Property taxes are an inevitable part of homeownership and understanding how they work is an important part of owning a property.
What Are Property Taxes?
There are five main property types: residential, vacant land, commercial, industrial, and agriculture properties. Every two years, the County Assessor conducts a property assessment and then multiplies the home value by the local tax rate to determine the updated amount owed. The amount of property tax due annually is determined by the assessed value of your property and the mill levy set by local taxing authorities (e.g. fire districts, school districts, and public services like roads and libraries). Each county differs in the amount assessed and manages their own rules and regulations.
2023 was a reevaluation year and La Plata County assessed values increased by an average of 20% for residential, commercial, and industrial properties, 30% for vacant land, but decreased agriculture properties by 20% (more about agricultural properties below). This recent reassessment brought both good news and bad; while most property owners don’t want to pay more taxes, it also means that owners have built significant equity in their asset(s). It is important to note that Colorado has some of the lowest tax rates in the U.S., and La Plata County was among the lowest increases, with some counties increasing residential property taxes by up to 80%. There is a process for filing a dispute with the County Assessor's office if an owner believes the evaluation and amount owed on their property is incorrect.
Property Tax Discounts/Exemptions
La Plata County is located in the Southwest corner of Colorado and has many areas used for agricultural purposes. If a property produces a profit from growing and selling crops or grazing animals, it may be eligible for agricultural status which will reduce the amount of taxes owed. There are strict requirements to qualify, so please call the assessor if you think you may be eligible.
Senior and Military
There are additional exemptions for Colorado senior citizens 65 years or older and who have owned their home as their primary residence for at least 10 years. Disabled veterans and gold star spouses can also apply for an exemption. For qualifying homeowners, 50% of the first $200,000 in actual value of the primary residence is exempted.
If an owner has a mortgage on their property, the mortgage company most often pays the taxes out of their escrow account. It is important to verify that this is the case with your loan so you don’t become delinquent on your taxes.
If you are considering a home purchase, we will help you find the property tax amounts so you can take those into consideration as part of the full picture of the costs of homeownership. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.