Colorado uses a “mill levy” system to assess your property taxes.
What is a mill levy?
A mill levy is a unit of value representing dollars per thousand.
For example: 50 mils mean $50 per $1,000 of the
assessed value of your property.
Each taxing district
determines what it needs to operate each year through its budget process,
which includes public hearings. You may attend these public hearings and
provide input and comments.
What are taxing districts?
Taxing districts are governmental subdivisions that rely on taxes for
operations. These include counties,
municipalities, and schools, and may include fire, parks, libraries, water,
ambulance, or other special districts.
The number and type vary based on what residents of those areas have approved.
Taxing districts are restricted by voter approved mill levies and cannot
raise taxes without approval of voters. It is important to note, however, that your taxes
can rise if
the value of your property rises.
If your taxing district needs more money to operate, it cannot raise
taxes to support its operations unless it asks
voters for an increase in the mill levy.
How is my property value determined?
Property values are determined in
odd-numbered years. The
Assessor values your property based on actual or market value, and the result is known as the “assessed value”. Valuing property according to its market value requires research and
analysis of properties that are similar. In the odd-numbered years, the Colorado legislature sets
the assessed rates for residential and other properties, which is based on a formula that voters
approved in the Gallagher Amendment. The “assessed value” is currently 7.96% of the actual or market value.
Note: the valuation performed in
odd-numbered years is made for an 18-month period ending the year before
your Notice of Valuation date.
Example: Tax Year 2015 is based upon
data collected for January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
Market Value x Assessment Rate x Mill Levy = Property Tax
Residential Property - $100,000 x .0796 x 1 (100mils) =
Commercial Property - $100,000 x .29 x .1 = $2,900.00
Why are commercial properties valued at a much higher rate?
The Gallagher Amendment was adopted in 1982 and was the legislature’s
attempt to relieve homeowner’s concerns about escalating property taxes. The Gallagher Amendment
fixed the commercial property assessment rate at a 29%.
The Gallagher Amendment allocated the state property tax burden as follows:
What methods does the Assessor use to value my property?
The Assessor uses mass appraisal methods, meaning that large groups of
properties that have similar
characteristics are grouped together and used as comparable properties. While care
is taken and data is tested to ensure that it is sound, it is not without problems or issues.
Residential properties are valued by the market value approach. Valuation is determined by analyzing sales of
comparable properties that sold within a certain time period. It includes consideration of similarities, as well as
Agricultural land value is based on the actual value of agricultural lands, exclusive of
building improvements, and is determined by consideration of the earning or productive capacity
of such lands, capitalized at a rate of 13%, § 39-1-103(5)(a), C.R.S.
Vacant Land and Commercial, Industrial, & Personal Property are based on the actual
value of the property based on the cost approach, industrial market approach, and the
§ 39-1-103(5)(a), C.R.S.
Possessory Interests are valued in accordance with the specific standards and procedures
established in § 39-1-103(17)(a), C.R.S.
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