If Colorado’s rising property taxes stress you out, you might qualify for relief

· Jan. 19, 2024, 4:00 am
Denver seen from above Five Points. Specifically: 2283 N. Ogden St., the old New Hope Baptist Church that now houses four privately-owned condos. Aug. 20, 2019. Denver seen from above Five Points. Specifically: 2283 N. Ogden St., the old New Hope Baptist Church that now houses four privately-owned condos. Aug. 20, 2019. Kevin Beaty/Denverite
Denver homes and the city skyline, seen from the city's Five Points neighborhood.

Property tax bills will soon arrive in Colorado mailboxes, and after years of rising values, many homeowners may open them with a sense of dread.

But there is the possibility of relief; more homeowners than ever qualify for a program that allows them to defer those taxes – in part or in full – until the home is sold.

Up until two years ago, seniors and active military personnel were the only people who qualified for this benefit. But, as of 2023, the state has opened a Property Tax Deferral Program to the general public.

That said, the general public doesn’t mean everyone.

What does it do?

For eligible seniors and active military, the program defers the total property tax owed.

For everyone else, if your property taxes grow more than four percent from the past two years, you can put off paying some or all of the increase, up to $10,000. 

But note: these are payment deferrals, not exemptions. The money, with some interest, will have to be paid eventually.

How does it work?

The expanded deferral program is essentially a low-interest loan from the state to a county, on behalf of the taxpayer, to cover a portion of their taxes. The taxpayer has to submit paperwork each year to roll the loan over and is required to eventually pay the state back.

How do I know if I qualify?

  • You can check your eligibility at colorado.propertytaxdeferral.com
  • You must live in the property you want the deferral for
  • All of your property taxes for years before 2024 must be paid off.
  • The property can’t be income-producing (the rules are a bit different for members of the military and seniors).

“New this year, seniors who rent a room or a portion of their home and active duty military renting while they are out of the country or stationed elsewhere are able to participate,” Vanda Howell, Property Tax Deferral Program Administrator, stated. “These changes allow more homeowners more opportunities to participate.”

How do I apply to the Property Tax Deferral Program? And what’s the deadline?

  • Applications for 2024 opened on Jan. 1 and will be accepted up until April 1, 2024. 
  • Applicants must reapply each year to determine eligibility and continue using the program. The window for those applications is also Jan. 1 - April 1.
  • To learn more, homeowners can visit colorado.propertytaxdeferral.com/faq, call 833-634-2513, or email [email protected].

Where’s my bill?

“Due to the special legislative session, counties will be sending out tax bills a few weeks later than previous years,” Treasury spokesperson Sheena Kadi stated. “Homeowners will need to wait until they have received that from their county to apply.”

However, Kadi assures, “Folks will still have time to apply before the April 1st due date and be approved before payments are due on April 30th.”

Why don’t more people know about this?

In 2023, a mere 1,181 homeowners took advantage of the state’s expanded Property Tax Deferral Program: 52 of them qualified as Active Military, 171 were under Tax Growth, and 958 were Seniors. All told, they added up to a total of $3,685,648 in deferred tax payments for 2023.

This year, with concerns over property tax increases running high, the state is mailing letters to homeowners and running digital ads to alert them about the program. It is also working with county treasurers and other elected officials to help them get the information to their communities.

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