County Assessor

Assessors-photo-2The County Assessor is responsible for valuing all real and personal property, including mobile homes, residential, commercial properties and agricultural land unless exempt by statute. The assessor is responsible for the apportionment of state assessed properties using the values received from the Division of Property Taxation. He or she determines the equitable value of property to ensure that each taxpayer pay only his or her share of the taxes. Anyone who disagrees with changes in the actual value of real property can object or file a protest with the Assessor’s Office. The Assessor and staff welcome questions concerning the property tax process or the valuation of properties.

Baca County Assessor’s Office
741 Main St. Suite #6
Springfield, CO 81073
Phone: 719-523-4332
bacaassr@bacacountyco.gov

Property Ownership

Property ownership cannot be changed until necessary recorded documents are received. For more detail of the procedure contact an attorney.

Assessor’s Role

The primary duty of the Assessor’s office is to determine the STATUS of ownership for every parcel of land in the county, to the best of our ability. We are not concerned with QUALITY of the title, however we do have a statutory obligation to be legally correct in transferring and documentation affecting real property titles.

How Property Taxes Determined

Assessors-PhotoProperty taxes are determined by multiplying the assessed (taxable) value of your property by the tax rate. The tax rates are set by local government entities.

Assessed values are derived by multiplying the actual value of the property by 7.96% for residential property and by 29% for other property. The residential assessment percentage is subject to change by the Colorado Legislature, as required by the Gallagher amendment, each odd-numbered year. By constitutional mandate, the change in percentage maintains the present balance of the tax burden between residential and all other classes of taxable property.

How Tax Rates are Established

Each year county commissioners, city councils, school boards and special districts (taxing entities) hold budget meetings to determine the dollars needed for the following year’s operations. Each taxing entity determines what revenues will be required for operations during the upcoming year. The required revenues are then divided by the total assessed value of all property in the taxing entity’s area to determine the Tax Rate or Mill Levy per entity. The Tax Rate or Mill Levy are limited by 5.5% limitation and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights unless removed by an approved vote of the people within that entity’s boundary.

As an example, say the total assessed value for the county is $100,000. The county commissioners determine the annual budget for the county to be $1,250. This budgeted amount is funded by tax revenue, and is divided by the assessed value to get to the Tax Rate or Mill Levy: $1,250.00 (tax revenue) divided by $100,000 (assessed value) = 01.250% (Tax Rate) or 12.50 Mills (Mill Levy).

Calculating Property Taxes

Actual Value x Assessment Rate = Assessed Value.

Assessed Value x Mill Levy = Taxes Due.

For example, take a residential home with an actual value of $100,000. To derive the assessed value, multiply the actual value by the assessment rate: $100,000 x 7.96% = $7,960.

Then, multiply the assessed value by the Mill Levy (for this example, we’ll use .050 as the Mill Levy) to determine the property tax: $7,960 x .050 = $398.00.

Important Dates

January 1 –Assessment date of all taxable property.

On or before April 15th– Personal Property and Oil & Gas declarations must be returned to the Assessor’s Office

May 1st– Notice of Valuation (NOV) Real Property are mailed to tax payers

May 1st through June 1st– Tax payer(s) may question Real Property Valuations to the Assessor

June 1st– NOV’s for Personal Property, Oil & Gas, and Natural Resources are mailed to taxpayers

June 15th through July 5th– Taxpayers may question Personal Property, Oil & Gas, and Natural Resource valuations to the Assessor

On or before July 15th– Taxpayers appeal to the County Board of Equalization the Assessor’s value on Real Property

On or before July 15th– Senior Citizen Exemption applications must be submitted to the Assessor

On or before July 20th– Taxpayers appeal to the County Board of Equalization the Assessor’s value on Personal Property, Oil & Gas, and Natural Resources

2013 Baca County Abstract

2013abstract

Colorado Senior Property Exemption

In 2000, voters amended the Colorado Constitution with the adoption of Section 3.5 of Article X. The amendment, and subsequent legislation, created a property tax exemption for two groups of people: a) qualifying seniors, and b) the surviving spouses of seniors who previously qualified. The three basic requirements are; 1) the qualifying senior must be at least 65 years old on January 1 of the year in which he/she qualifies; 2) the qualifying senior must be the owner of record, and must have been the owner of record for at least ten consecutive years prior to January 1; 3) the qualifying senior must occupy the property as his/her primary residence, and must have done so for at least ten consecutive years prior to January 1.

