Frequently Asked Tax Protest Questions
How is your property value determined?
For the 2019 and 2020 appeals, the actual value assigned to vacant land, residential and commercial properties is based on sales and other market data from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018. This data gathering period is prescribed by Colorado statutes. In situations where there are insufficient sales, data from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018 may be utilized. All sales or market data is adjusted for time to the June 30, 2018 appraisal date.
Values are determined utilizing the Sales Comparison Approach, which compares your property with properties that are similar in location, design, size, age, and amenities. For non-residential property, the cost and the income approaches to value are also considered.
What should I do if I disagree with the value?
Colorado Statutes identify the month of May as the time for you to contact your County Assessor concerning your valuation. You may protest in person or by mail. If you protest by mail, it must be postmarked by June 1, 2019. If you appoint an agent to act on your behalf, that person needs your written authorization. Please keep in mind that you should provide information to support your estimate of value if it differs from that estimated by the Assessor’s office. The Assessor’s office will only consider appeals for the valuation of the property, not the amount of taxes you pay.
For professional assistance handling your protest, Order a Property Tax Report from Eagle County Tax Appeal.
I'm not sure if I should appeal or not. How can I find out the sales prices of properties in my neighborhood for the 18-month period prior to June 30, 2018?
Two ways to obtain this information are:
- Visit your county’s Assessor’s office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They will provide you with a list of comparable sales which were considered in the valuation of your property. Keep in mind that the data provided by the Assessor’s office is often difficult to decipher and typically requires extensive research to determine its relationship with the value assigned by the Assessor.
- Seek information from a local real estate professional.
For professional assistance in determining the reasonableness of the value assigned by the Assessor, order a Feasibility Appraisal from Eagle County Tax Appeal!
If my house was not complete in June 2019, shouldn't it be valued at "zero?"
No. The Assessor is required to value each property as it existed on January 1 of the current year. If it was complete by January 1, 2019, then it will be valued and taxed for 2019, at a June 30, 2018 level of value.
How are the assessment rates determined?
The assessment rate, which is used to calculate the assessed value, is determined by the Colorado Constitution and statutes. Please note that higher assessment rates result in greater tax liabilities. For 2019-2020 the assessment rates are as follows:
Vacant Land: 29%
Residential: 7.2% (Note: residential property must have a residence present)
Agricultural: 29% (Note: Property is valued as Agricultural property as opposed to Residential property, usually resulting in a lower actual value and tax basis.)
Agricultural Residence: 9.15%
Mobile Homes: 9.15% (if used as a residence)
Personal Property: 29%
Oil & Gas: 87.5 % of production value if primary well; 75% of production value if secondary well
Only the residential assessment rate may be adjusted by the Colorado Legislature. The residential rate is set every two years, during the year of reappraisal.
How are your taxes calculated?
The following formula is used to calculate the dollar amount of taxes due:
Actual Value X Assessment Rate X Mill levy = Property Taxes Due
The actual value of each property in Eagle County is estimated by the Assessor’s Office.
The mill levies are set each year by the taxing authorities that benefit from the taxes:
- School districts
- Eagle County
- Cities and towns
- Fire, water and sanitation districts
- Other special districts
The districts, which levy taxes on your property, are listed on your tax bill.
Doesn't the TABOR Amendment of 1992 prevent my taxes from rising?
No. The TABOR Amendment (Amendment I of 1992) controls the amount that state and local governments can collect and spend. It does not limit the rate of increase of an individual tax bill. Additionally, many tax districts have elected to take away the constraints of the Tabor Amendment (known ad De-Bruceing).
Why don't all properties increase or decrease by the same percentage?
Some people believe the previous (2017/2018) values are simply multiplied by an inflation factor, but in a reappraisal, all the data from the relevant time frame (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018) is considered. This data is analyzed using mass appraisal techniques to reflect the increased, stable, or decreased values of county properties.
Why Would Your Property be Over-Valued by the County Assessor?
The Eagle County Assessors office has a very difficult task. They must assign values to more than 60,000 properties. And, the diverse array of properties in the county increases the complexity of this task. The Eagle County Assessors office includes an experienced and professional staff. They employ competent technological systems and utilize accepted appraisal methodologies, fully complying with state regulations. In most situations, the values assigned to county properties are quite reasonable.
However, the time constraints involved in valuing such a large number of unique properties necessitates the use of Mass Appraisal techniques. Mass appraisal methodology involves the use of regression analysis. This methodology often does not properly account for meaningful differences in value, such as views, locations, renovation of properties, and unique appeal characteristics. When the sales data from a neighborhood is diverse, mass appraisal methodology can easily result in inappropriate valuations to many properties.
This is the reason why mortgage lenders and banks do not accept the county assessed valuations when making real estate loans and mortgages. Assessed valuations just do not provide the level of accuracy required to secure the lenders interests in lending situations.
