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Real property valuation protests down from 2010 total

The deadline for appeals of real property assessed valuations by Archuleta County has passed, with 503 appeals on the books.

The number is down from 670 appeals in 2010 and 2,868 appeals in 2009 — the last assessment year — according to Archuleta County officials.

Real property includes land and buildings.

Assessor Natalie Woodruff said about 70 of the appeals are for commercial properties — with some owners desiring a higher assessed valuation and others desiring a lower valuation (which would equate to higher or lower property taxes, respectively).

Many of the rest of the parcels are rural vacant land, the valuation of which many property owners believe are too high, Woodruff reported.

In discussing rural vacant land, Woodruff pointed out that land valuations didn’t decrease in all cases and actually increased in some areas.

Additionally, citing concerns expressed by property owners over possible errors in valuation, Woodruff explained that many home values decreased, meaning property owners may see a net decrease on their notice of valuation (NOV) despite an increase in land value.

Also noted was the fact that appraisals are done through mass appraisal and properties are not individually assessed.

Real property NOVs were mailed to property owners at the end of April.

Property owners then had until June 1 to appeal the NOV through the assessor’s office.

The assessor’s office must now mail a notice of determination (NOD) by the last working day in June to all property owners who filed appeals.

The NOD will include the determination from the assessor’s office as to whether the assessor agrees with the appeal, disagrees, or agrees with part and disagrees with part. An explanation for the decision will also be included.

If property owners further appeal the findings, the county’s Board of Equalization (BOE, also the Board of County Commissioners) would hear the matter.

Both the assessor’s office, as well as the property owner, must present their cases to the BOE. All appeals at this stage are to be delivered to the BoCC office, Woodruff said.

The deadline for such appeals is July 15.

“They have a pretty short window and need to pay attention,” Woodruff warned, adding if property owners don’t receive their NOD by July 10, they should contact the assessor’s office in order to have time to examine the NOD and make a decision about further appeal.

BOE hearings will be scheduled between July 1 to Aug. 5.

Decisions are then mailed to the appealing taxpayer within five business days after a decision is made.

Within 30 days of a denial at the BOE level, the taxpayer can file an appeal with the State Board of Assessment Appeals, District Court or request binding arbitration.

“I’m really hoping we can get this taken care of and not go beyond the Board of Equalization,” Woodruff said.

Should a property owner further appeal a matter, it would be taken before the Colorado Supreme Court.

Additionally, personal property NOVs (property not including land, buildings and farm equipment) will be mailed out June 15 and property owners will have until June 30 to appeal.

Personal property NODs are scheduled to be mailed by July 10 and appeals to the BOE must be turned in by July 20.

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