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Protesting your Gunnison County Property Tax Valuation

Every two years property owners in Gunnison County receive a new valuation of their property for tax purposes.  Some years owners are happy to receive this information and some years they are not.  2015 is one of the latter years.  Values are going up and have been for the last couple of years.  This is reflected in the County’s new valuations.  There are always a lot of questions about how this process works and what property owners can do if they do not agree with the County.  You can only protest your value between May 1 and June 1 so make sure to get the process started no later than June 1 or you are stuck with your value for two years!

First, some information on the basic process (taken from the Gunnison County Assessor’s website)
 

The Assessor is responsible for listing, classifying, and valuing all property in the county in accordance with state laws. Colorado law is very specific in establishing how Assessors value property:
  • Real property must be revalued every odd numbered year.
  • The actual value of real property is based on its value as of the appraisal date, which is the June 30th of the year prior to the reappraisal year.
  • Residential property may be valued using only the market approach to value. In this approach, the value of the subject property is based on an analysis of comparable sales to predict the price properties would have sold for on the Appraisal date.
  • For tax years 2015 and 2016, the assessor must use a minimum of the comparable sales between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. However, the assessor is authorized to include and analyze additional sales that occurred up to five years preceding June 30, 2014, adding sales in six month increments. Gunnison County typically uses 24 months of sales which includes all sales consummated after the previous reappraisal, and accounts for seasonal differences in the market. For the 2015 reappraisal, it was necessary to extend the time period to 5 years for commercial property, 4 years for vacant land and 3 years for residential improved, due to the low number of sales that occurred between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014.

Second, some information about how to figure out if it makes sense for you to protest your valuation:

The valuation process does not take into account active listings, listings that didn’t sell or any sales after June 30, 2014.  They only look at things that sold during the period they take into account.  If you go to the website (here), you can click on Reappraisal Sales and then scroll down to find the area and property type that relates to your property.  That will open a spreadsheet with all of the sales they looked at to determine values.  They are in alphabetical order by subdivision or condo complex so scroll down to find yours.  They adjust the sales based on the market as of June 30, 2014 and you will see those Time Adjusted Values listed.  If there weren’t any sales in your subdivision or condo complex, they would have looked for similar properties to compare.  

Third, if you decide that your value is not correct and you have the data to prove it, complete the protest form that can be found on the county website and submit it by any of their approved methods (email, mail, fax or in person).  If you don’t like the answer you get from the assessor you can appeal their determination and you can read more about that process on their website.

I am happy to help you through this process and to give you my opinion on whether your value seems in line with the market.  Please let me know how I can help.

Comments

  1. Chris Dickey says:

    thanks for the info and reminder. i think this all generally makes sense, although what i basically don’t understand are two things:

    1) property values really rose that much from pre-Jan ’13 through June ’14? both my commercial and residential properties are showing substantial increases, but it really “seems” like the market values have only begun increasing more recently.

    2) if they have to use the market approach, using comparable sales, what the heck does this mean:
    “They adjust the sales based on the market today and you will see those Time Adjusted Values listed.”

    thanks.
    -cd

    • Molly Eldridge says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comments. I think the assessor does a pretty good job of explaining the process, but it is really a complex process.

      Values have been increasing slowly since 2012. The last valuation looked at sales from January 2011 – June 2012 and they have certainly increased since then.

      I need to (and have) adjust that sentence to say that “they adjust the sales based on the market as of June 30”, not today.

      However, I will say that I am not sure how the “Time Adjusted Values” part works. The market has not been improving so quickly that sales from May 2014 (for example) would need to be adjusted upwards to match the market as of June 30, 2014 and yet, if you look at their spreadsheet, even those sales are adjusted. They don’t really explain that process on their website and I would say that might be a basis for protesting.

      There are attorneys who can represent property owners through the process of protesting and they would be able to answer any legal concerns. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

      Molly

  2. Chris Dickey says:

    thanks for the reply Molly.
    -cd

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