1-104.2(3)(n); C.R.S. § 39-1-104, -111; C.R.S. § 39-5-128). The Colorado Department of Local Affairs provides an annual report providing the taxes imposed by each county, city, and district in that year (see Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs, 2013 Annual Report: Certification of Levies and Revenues by County).

Taxable property in Colorado is assessed at 29% of its actual value. However, residential property is limited to an assessment rate of 21% of its actual value. This rate is adjusted every two years by the Colorado General Assembly. Currently, residential real property is valued for assessment at 7.2% of its actual value (C.R.S. §§ 39-1-104(1), (1.5); § 39-1-111).

Exemptions and deductions

What exemptions and deductions are available?

Property is not exempt from taxation unless it is specified as exempt in the Colorado state constitution, which details full and partial exemptions based on the property type or on the individual or organization that holds the property (Colo. Const. Art. X). Specified classes of personal property, public property, and property used for religious worship, school, and charitable purposes are completely exempt from property taxation. Colorado offers homestead exemptions for qualified owners, such as those aged 65 and over, disabled veterans, and their surviving spouses.

Filing requirements

What filing requirements and procedures apply?

Property taxes are due on January 1 of the year following the tax levy and become delinquent on June 16 of that year (C.R.S. § 39-10-102). Taxpayers may elect to pay the tax in two installments, the first of which is due by the last day of February and the second by June 15 (C.R.S. § 39-10-104.5). The administrator provides all of the forms necessary for property valuation, assessment, and collection, which can all be found on the Division of Taxation’s website (see C.R.S. § 39-2-109, Colo. Dept. of Rev., Div. of Tax., “Forms”). The county treasurer will accept payment of taxes by any person at any time after receiving the tax list and warrant from the assessor (C.R.S. § 39-10-102(2)).

Real estate transfer tax

How is the transfer of real estate taxed in your state (including tax base, rates, exemptions, and filing formalities)?

Every person offering for recording in the office of the county clerk and recorder any deed or instrument in writing in which title to real property situated in the state is granted or conveyed is liable for a documentary fee (C.R.S. § 39-13-102(1)). The documentary fee is levied when the total consideration paid by the purchaser exceeds $500, inclusive of the amount of any lien or encumbrance against the real property being conveyed (C.R.S. § 39-13-102(2)(b)). The fee is calculated at the rate of $0.01 for each $100, or major fraction, of the total consideration paid by the purchaser. Colorado provides for several exemptions from the transfer tax, which are listed in C.R.S. § 39-13-104. The conveyance documents subject to the documentary fee must be accompanied by a real property transfer declaration (TD-1000), which must be completed and signed by the grantor or grantee (C.R.S. § 39-14-102(1)(a)). The fee is payable and collected by the county clerk and recorder at the time of recording (C.R.S. § 39-13-102 (1), (3)).

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