Why Does the Use of Mass Appraisal Methodology Result in Errors?
The reliability of Mass Appraisal methodology is directly dependent on the:
- Similarity of the available comparable sales data.
- The accuracy of the subject and comparable sales data.
Similarity of Comparable Sales Data: It is important to remember that the greater the number of differences between a property and a comparable sale, the greater the chance of making an error in quantifying the market adjustment for that difference. Therefore, if the sales data utilized to value your property differs substantially, there is a stronger likelihood of an unjust valuation being assigned to your property.
Properties within the same neighborhood and market segment can vary significantly in size, quality, effective age, and views. The effective sales price can be significantly influenced by concessions and personal property such as furnishings and club memberships. Furthermore, these markets are sometimes volatile with the actions of motivated buyers and sellers sometimes skewing sales data.
Accuracy of Subject & Comparable Sales Data: Keep in mind that no matter what appraisal methodology is utilized, its reliability is directly related to the reliability of the data for each Subject Property and the Comparable Sales utilized to estimate value. Unfortunately, there are many errors in the County data. Errors are made in characterizing properties. Properties change, and the county staff is unaware of the changes. Sellers do not fill out the Transfer Declaration forms correctly, resulting in inappropriate Effective Sales Prices of comparable sales.
Through research, these errors may be rectified, resulting in successful tax protests that save taxpayers significant sums of money. The staff of Eagle County Tax Appeal is prepared to perform research to detect these errors.
What Alternatives are Available to Mass Appraisal Methodologies?
An alternative to the mass appraisal process is the more accurate direct comparison of properties utilizing the Sales Comparison Approach. It is the methodology which is primarily utilized by appraisers in the preparation of appraisals for mortgage lending situations. This approach utilizes a direct comparison of your property to the most similar comparable sales to provide an opinion of value. Eagle County Tax Appeal utilizes the Sales Comparison Approach in the preparation of tax appeals for our clients.
How could there be an error in quantifying your property?
Three main reasons: Human error, subjective judgment, and changes to the property since it was last quantified by the county assessor’s staff. The county appraiser staff has to quantify and value more than 40,000 properties. On the whole, the county staff does good work. But errors can be made in measuring the various areas and components of your property. Errors can be made in the assignment of the quality rating of your home, or changes to your property may not have been taken into account.
Why don't more people challenge their high property taxes?
Most people have no idea how to determine if they are being overcharged. The property taxing authorities do not want you to be curious about the value they place on your house and property. They do not have the time or manpower to establish accurate assessment figures. And, since less than 1 percent of the national population typically appeal their taxes, why should they bother? Equalization or equal treatment is very difficult, so you have to check for overcharges yourself. The Property Tax Bill offers the greatest potential savings of the expenses your property incurs.
If you lose your initial property tax protest, can you challenge again?
There are three (3) main stages involved in the process of appealing your assessed valuation.
1st Stage Protest: Your initial appeal is directed to the Eagle County Assessor’s office. The Eagle County Assessor’s office will provide a written response to the taxpayer by the last working day of June 2019.
2nd Stage Protest: If you are not satisfied with the assessor’s decision, a written appeal must be filed with the County Board of Equalization (CBOE). The appeal must be postmarked or delivered on or before July 15, 2019. You will be notified of a hearing date to present your appeal to hearing officers of the CBOE.
3rd Stage Protest: The CBOE’s decision will be issued no later than August 10, 2019. If you are not satisfied with the decision, an appeal must be submitted to one of the following:
- District Court,
- Board of Assessment Appeals, or
- A request for Arbitration with the County Commissioners. The appeal must be submitted in writing no later than thirty (30) days after the CBOE’s decision is mailed. The Board is required to give at least 30 days’ notice prior to the hearing; however, a notice of hearing is usually mailed 45 to 60 days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
If you disagree with the decision of the District Court or the Board of Assessment Appeals, you have the right to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals for judicial review within 45 days from the date of the Board’s decision. Decisions of Arbitration with the County Commissioners are final.
Can my valuation increase through the protest process?
Yes, however, this is very rare. Increases in value usually occur when the county finds an error in quantifying the size or quality of your property.
If you have an appeal pending, do you have to pay your taxes?
Yes. To avoid penalties and interest, all taxes must be paid by the delinquency data. You will receive a refund if an appeal is later settled in your favor.
What if the county has your square footage listed incorrectly?
You may request the county appraisal staff to perform a field check of your property. Or, for additional fees, you may request the staff of Eagle County Tax Appeal to perform an on-site inspection to determine the accuracy of the county data.
Should you hire Eagle County Tax Appeal, or should you prepare your own protest?
The advantage of hiring us is you have a full-time professional armed with vast databases and extensive experience valuing residential properties in Eagle County. We have extensive experience handling tax appeals and understand the property tax protest process.
Many private parties handle their own property tax protests. However, a significant amount of time is required to prepare a successful tax protest.