El Paso County homeowners can expect higher assessments, property taxes

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One of the housing areas with views of Pikes Peak at the high-end Flying Horse development on the far north side of Colorado Springs.

Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette Show MoreShow Less

El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker won’t sugar coat it. Most county property owners will see higher tax bills since the latest round of state-mandated assessments.

By now, more than 300,000 property owners in the county should have received an updated valuation notice in the mail. The notices show how a property’s value has changed over the past two years and how that change will affect the property taxes owed.

Single- and multi-family home values rose 20% to 25% on average, the Assessor’s Office reports. Commercial and industrial properties also saw increases.

Colorado law requires assessor’s offices statewide to update property values every other year. The last assessments were done in 2017.

Why are taxes going up for so many property owners?

His office must assess homes based on sales data from their neighborhood or comparable properties. For this year’s assessments, the office staff analyzed data from nearly 43,000 sales from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018.

The Assessor’s Office saw bidding wars in many of those sales, with aspiring buyers offering $5,000 to $20,000 above the asking price, he said.

The notice includes an “estimated taxes” amount for 2019. Could that number change before property tax bills are issued?

Yes. The estimate is based partly on the mill levy that applied to the property in 2018, but that figure could change.

The “estimated taxes” number also does not take into account the Senior Homestead Exemption, which applies to many older county property owners, he said.

The non-residential assessment rate is capped at 29. But the residential rate is periodically adjusted to comply with state law, which mandates that residential and commercial property owners pay certain shares of total property taxes statewide.

What can property owners do if they disagree with their valuation?

Anyone who disagrees with the “current year actual value” or property classification can file an appeal through June 3. Appealing property owners are encouraged to submit documentation to support their claim.

How do our county’s increases compare with those in the rest of Colorado?

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