If you’re staring at your property tax bill and having a meltdown, a Colorado program might offer you relief.
The state’s Property Tax Deferral Program allows homeowners to push their property tax payment down the road, potentially for years — depending on eligibility.
“Anytime we can keep folks in their homes and help them find tax relief at the same time is a win for Coloradans,” Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young said in a prepared statement.
Homeowners can delay, or “defer,” tax payment for as long as they own their home. The program charges interest — or a slow yearly increase — in the amount of taxes you owe.
Here’s how the program works.
Who is eligible
Colorado’s deferral program has traditionally helped seniors and active military personnel, but it was expanded last year to provide relief to homeowners affected by increased property taxes for the tax years including and between 2020 to 2023. (2023 property taxes are what you’re billed for this year.)
The application period closes on April 1. Homeowners who aren’t seniors or active military can apply under different criteria — they’re eligible if their property taxes increased above what the program calls a “growth cap.”
The tax-growth cap is met when the current year’s property tax amount has increased 4% or more compared to the average of the two preceding tax years’ amounts.
Given the headline-grabbing spikes in property values — as calculated for tax purposes — last year in the Front Range and other parts of the state, many homeowners will likely qualify for the program because of how much their home’s property tax bill has increased.
Ins and outs
The program does not exempt homeowners from paying taxes but, rather, serves as a loan that a homeowner pays later.
Seniors and active military can defer for as long as they own their home and they reapply for deferral each year. Others applying under the tax growth-based eligibility can defer for as long as they own their home and reapply each year — as long as the amount being deferred does not exceed $10,000.
For example, if you applied last year and were granted a $6,000 deferral and then apply again this year, only $4,000 more could be deferred.
Under the program, homeowners don’t have to pay any portion of their deferred tax amount — including interest — so long as they continue to reapply, according to the Colorado Department of the Treasury.
“As long as the homeowner reapplies each year, they don’t have to pay until they don’t apply,” said Sheena Kadi, spokesperson for the department.
The current deferral interest rate is 4.125%. That means after a year, the deferred tax amount will have grown by that percentage.
Other eligibility criteria include:
• The property claiming the deferral must be owner occupied, meaning the taxpayer must, by themselves or with another person, reside at the property
• All property taxes for years before 2024 must be paid
• For the growth cap-based deferrals, the property must not be income producing, meaning the property is not used for financial gain.
Homeowners can learn more at colorado.propertytaxdeferral.com or by calling 833-634-2513 toll free or emailing [email protected]
People in some areas may need to wait for their county to upload data before they’re able to apply, Kadi said on Feb. 8.
Looking for tax exemptions?
For information on property tax exemption for qualifying disabled veterans and gold star spouses or for senior citizens, email [email protected] or call 303-864-7777 or 303-864-7758.
This story is from Colorado Community Media, a newsroom that covers two dozen cities, towns and neighborhoods that make up the Denver area.