For those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 of actual value of the property is exempted. The state will pay the exempted property tax. The exemption is effective January 1, 2002, and the exemption affects property taxes billed in 2003. If you own multiple residences, only one can be designated as your primary residence.

For the purpose of the exemption, “primary residence” is synonymous with ”residence” as defined for voter registration purposes in Title 1, Article 1, Section 104(43), of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The statute is quoted as follows: ”’Residence’ means the principal or primary home or place of abode of a person, as set forth in section 1-2-102.” Pertinent sections of 1-2-102(1), C.R.S. include the following:

(a) (I) The residence of a person is the principal or primary home or place of abode of a person. A principal or primary home or place of abode is that home or place in which a person’s habitation is fixed and to which that person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning after a departure or absence, regardless of the duration of the absence. A residence is a permanent building or part of a building and may include a house, condominium, apartment, room in a house, or mobile home. No vacant lot or business address shall be considered a residence.

(b) In determining what is the principal or primary place of abode of a person, the following circumstances relating to the person shall be taken into account: Business pursuits, employment, income sources, residence for income or other tax purposes, age, marital status, residence of parents, spouse, and children, if any, leaseholds, sites of personal and real property, existence of any other residences and the amount of time spent at each residence, and motor vehicle registration.

(c) The residence given for voting purposes shall be the same as the residence given for motor vehicle registration and for state income tax purposes.

Two application forms have been created for the exemption. The ”Short Form” is intended for qualifying seniors who meet each of the requirements stated above. The ”Long Form” must be used by individuals applying under the surviving spouse option and for applicants applying as the qualifying senior who fall within certain exceptions to the occupancy and ownership requirements.

Exceptions to the occupancy and ownership requirements are as follows: 1) the ownership is in the spouse’s name, who also occupies the property; 2) the ownership has been transferred to or purchased by a trust, corporate partnership or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes; 3) the qualifying senior or his/her spouse was or is confined to a health care facility; 4) the prior residence was condemned in an eminent domain proceeding.

The Surviving spouse of an individual who previously qualified is someone that was married to a senior who met each of the application requirements on January 1 of 2002, or on any January 1 that occurred after that date. A surviving spouse must occupy the property as his or her primary residence, and must have done so with his or her spouse. Qualifications for the surviving spouse option are listed to the right under “Long Form Qualifications.”

The application deadline for either form is July 15, of the year for which you are seeking exemption. The exemption must be applied for only once, and it remains in effect for subsequent years as long as the property ownership and occupancy do not change. Your county assessor has a brochure containing additional information about the exemption.

Applicant as surviving spouse of senior who previously qualified – The ownership requirement of your spouse may have been satisfied if you were the owner of record for all or a portion of the 10-year ownership time-frame when your spouse was alive. As the owner of record, you occupied the property with your spouse as your primary residence.
or

  • If Property is Owned by Trust, Corporate Partnership or Legal Entity: The ownership requirement may be satisfied if your property is owned by a trust, a corporate partnership, or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes. You and/or your spouse must be the maker of the trust or a principal of the corporate partnership or legal entity. If the property was not owned by the trust, corporate partnership or legal entity, it would be owned by you and/or your spouse.

or

  • If Confined to Healthcare Facility: The occupancy requirement may be satisfied even though occupancy has been interrupted by confinement of the applicant or spouse in a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility. While confined to the health care facility, the property was/is unoccupied, or it was/is occupied only by the spouse of the person confined or by a financial dependent.

or

  • If Prior Residence was Condemned: The ownership and occupancy requirements may be satisfied if the reason for not meeting the 10-year time frame is due to the condemnation of the prior residence by a governmental entity in an eminent domain proceeding. Had that not occurred, you would still live in the prior residence, and you would meet the 10-year ownership and occupancy requirements for that property, or you would qualify as a surviving spouse for that property. Since condemnation, you have not owned and occupied any residence other than the current residence.

