Colorado Senior Lobby receives many emails with requests for information on issues and one of the most common inquiries is how to deal with accelerating property values and rising property taxes. This is a problem that is not going to go away. People inquiring want to know if anything can be done from the legislative side and the answer to that is probably not. Increasing the homestead exemption for any area in Colorado is highly unlikely to ever happen. Our homestead exemption is already one of the most generous in the entire country. The competition for uses of the State’s General Fund is just too intense for this to happen.

However one course of action for some people is to file for the Property Tax Deferral Program. Details are below. Yes, it creates a tax lien on your property, but when you do sell your property or your heirs sell it, it is just some money that comes off the top of the sale, like a real estate commission. Below are the details on the property tax deferral program. Interestingly, the county with the most use of this program is Boulder county which has extremely high and rapidly accelerating property valuations.

Property Tax Deferral Program for Seniors and Active Military Personnel

The Property Tax Deferral program helps military personnel and seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income, continue to afford to living in their home by deferring the payment of their property taxes.

The State Treasurer’s office makes tax payments directly to the county on behalf of the participant for the tax amount due. The loan is logged as a lien against the participant’s property that does not have to be remitted until the participant no longer qualifies to defer their property taxes. Click here for a list of outstanding loans by county.   
Actual Link: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/treasury/atom/20141

Requirements for Eligibility

  • Applicant must be a senior who is 65 years or older or a person called into military service pursuant to CRS 39-3.5-101 (1.8), on January 1 of the year in which the person files a claim.
  • All prior years’ property taxes must be paid.
  • Applicant must own and occupy the property as their primary residence. The property cannot be income-producing.
  • The total value of liens against the property (mortgages, deferrals, and/or deeds of trust) cannot exceed 100% of the assessed market value.
  • Mortgage lender agrees that the state’s interest in the property would take priority over all other interests.
  • If a qualified applicant has a reverse mortgage, the property is only eligible for future deferrals if a subordination agreement from the mortgage lender is submitted with the application.
  • The deferral amount must be paid upon sale or transfer of the property. The deferral amount can also be paid any time prior to sale or transfer without affecting future eligibility.

Procedure

  • Those who qualify must file an application with their respective county treasurer between January 1st and April 1st of each year.
  • Once approved, the county treasurer will issue a certificate of deferral to the property owner, keeping one copy on record and sending one copy to the state Treasurer’s office. (Note: If property taxes are included in your mortgage payment, you should present a copy of your deferral certificate to the mortgage lender for a refund of the property tax monies held in escrow)
  • By April 30, the state Treasurer’s office will pay the deferred amount to the county treasurer where the property is located.
  • The state Treasurer’s office maintains an account for each tax-deferred property which accrues interest which is credited to the state’s General Fund. Call the Treasurer’s office for the current interest rate.
  • When the deferred amount is paid to the county treasurer upon sale or transfer of the property, that amount is then transmitted to the state Treasurer’s office.

To read more about the Property Tax Deferral Program visit the Colorado Department of Treasury web page – CLICK HERE
Actual Link: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/treasury/senior-and-veteran-property-tax-programs

Do you have a question? Send us your question – CLICK HERE


We also want to add that there are solutions such as taking out a reverse mortgages if one meets the age requirements. Other options include finding roommate(s) or offering vacation rental services.