Every two years the counties in Colorado reassess property values. With the strong sales prices and fast pace of sales we have recently experienced, it is anticipated that most property values will increase. Here are some tips if you feel your valuation is incorrect and you decide to protest.
A property tax appeal letter should be sent if a homeowner believes the assessment of his or her property for tax purposes is not correct. This appeal should be done in writing and copies kept as a record of the appeal process. This will ensure that the case cannot be ignored, and no one can claim that they didn’t receive notification. It will also ensure that when the reassessment is completed, the results cannot be contested.
Some steps to take before sending a property tax appeal letter are:
• The information and description of the property that is on the property tax bill should be correct including lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, garage and basement details, and date of construction.
• If a tax exemption is sought, the listed tax exemption needs to be mentioned. In Colorado tax exemptions are available to qualifying seniors and disabled veterans.
• The property values from recent sales in the area should be researched. (Also known as comparable sales or “comps” which I am happy to help you research.)
• The sales figures should be compared with the homeowner’s assessment and if there is a sizeable difference, it should be noted when requesting a reassessment.
• Some people contest if the difference is a few thousand dollars because over time these small differences can add up in tax savings.
For those who decide to protest their property tax bill, the next thing to do is send the letter and request an informal or formal review depending on what is allowed in your jurisdiction. Hundreds of homeowners contest their property tax assessment every year and there is no reason for the homeowner to feel intimidated or embarrassed by this process. Mistakes are made all the time, and even though the homeowner would like to pay their fair share of property taxes, there is no reason why they should pay more than required
The assessment should be challenged immediately because there is usually a 30-day time limit to respond. Each state is different, but there is usually an outline of procedures for challenging the assessment printed on the back of the tax assessment bill sent by the government. The appeal letter should be sent by certified mail, so the homeowner has proof of the time and date it was sent and received. Be sure to keep copies of all communications in this matter. At some point, they may need to face someone to present their case in person, and these records will help support their case. Here is a sample property tax appeal letter.
Use this sample property tax appeal letter as a template for your formal appeal letter. The tax values are an example only as these values will vary widely from one area to another. If you need assistance with estimating the value of a discrepancy, please let me know.
City, State, Zip Code
To the Board of Review or Tax Board or County Assessor:
I am sending this letter as notice that I would like to appeal my property tax assessment. The details as to why my home is over assessed are given below.
1. There are three main discrepancies between the property record that was filed and what is actually in my home.
• I have a two-car garage, not a three-car garage as indicated. Tax value – $2,000
• I have 1,000 square feet of living space not 1,800 square feet as indicated – Tax value $7,000
• I do not have a wooden deck. Tax value – $1,500
Kindly deduct $10,500 from my assessment.
2. There is structural damage to my home that reduces its resale value.
• An exterior wall and the corresponding foundation are severely cracked, which is not mentioned in the assessment. Tax value – $5,000
• The roof leaks in the kitchen. Tax value – $3,000
Kindly deduct $8,000 from my assessment.
3. In comparison to two homes that have recently sold on my street, I am requesting a reevaluation of the value of my home. Both of these houses have similar square feet, age and upgrades.
• The house at ADDRESS sold for $250,000
• The house at ADDRESS sold for $225,000
Kindly change the assessment of my home to $250,000.
The information given in this letter clearly shows that my property taxes have been incorrectly assessed. The assessment shows improvements and upgrades that do not exist in my home. Also, the value of my home should not be more than $250,000. I am requesting that my tax assessment be adjusted according to the provided information. I would be happy to meet you informally to discuss the situation or will submit a formal request. I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at Name@email.com.
Homeowner’s Name printed
List of enclosures
Should you need assistance in finding suitable comps or recent sales data for neighboring homes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I will send you a written data sheet that shows the details of these properties, so you can compare and contrast what is different about your home in your written protest. Knowledge is power, and I want you to be armed with solid information!
Kristel Acre – ABR, GRI, CNE, CPE, AWREP, QSC