Assessor Fees

Requests made for ownership research for real estate or minerals completed by the staff will be assessed $30 per hour after the first hour.  (HB 14-1193) The first billable hour is due in advance and the balance paid before the data is released.  Credit Cards are allowed via the Baca County Treasurer.  Copies are assessed .25 per page.  Ownership plats copies are $5 each for real and severed mineral section requested.  Any questions please contact the office.

What is the function of the Assessor’s Office?

Pursuant to Colorado State Statute C.R.S. Article 3, Title 39, all taxable and exempt property is valued by the county assessor valuation criteria as stipulated by statute and by using manuals, appraisal procedures, and instructions issued by the Property Tax Administrator. The total value as determined by the County Assessor is certified to the county entities and the state. Each entity certifies a mill levy to the Assessor and then it is the duty of the Assessor to extend the tax on all property assessed and direct the County Treasurer to collect the taxes.

How does the Assessor establish value?

All property, real and personal, located in the State of Colorado on the assessment date, January 1, is taxable unless expressly exempted by the Constitution or state statutes. Article X, Section 3, Colorado Constitution, and 39-1-102 (16), C.R.S.

Most property in Colorado is valued using the three approaches to value: the market approach, the cost approach, and the income approach. The exceptions to the three approaches include residential real property (market only), agricultural land, and natural resource land (special valuation procedures based on productivity and production).

The market, cost, and income data that county assessors use to apply the appropriate approaches to value are collected during specific periods prescribed by statute and represent a certain ”level of value”.

Property taxes are not calculated on the ”full actual value” as determined by the assessor. Instead, an assessment percentage is applied according to the classification of the property. 39-1-104(1) and (1.5), C.R.S. Residential property is assessed at a percentage of the actual value; currently, this percentage is 7.96% while most other property is assessed at 29%.

How do I know the actual value the assessor has determined my property to be?

A property owner will be sent a notice of valuation (NOV) each year the value changes. This notice must be mailed no later than May 1. In the language of the notice is stated the actual value that the assessor has assigned to your property. This notice of valuation is not a tax bill. The purpose of this notice is to inform you of any change in your property valuation and advises you of your right to appeal the value.

What if I disagree with the value that the assessor has assigned to my property?

If a taxpayer disagrees with the value assigned by the assessor, the taxpayer may file protest during the statutory protest period. Real property protests must be postmarked no later than June 1, or a taxpayer may appear in person to protest no later than June 1. 39-5-121(1), C.R.S. Personal property protests must be postmarked no later than June 30, or a taxpayer may appear in person to protest no later than July 5. 39-5-121(1.5), C.R.S. A protest form is included with the notice of valuation: however it is not mandatory for the taxpayer to use this form, or any other particular form, when protesting.

What happens after I appeal?

All personal inquiries and letters/faxes received during the protest period are processed and reviewed. The assessor’s staff corrects all erroneous or improper valuations. If the assessor determines that the value is correct, no adjustments will be applied. In each determination, the assessor includes the reason(s) for denial and information regarding the taxpayer’s right of appeal to the County Board of Equalization.

Can I protest the amount of taxes I pay?

NO! Colorado statutes require that the assessor hear protest on valuation that has been assigned by the assessor. The assessor does not assign taxes. Taxes include a number of components that are beyond the assessor’s control, such as mill levy and assessment rate. The assessment rate is set by the State Legislature and mill levies are determined by each governing entity such as schools, city or county, fire department, etc. The end results of these components determine the amount of taxes levied.

Forms and Applications

To download forms and applications, please see the forms page.