Jul 27, 2017 // Financial Insights

How to Qualify and Apply for Senior Property Tax in Colorado

The state of Colorado rewards senior homeowners by making available a substantial deduction in real estate taxes. For qualifying seniors, up to $100,000 of the property’s market value may be considered tax exempt. The exact amount this exemption can save you is calculated as follows:

= (The Lesser of Your Home’s Market Value or $200,000) /2 * (Your County Property Tax Rate)

How to Qualify

As of the beginning of the year for which application is submitted, taxpayers qualifying for the deduction must be 65 or older and must have owned and occupied the property as a primary residence for the last consecutive 10 years.

In layman’s terms, that means that your name must have been on the title and you must have permanently lived on the property. Any individual or married couple is only allowed to claim the deduction on one property, as it is only possible to have one primary residence. In addition, the property must be classified as residential, such as a house or other dwelling unit; factories, office buildings, and empty lots are not eligible.

Voter registration is the preferred proof of primary residence, but automobile registration, income tax returns, or other legal documents can also be used if the taxpayer is not registered to vote. A taxpayer is still considered to have met the residency requirement if confined to a care facility such as a nursing home, hospital, or assisted living, if the property remained unoccupied or was occupied by the taxpayer’s spouse or dependents.

If the taxpayer approved for the exemption passes away, a surviving spouse may continue to claim the exemption, but must submit a new application. However, the exemption does not pass to dependents or a party obtaining the property through gift or inheritance.

In general, the taxpayer meets the ownership requirements by holding the deed or title to the property. While still alive, the taxpayer continues to meet the ownership requirement if the property is transferred to a trust, corporate partnership, or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes so long as the taxpayer or spouse maintains control over the entity, to the effect that if the property were not owned by the legal entity it would be owned by the taxpayer or spouse, but the exemption does not continue beyond the taxpayer’s death except in the case of a surviving spouse.

Lastly, if the taxpayer would have met all requirements, except that the property was condemned in an eminent domain proceeding, the taxpayer may still claim the exemption.


How to Apply

The due date of the application is July 15. Although the exemption is legislated at the state level, and is thus available in all counties, property taxes are administered at the county level, which means that the application process may be slightly different for each county. The short form of the application can be used if you meet both the ownership and occupancy requirements without any exceptions. If you are filing as a surviving spouse, your property is owned by a legal entity for estate planning purposes, your residence was condemned, or you were confined to a care facility, you will need to use the long form. 

You only need to apply once. If the application is accepted, the exemption should remain in place as long as the ownership and occupancy do not change, but it’s a good idea to check in with your county assessor if you have any questions or experience any unexpected changes in your property taxes. We at TRKM would be happy to assist you in submitting your application and ensuring that you get every exemption to which you are entitled. If you need any help, please give us a call. 

See below for applications from around the Denver Metro Area. If your county is not listed, try going to your county’s Property Tax Assessor’s office or website to look for a similar form and mailing instructions. 
Adams County

Arapahoe County
Boulder County
Denver County
Douglas County
Elbert County
El Paso County 2017 (Deadline is July 17th)
Jefferson County
Weld County


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