Written by: Patrick Price
Colorado has witnessed an astonishing 300% increase in appeals filed across its 64 counties during the most recent property tax assessment cycle. This surge is undeniably linked to the fluctuations in asset appreciation rates and inflation—both of which have been acknowledged as tangible realities.
The result: assessors have been hurriedly dispatching notices proposing substantial increases, a move that has left property owners reeling.
However, the tide has turned with rising interest rates, predictions of an impending asset bubble, and other hurdles that have sparked a cooling effect. This cooling trend has now paved the way for a veritable tidal wave of disputes and protests reverberating throughout the state. The scope of this wave is staggering, with larger counties witnessing an eye-popping escalation of appeals ranging from 600% to 800% when compared to the previous cycle.
The impending storm is most evident in these larger counties, where authorities are bracing themselves for an influx of thousands of formal appeals that will inevitably pass through the rigorous evaluation of the Board of Equalization.
What’s important for taxpayers to grasp is that this unique scenario sets the stage for dynamics far removed from the ordinary.
ACCELERATED APPEAL SETTLEMENTS
The sheer volume of appeals has created an atmosphere wherein assessors and adjudicating bodies are unusually motivated to swiftly resolve as many appeals as possible. This incentive is primarily related to the overwhelming volume of cases and is driven by the necessity to manage the workload in a timely manner. Even substantial reductions granted in response to appeals of many properties will likely leave the overall revenues substantially higher than in the prior cycle, given the overall rate of appreciation in the tax base.
In essence, this unique set of circumstances should theoretically pave the way for Colorado property owners seeking relief through appeals. The volatile market fluctuations coupled with increased appeal volume have orchestrated a scenario where assessors are compelled to seek swift resolutions; while property owners have a unique opportunity to secure more favorable outcomes with current market data and compelling evidence, which are critical to success.
CAUTION: MANY APPEALS BEING DENIED
Early statistics indicate that a vast majority of appeals are being denied throughout the state. This is in large part due to uninformed taxpayers not understanding the methodology employed by the assessor to set these proposed values or being unaware of the standard of evidence required to mitigate these increases. Compelling and persuasive support for an alternative valuation is essential to obtaining relief through this revaluation and appeal process.
Navigating this landscape requires a deep understanding of these unconventional dynamics and a proactive approach that aligns with the rapidly evolving situation. As Colorado grapples with this unprecedented wave of property tax assessment appeals, property owners must remain vigilant, adaptable, and well-informed to seize the opportunities presented by this evolving scenario.