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Denver May Adopt Pilot Program to Simplify Appeals

by Joe Monzon, Denver, April 2013


Under Colorado's property tax system, taxpayers have a very short timetable to contest an overstated valuation. They must also keep track of the different government bodies considering their appeal.


New legislation allows the City and County of Denver to implement a pilot program that provides for a single appeal and an extended period of time to file. Local officials must decide by this month (April) whether to give the pilot program a try this year.


One Appeal to One Board


Governor John Hickenlooper signed the pilot program legislation (House Bill 13-1113) into law on March 8, 2013. It combines the multiple steps in the appeals process into a single hearing before the Denver Board of County Commissioners.


Under the pilot program, the assessor still mails each property owner a valuation notice no later than May 1. Personal property valuation notices must be mailed by July 15, rather than June 15. Property owners then have until November 15 to file a protest to the Board of County Commissioners.


The county Board is required to act on each appeal within six months of the date when the property owner filed. If a written decision is not issued by December 1, the taxpayer has the option to appeal either to the Board of Assessment Appeals or Denver District Court within 30 days.


Program Could Go Statewide


To use the pilot program this year, the Denver City Council and the Denver County Commissioners must elect to do so by May 1. Taxpayers would be notified about the change through local government websites and newspaper ads.


If the simplified appeals process is found to be successful in Denver, it could be adopted by other counties throughout the state.