If you experienced sticker shock when you received your real property notice of valuation from the El Paso County Assessor’s office, you’re not alone. Many residents of El Paso County are shocked by one of the sharpest property value increases in recent history. It’s the first time in 14 years, that the county has experienced such a hike which means larger tax bills for residents.
These reassessments are mandated by law every two years. To show you the extent of the increase, consider this: In southeast Colorado Springs, values have shot up 37 percent. Higher valuation means higher taxes. The last time the county experienced double-digit increases was in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
You can appeal your home’s valuation by filing an appeal with the County Assessor’s office. As a result, you could possibly trim your property tax bill. The county uses the assessed value to calculate how much property tax you owe.
When appealing your property assessment, you’ll need to show that your home is worth less than the assessed value. You can do this by conducting research or contacting a local real estate agent who can help you figure up the comps for your area.
Notice of Valuation
First of all, read your assessment letter carefully. The letter comes from the El Paso County Assessor’s office. The letter is called a “Real Property Notice of Valuation.” This will list a legal description of your property along with the lot size and the assessed value of your home and lot.
The property assessment value is important because it determines how much you will owe in property taxes. The property tax bill you receive is calculated by multiplying your property’s assessed value by the county’s property tax rate which is currently 7.15% in Colorado Springs. If you feel that your assessed value is higher than your property’s true value, then you can challenge it. But do so quickly because you have a limited time to appeal the assessment. The deadline for filing an appeal is June 3, 2019.
On the back of the “Real Property Notice of Valuation” letter, you’ll see the requirements for appealing the county’s valuation. I’ve broken it down to a few simple steps for you, below.
How was the valuation calculated?
Your property data was pulled for the last 24 months and assessed using the “market approach value” model which bases itself on the market, cost, and income approaches to value. The data gathering period was from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018. This is called the “current year actual value.” If you disagree with the County Assessor’s findings, then you can appeal with the County Assessor.
Inside the letter, you’ll find a questionnaire to help you determine your home’s value based on information you and your real estate agent compile. You can compare this value with that of the County Assessor’s and determine whether or not you should appeal their valuation. An experienced local Realtor can help you fill out the questionnaire and calculate your home’s value based on comps or comparables which is the prices that similar hoes in your area have sold at recently.
What do I base my appeal on?
You can base the appeal on a mistake that you see on the Notice of Valuation letter. Perhaps they listed your lot as 2 full acres rather than 0.2 acres. You certainly have the basis for an easy appeal if that’s the case. Check if they have the number of bedrooms and bathrooms correctly listed. What you’ll want to do is point out mistakes that may have made your property valued too high. So, instead of your 0.2 acre lot being listed, the assessor listed 2 full acres. You definitely want to correct this and appeal. If you don’t have a garage but one was listed on the valuation letter, then you’ll want to appeal. So, make sure to study the assessment letter closely and make sure there are no mistakes that would lead the assessor to believe the home is worth more than it truly is.
You can appeal with the help of a real estate agent who can find comparables or “comps” to prove that your home’s market value is lower than the assessed value. If you’re unfamiliar with comps, they are the recent sale prices of similar sized homes in your area. They can be similar also in features such as condition, location, and facilities. If your realtor can find discrepancies between the market sales prices in your area and the assessment value of your home, then you could possibly save a lot on your property taxes should your appeal be approved. You may want to also hire a professional appraiser. If the appraisal is lower than your home’s county assessed value, then you’ll want to include that appraisal in your appeal package.
Steps for appealing your El Paso County property valuation
You can submit your appeal either online or by mail/phone/fax.
Submit Appeal Online
You can submit your appeal online by visiting https://property.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/#/
- Search for your property record in the “Find” field.
- Click “On-Line Appeals Link”
Other Appeal Methods
You can submit your appeal by mail, telephone, fax, or in person.
Here’s the contact information:
Office of the El Paso County Assessor
1675 West Garden of the Gods Road, Suite 2300
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
FAX (719) 520-6665
Phone (719) 520-6600
Remember, the deadline is June 3, 2019. After the Assessor reviews your appeal and makes a decision, they will mail you a “Notice of Determination” (NOD) by the last regular working day in June. If you don’t receive the NOD or you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can still file a written appeal with the County Board of Equalization before July 15th.