Owners of taxable personal property are given many opportunities to have their personal property valuations reviewed and appealed. The steps necessary for proper review and appeal are commonly referred to as "taxpayers’ administrative remedies." These steps must be adhered to by both the assessor and taxpayer to ensure the taxpayer's statutory due process rights. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to initiate and timely work through the administrative remedies. At the written request of any taxpayer, the assessor must make every attempt to inform the taxpayer of the methods used to value the personal property as required by § 39-5-121.5, C.R.S.
A complete discussion of the rights of the taxpayer and the steps of the administrative appeals procedure are found in ARL Volume 2, Chapter 5, Taxpayer Administrative Remedies.
Notice of Valuation
The administrative remedies process starts with the mailing of the Notice of Valuation (NOV), which lists the previous year's total actual value, the current year's total actual value and the amount of such adjustment in value. The NOVs for personal property are mailed no later than June 15th. Under section 20(8)(c) of article X of the Colorado Constitution, NOVs must be mailed by the assessor to each owner of taxable personal property every year. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to review the NOV and pursue the following administrative remedies if the taxpayer disagrees with the value assigned to the personal property by the assessor.
To receive a hearing before the assessor between June 15 and July 5, the owner or the owner's agent must file a protest with the assessor. The taxpayer may contact the assessor in person or in writing and request a review. All mailed protests are considered timely filed if they are postmarked by June 30, or the next business day if June 30 falls on a holiday or weekend. All protests made in person are timely filed if they are made no later than June 30, or the next business day if June 30 falls on a holiday or weekend, as controlled by § 39-5-121(1.5), C.R.S.
If a representative or agent is used by the owner, a letter of agency or other document that conveys agency authorization from the owner must be obtained.
Owners acquiring personal property after January 1 of the current assessment year have the right to file a protest of the value the assessor has assigned to the newly acquired personal property. In such cases, the assessor should schedule a physical inspection of the property as soon as possible and use the list of property obtained during the inspection to determine its correct actual value.
Any written protest or objection to valuation received during the protest period must be answered with a Notice of Determination. The assessor must respond in writing to any personal property protest no later than July 10. Justification for the assessor's decision must be included as required by § 39-5-122, C.R.S.
Appeal of County Assessor's Determination to the County Board of Equalization (CBOE)
If a taxpayer is not satisfied with the assessor's valuation determination and the taxpayer files an appeal to the County Board of Equalization (CBOE), either in a letter postmarked or by appearing in person no later than July 20, the right to an appeal before the CBOE is guaranteed. If July 20 falls on a holiday or weekend and the letter is postmarked or the taxpayer appears in person the next business day, an appeal before the CBOE also is guaranteed.
Beginning on July 1, the CBOE will sit to hear appeals from value determinations made by the assessor, § 39-8-104, C.R.S. The taxpayer must be notified of these hearings, must be given the opportunity to attend, and must be allowed to present witnesses and other evidence, § 39-8-106, C.R.S. The CBOE must conclude hearings and render value decisions on or before August 5th and must mail their determination within five business days of making their decision. The assessor or a representative of the assessor shall be present at hearings on appeal as required by § 39-8-107, C.R.S.
Appeal of the CBOE's Valuation Determination
Valuation determinations made by the CBOE may be appealed by the taxpayer in one of three ways.
The taxpayer may choose to use the binding arbitration procedure instead of appealing to the BAA or to the district court. No appeals from the decision of the arbitrator are permitted under §§ 39-8-108(4) and 108.5, C.R.S. Specific arbitration procedures may be found in the ARL Volume 2, Chapter 5, Taxpayer Administrative Remedies or may be obtained from the county commissioner's office in each county.
Board of Assessment Appeals
When taxpayers disagree with the decision of the CBOE, they may file an appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA). The hearing is a de novo hearing meaning that it is a new hearing based upon evidence submitted at the hearing. The CBOE and the taxpayer both present cases for the record before the BAA, § 39-8-108, C.R.S.
The taxpayer may appeal the decision of the CBOE to the district court of the county wherein the property is located. The hearing before the district court is a trial de novo and each party must present its case for the record as required by § 39-8-108, C.R.S.
Court of Appeals
If the petitioner has appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals and the decision is against the petitioner he may, not later than 49 days after the decision, petition the court of appeals for judicial review. If the petitioner has appealed to the district court and the decision is against the petitioner, the petitioner may seek review by the court of appeals upon filing for such review according to the Colorado appellate rules as controlled by §§ 39-8-108(3) and 24-4-106(9), C.R.S.
Abatement or Refund
Taxpayers who do not exercise the statutory rights listed above may petition for a change in valuation through the abatement or refund procedure. Abatements may be granted in cases of overvaluation as allowed by §§ 39-10-114(1)(a)(I)(A) and (D), C.R.S., but cannot be granted if the valuation was protested during the assessment year in question, or if the declaration was not filed according to §§ 39-5-107 and 108, C.R.S. However, if the following conditions are met, the taxpayer retains the right to file an abatement petition, § 39-10-114(1)(a)(I)(D), C.R.S.
Additional abatement information may be found in the ARL Volume 2, Chapter 5, Taxpayer Administrative Remedies.
Refund of Interest
With two exceptions, interest accrues from the date the taxes are paid pursuant to § 39-10-114(1)(b), C.R.S.
- Refund interest is not included in a refund of prior years’ taxes in cases involving an error made by a taxpayer in completing personal property schedules according to article 5 of title 39, C.R.S.
- Regarding refunds involving errors or omissions made by a taxpayer in completing statements pursuant to article 7 of title 39, C.R.S., interest accrues from the date a complete abatement petition is filed if the county pays the refund within the timeframe described in § 39-10-114(1)(a)(I)(B), C.R.S., which could be as long as the payment of property taxes for the year the final determination is made.