Overview of Colorado Taxes
Colorado has some of the lowest residential property taxes in the country, with an average effective rate of just 0.57%. That means the typical homeowner in Colorado pays less than 1% of his or her home value in taxes every year.
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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. None of it goes to the state. That may be part of the reason Colorado has some of the lowest residential property taxes in the country, with an average effective rate of just 0.57%. That means the typical homeowner in Colorado pays less than 1% of home value in taxes every year. Low property taxes can be a draw to live or own a vacation home in Colorado. If you are 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.
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 (to fund a water and sanitation system, for example).
Property is valued in two-year cycles, based entirely on comparable sales. The price of other 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 to assessed value, which is equal to a fraction of the market value. That fraction, called the residential assessment rate, is recalculated regularly by the state. For tax years 2017 and 2018, it is 7.20% (for tax year 2016, the rate was 7.96%). So, if your home has a market value of $300,000 (based on comparable sales), the assessed value is $21,600 ($300,000 x .072 = $21,600). Your tax rate only applies to that $21,600.
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Colorado Property Tax Rates
Taxing authorities in Colorado calculate tax rates based on how much revenue they need. That means rates change frequently as revenue needs change. 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 every county.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
The average homeowner in Denver County, which is coterminous with the City of Denver, pays $1,537 annually in property taxes. That’s about two-thirds the U.S average of $2,197. The average millage rate in Denver is 87.042, which includes about 50 mills allocated for the schools and 33 mills for the city of Denver.
El Paso County
El Paso County encompasses the city of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. It is the most populous county in Colorado. The average effective property tax rate in El Paso County is just 0.50%, less than half the national average.
The average millage rate in El Paso County is 70.24 mills. Most of that (47.76 mills) goes to schools. City mill levies average 4.719 mills. In Colorado Springs, the city-wide millage rate is 4.279 mills.
Arapahoe County has some of the highest property taxes in the state of Colorado. The average millage rate in the county is 104.21 mills, while the statewide average is 79.25 mills.
That difference is reflected in property tax payments. The average annual property tax payment for a homeowner in Arapahoe County is $1,709, or about 0.64% of the average home value. That is the sixth highest effective property tax rate of any county in the state.
Jefferson County (frequently referred to as Jeffco) sits along the Rocky Mountain Front Range, to the west of Denver. Property taxes are slightly higher than the state average, although still low by national standards.
The average millage rate in Jefferson County is 99.46 mills, or about 1%. However, since taxes are applied to assessed value, which is less than 10% of market value, effective tax rates (actual taxes paid as a percentage of home value) are far lower. The average effective tax rate in Jefferson County is 0.63%.
The fifth most populous county in Colorado, Adams County has the highest property tax rate in the state. The average total millage rate across the county is 108.9 mills. The state average total millage rate is 79.25.
More than half of the property tax in Adams Counties - 57.2 mills - is dedicated to schools. There are 11 different school districts within the county, but the main school district is Adams County District 14.
The average homeowner in Larimer County pays property taxes of $1,676 annually. That’s the 10th highest average payment of any of the state’s 64 counties. The average millage rate for homeowners in the county is 88.4 mills, but that varies by location. For example, in tax area 1124, which is within the City of Fort Collins and the Poudre School District, the total rate is 96.21 mills.
Boulder County’s average effective property tax rate is 0.61%, which ranks as the 10th highest rate in the state. It is, however, well below the national average. More than half of property taxes collected in Boulder go to schools. The average millage rate is 89.03 mills, of which an average of 47.49 mills are levied specifically for schools.
Located between Denver and Colorado Springs, Douglas County has the highest property taxes in the state in absolute terms. The average annual property tax payment there is $2,642, about $450 more than the national average. However, the average home value ($376,300) is also well-above the national average, so effective property tax rates are actually below average. The average effective property tax rate in Douglas County is 0.70%.
There are 304 different tax authorities in Weld County, including tax authorities for conservation districts, libraries, municipalities and school districts. On average, the total mill levy in the county is 67.8. That is about 12 mills lower than the state average.
The tenth largest county by population in Colorado, Pueblo County’s property taxes are generally higher than the state average. The average millage rate for homeowners in the county is 89.35 mills. Actual property tax amounts paid in the county are $1,010 on average.
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