In Colorado, county assessors are given the authority to value all property in Colorado's 64 counties, unless the property is specifically designated as state-assessed property. State-assessed property is owned or leased by public utilities, including rail transportation companies, airlines, energy companies, telephone companies and pipelines. The State Board of Equalization ensures assessments are conducted accurately and fairly throughout the state. However, the Division of Property Taxation coordinates the implementation of the law. The board requires an annual study every year to ensure standardization procedures are in place. The study is conducted by an independent auditing firm. In 2015, the audit found that all 64 counties were in compliance.

Average Property Taxes in Colorado

Some states assess property taxes based on the highest or best value of the property rather than the current value. Colorado assesses commercial, industrial and vacant land through market, cost and income approaches to appraisal. Residential property values are assessed solely on market or current values. In 2015, the assessed values of producing mines and natural resources declined; however, all other industry classes showed an increase. In total, the commercial and industrial classes increased assessed values by 12.6% and 7.4%, respectively.

The average property tax dollar amount of residential property in Colorado is approximately $700 on a $100,000 home. The average residential assessment rate from 2003 to 2016 is 7.96%, down from 30% prior to 1983. Jefferson, Larimer, Pitkin, Weld, El Paso, Eagle, Douglas, Denver, Boulder, Arapahoe and Adams counties have the highest residential property values in the state. Reductions exist for senior citizens and disabled veterans. These exemptions are not automatic and require an application.

Colorado Property Taxes Compared to Surrounding States and the Nation

Compared to the rest of the nation, Colorado has an effective property tax rate of 0.61%, ranking 43rd out of 50. Hawaii has the lowest effective property tax rate in the country at 0.28%. By contrast, New Jersey has the highest effective property tax rate in the nation at 2.38%.

The effective property tax rate of the states surrounding Colorado varies. Wyoming's effective property tax rate is 0.61%, ranking 44th in the nation. Nebraska's effective property tax rate is 1.84%, ranking seventh in the nation. The state of Kansas has a 1.39% effective rate, which ranks 15th. Oklahoma's effective property tax rate is 0.86%, ranking 29th. New Mexico and Arizona have a rate of 0.73% and 0.80%, ranking 40th and 36th, respectively. Finally, Utah's effective property tax rate is 0.68%, putting it in 41st place.

How Are Colorado's Property Taxes Used?

As a taxpayer, it helps to know how property taxes are being used. Colorado property tax revenues are designated for local government use. State public schools take up the largest share of revenue at 49.5%, followed by county governments at 25.1%, special districts at 19.2%, municipal governments at 4.8% and junior colleges at 1.4%.

In addition to knowing how taxes are being used, it is beneficial to know which areas of local government are getting more or less money in the coming year. In 2015, there was a 19.6% increase in funding for junior colleges, a 15.2% increase in funding for special districts, a 12% increase in funding for municipalities, an 11.6% increase in school district spending and an 11.2% increase for counties. By contrast, the net increase in property tax rates was 15%, with the largest increase in oil and gas, up 20.1%. Oil and gas represents 1.7% of total property values. Residential represents 44.1% of property values and saw an 18.9% increase in the tax rate. Commercial and agricultural property also went up in 2015, by 12.6% and 16.4%, respectively.

Hawaii Property Tax Guide

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