Summit County property owners are likely to see their property tax bills rise next year. Here’s what to know.
Increased values are linked to higher tax bills. The county assessor's office is preparing for an onslaught of appeals.
Summit County property owners could see a stark increase in the property taxes they pay next year amid record-high home values.
According to Summit County Assessor Lisa Eurich, most residential property in the county has seen a 60 to 70% increase in value over the last two years — the timeline for when values are issued. While property taxes likely won’t rise by that much, Eurich said she does predict an increase.
“Although Colorado’s property taxes are among the nation’s lowest, a substantial increase will really affect people with fixed incomes, such as retirees, who bought their homes when they were worth much less,” Eurich said. “It is prudent to be prepared.”
Eurich said it was a “perfect storm of low housing supply and high market demand that ensued after the COVID-19 pandemic” that caused property values to escalate at “an unprecedented rate.”
The market rate for a single-family home has increased by nearly $1 million since 2019, rising from about $1.26 million to $2.17 million, according to a February real estate report from Land Title.
Even as industry experts predict a rebalancing of the housing market, that won’t be reflected in property owners’ 2023 assessments and subsequent taxes paid in 2024.
“I think it’s going to be a shock for everybody,” said Dana Cottrell, a Summit County broker and spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors.
A $2,500 property tax payment, for example, may increase to as much as $4,200 based on home value increases, Cottrell said. That steep of an increase is likely to be felt most among local homeowners, she added.
“Everything costs more from your electricity to your gas to your food,” Cottrell said. “When you add another cost … what kind of strain does that put on a working Summit County person?”
The county will assign values to residential property, known as a notice of value, based on sales of similar properties that occurred between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2022 — though it will focus mostly on the last two years, Eurich said. Those values will be sent through the mail to property owners beginning May 1.
This value will then be multiplied by the current statewide assessment rate before being multiplied by the rate of local mill levies — which fund around 40 county entities including Summit Fire & EMS; the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District; and the Summit School District.
It is this final total that determines the property tax that property owners will pay. Those bills will be made available in January 2024. After that, county property owners can either pay in two separate installments — due Feb. 28 and June 15, 2024 — or in one, full installment, due April 15, 2024.
According to Eurich, property owners who have a mortgage will likely have their tax filed through their mortgage company. For those who don’t, they’ll have to file on their own. Eurich said about 40% of residential property transactions this past year were in cash.
The state legislature did decrease Colorado’s assessment rate for residential properties from 6.95 to 6.76% for 2023. The legislature is also contemplating Senate Bill 23-108, which would allow local taxing entities — such as the school district — to temporarily lower their mill levies before restoring the rates at a later point.
Eurich said the bill “has the potential to soften the blow of your property taxes because mill levies are not set until fall of the current tax year.”
The proposal is part of a greater push inside the state legislature and administration of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to provide swift property tax relief, though time is running out to pass such legislation.
But the most direct way property owners can contest their bills is through filing an appeal with the county assessor’s office. Eurich said her office is “bracing for impact” as it awaits the appeals.
The last reappraisal process brought about 1,500 appeals in 2021, Eurich said. But she anticipates the response could be akin to the reappraisal during the 2008-09 Great Recession, which she said saw about 6,800 appeals filed.
Appeals can only be made on the county’s notice of value assessment that it sends to property owners. Appeals can be made through the assessor’s website at SummitCountyCo.gov/86/Assessor, in-person at the assessor’s office — located at 208 Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge — or through the mail.
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