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Property assessment in Saguache County experiences ‘glitches’—extension given to protest evaluations

by Lisa Cyriacks

By now, property re-valuation notices have been mailed, and Saguache County residents are having mixed reactions, from some reporting that their property values went down significantly, to others complaining that they have doubled.

County Assessor Peter Peterson is reporting that some tax notices were affected by a glitch in the computer system and will need to be reworked. The County upgraded to a new computer system this year but some of the old formulas for evaluating properties were not compatible with the new system, he commented Tuesday. “In most cases,” Peterson commented, “property values should have remained pretty much the same.”

More than halfway through the protest period, Peterson acknowledged that his office is going through all 14,000+ accounts with plans to issue Special Notices of Valuation to all accounts that have been adversely affected by this glitch—even if the property owner has not filed a protest. The effect of receiving a special notice is that the deadline for protest will be extended past the statutory June 1.

Rather than waiting until you have received this Special Notice of Valuation, Peterson is encouraging everyone to file protests by June 1.

As part of the review, address labels are being examined to determine why some people never received an initial Notice of Valuation.

Those protesting must estimate, based on sales of homes in their area, what their property was worth as of June 30, 2016. The protest also can be based on factual errors made in the assessment or may be based on other pertinent reasons.  For a guide to how to protest taxes in Colorado, visit http://bit.ly/2roWoxI.

The Assessor’s office must mail a Notice of Determination for real property to protestors by June 30. Those who are still unhappy with the Assessor’s decision may appeal to the County Board of Equalization by July 15.

Senior citizens and certain disabled veterans qualify for tax exemptions in Saguache County, which for seniors can exempt as much as 50% of their taxes for the first $200,000 of valuation.

Forms for these exemptions can found at the State Property Tax Division online (for seniors) or obtained from the Assessor’s office. The form must be submitted by July 15 of the year for which they wish to apply. Qualified veterans must apply to the Department of Military or Veterans Affairs by July 1 for the year they wish to make the exemption.

The Saguache Veteran’s Service Officer can help veterans with this application. He can be reached at 655-2680.

Property valuations are the key to determining the amount of property tax assessed in subsequent years.

Property taxes are linked to the housing market with the idea that as more people move into a community, the community needs to provide more services, including tax-funded schools, libraries and other services. The County also receives property tax money from the State for budget items such as road and bridge improvements.

(Information for this article was provided by The Center Post-Dispatch, May 18, 2017.)

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