Your 2023 Property Taxes May Go Up Significantly
If your property taxes are escrowed as part of your monthly mortgage payment, you may be seeing a large increase to your monthly payment in the next couple of months. El Paso County reassesses property taxes every two years, making 2023 the year to roll out a new tax assessment. But how exactly are our property taxes calculated?
Who Is Our County Assessor and What Do They Do?
First, it’s pertinent to know who the County Assessor is and what their role is in assessing property taxes. Mark Flutcher is our currently elected El Paso County Assessor. The County Assessor is elected every five years by general election. The Assessor’s job is to value all real property (i.e. land, buildings, improvements, etc.) for property tax purposes. Equitable value is determined by the assessor to ensure taxpayers only pay their fair share of property taxes billed by the County Treasurer. The taxes then fund public services, like police and firefighters, and schools and libraries.
When Is Property Assessed?
By Colorado Law, all real property must be reappraised every two years, occurring on odd numbered years. The Assessor’s office looks at the sales of property in the past 18 months within that two-year period which ends on June 30th of the year prior to the reappraisal. Specifically, “the Assessor must estimate actual market value. This is based on size, amenities, location, etc., then it is compared to like-properties that have sold during a 18-month time span. This time span is titled the “data gathering period.” Those sales nearest to the end of the 18-month period would be the most representative. The 2023 & 2024 data gathering period is January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.”
How does the El Paso County Colorado Assessor Value Property?
First and foremost, the County Assessor does not set or collect property taxes. Their office only calculates Assessed Value and uses that figure to calculate Estimated Taxes. What is the Assessed Value? Assessor ‘Actual Value,’ or market value as determined by the data gathering period, of a property is adjusted by the current and appropriate Assessment Rate (a percentage of Actual Value) to arrive at its Assessed Value. The Assessment Rate “of all residential property is determined by the State Legislature. For 2023, it is set at 6.765%.”
Example: Let’s say you bought your home sometime prior to January 1, 2021.
After studying the appropriate data for the new tax assessment starting in 2023, the Actual Value is now $500,000. To find the Assessed Value, you would multiply $500,000 by the current Assessment Rate of 6.765%:
500,000 X .06765 = 33,825
The Assessed Value of your home is $33,825. This is the value that will be used to estimate your property taxes. Property Tax is based on the current market value of your property, but why does that value change? Real estate market values change based on the transactions of willing buyers and sellers. The Assessor does not determine the local market, their office only uses the data created by sales between buyers and sellers within the market.
Additionally, if you bought your house during the data gathering period, the sale price of your home would be the default market value. Your purchase is your best comparable for the Assessor regarding your property during that 18-month period.
How Are Property Taxes Calculated?
The City of Colorado Springs supports seventeen school districts, and at least eight incorporated towns and cities, including Calhan, Falcon, Manitou Springs, Monument, and Palmer Lake. Not to mention the Pikes Peak Library District, Roads and Bridges districts, and many Water and Sewer districts among others. Depending on where you live and the financial needs of each taxing authority you are located in all add up to determine your total Property Tax.
Your property taxes are calculated based on the applicable Tax Rate. Who determines the Tax Rate? All the tax entities that make up your taxing district submit to the County Treasurer how much in revenue they determine they will need for the coming year. The County Treasurer divides those budgets by the total value of all properties within that taxing district. The resulting number is the Tax Rate, also known as the Mill Levy. Each taxing entity will have its own Mill Levy based on the revenue amount they decide they need. The levy is multiplied by your Assessed Value to calculate what you owe your tax district in Property Tax.
The levies are submitted to the Assessor in December. For 2023, those levies will be submitted in December of 2023. This is why you pay your 2023 Property Tax in 2024. Until these levies are determined, the Assessor will provide you an Estimated Property Tax based on the current year’s Assessed Value of your property and the prior year’s levy of your tax district through the Notice of Value that is mailed on May 1st of each year. Taxing authorities hold public hearings to determine their new budgets. Attending these hearings is both educational and gives you the opportunity to speak for or against changes to the budget.
Can I Appeal My Property Tax?
You can only appeal the valuation of your property, not the tax amounts. Since property valuation is half of the tax equation, it can have a huge impact on your tax owed. You will need to supply documentation on why you believe your valuation is incorrect at the time of your appeal. This can include other sales history of similar homes to yours or information concerning the condition of your home. The appraiser will consider this information when taking a second look at your property. You can submit an appeal in writing, in person, or online. It is important to note only sales closed inside the “data gathering period” will be considered for re-appraisal purposes.
Check out this map of how much assessed values increased from 2021 to 2023!
The Assessor’s website is simple to navigate and free to use. You can search your property and see the records their office has on file. If you have any questions about your assessment, the Assessor’s office can be contacted by phone or email.