More Information on Senior Property Tax Exemption

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.
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