Overview of Colorado Taxes
Colorado has some of the lowest residential property taxes in the country, with an average effective rate of just 0.55%. That ties the state with Washington D.C. for the fourth lowest rate in the U.S. It's also well below the national average of 1.08%.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Colorado Property Taxes
In Colorado, property taxes are used to support local services. In fact, 100% of property tax revenue stays within the county in which it is collected, meaning none of it goes to the state. That may be part of the reason that Colorado has some of the lowest residential property taxes in the country, with an average effective rate of just 0.55%.
Low property taxes can be a draw to live in Colorado or own a vacation home there. If you're thinking about purchasing property in Colorado or are looking to refinance, check out SmartAsset’s Colorado mortgage guide for details about mortgages in the Centennial State.
A financial advisor in Colorado can help you understand how homeownership fits into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, retirement and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
How Property Taxes in Colorado Work
Residential property taxes in Colorado depend on two things: the market value of the property and the total tax rates local taxing authorities levy. Taxing authorities include counties, cities, school districts and some special taxing districts set up for specific purposes. For example, this could be to fund a water or sanitation system.
Property is valued in two-year cycles, with values being based entirely on comparable sales. In other words, the price of similar homes sold in your area determine the value of your home. Notices of valuation are mailed to homeowners by May 1 every year, and homeowners who disagree with their home’s valuation have until June 1 to protest.
Tax rates in Colorado do not apply to market value, but rather to assessed value, which is equal to a fraction of the market value. That fraction, which is called the residential assessment rate, is recalculated regularly by the state. For the 2019 to 2020 tax year, the state estimates it to be 7.15%.
So if your home has a market value of $300,000 (based on comparable sales), the assessed value is roughly $21,450 ($300,000 x .0715 = $21,450). Therefore, your tax rate only applies to that $21,450.
Colorado Property Tax Rates
Taxing authorities in Colorado calculate tax rates based on how much revenue they need. That means rates change frequently as their revenue needs shift. Rates are expressed in mills, which are equal to $1 for every $1,000 of property value. A tax of 10 mills on a property with an assessed value of $10,000 is equal to $100 ($10,000 x 0.1).
An effective tax rate is the amount you actually pay annually divided by the value of your property. So if you pay $1,500 in taxes annually and your home’s market value is $100,000, your effective tax rate is 1.5%. The table below shows effective tax rates for every county in Colorado. It also displays median property tax payments and median home values for all counties.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
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The median annual property tax bill for a homeowner in Denver County, which is coterminous with the city of Denver, is $1,662. This compares favorably to the national average, which is $2,090. The total millage rate in Denver is roughly 77.37 mills, which includes taxes that go to schools and the city of Denver.
El Paso County
El Paso County encompasses the city of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. It is among the most populous counties in Colorado. The average effective property tax rate in El Paso County is 0.49%, less than half the national average of 1.08%.
The typical millage rate in El Paso County is 0.54. Most of that (47.76 mills) goes to schools. City mill levies average 4.72 mills. In Colorado Springs, the city-wide millage rate is 4.28 mills.
If you have questions about how property taxes can affect your overall financial plans, a financial advisor in Colorado Springs can help you out.
Arapahoe County has some of the highest property taxes in the state of Colorado. The base millage rate here is 13.817 mills, but further millage rates will apply depending on the school district and city your home resides in. The median property tax payment that county homeowners make is $1,774.
Jefferson County (frequently referred to as Jeffco) sits along the Rocky Mountain Front Range, to the west of Denver. Property tax rates are just above the state average, but are still much lower than the national rate.
The average millage rate in Jefferson County is 90.16 mills. However, since taxes are applied to assessed value, which is 7.15% of market value, effective tax rates are far lower. The average effective tax rate in Jefferson County is 0.58%.
The fifth most populous county in Colorado, Adams County has the third highest property tax rate in the state. The average effective property tax rate in Adams County is 0.68%. That translates to a median tax bill of about $1,647 for county homeowners.
The typical homeowner in Larimer County can expect to pay about $1,737 in property taxes annually. That’s one of the highest median payments of any of the state’s 64 counties.
Boulder County’s average effective property tax rate is 0.59%, which ranks as the 13th highest rate in the state. It is, however, well below the national average, which currently stands at 1.08%. More than half of property taxes collected in Boulder go to schools.
Located between Denver and Colorado Springs, Douglas County has the highest median property tax payment in the state of Colorado. More specifically, the median annual property tax payment there is $2,707. This comes in as almost $700 more expensive than the national median, which is $2,090.
There are more than 300 different tax authorities in Weld County, including ones for conservation districts, libraries, municipalities and school districts. The median annual property tax bill for a resident in Weld County is $1,306, while the average effective property tax rate is 0.53%.
The tenth largest Colorado county by population, Pueblo County’s property tax rates are, on average, generally higher than the statewide mark, which is 0.55%. Pueblo's average property tax rate is 0.69%, which works out to a median annual property tax bill of $1,016.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites