General Information

Glossary of Assessor Terms

Actual Value: That value determined by appropriate consideration of the cost approach, the market, and the income approach to appraisal.

Ad valorem tax: A property tax based on the assessed value of the property, which is not necessarily equivalent to it's market value.

Assessed Value: A percentage of the property's actual value, as determined by the Colorado Constitution and statutes, also known as the assessment ratio.

Assessment Ratio: The relationship between assessed value and market value. The residential assessment ratio in Colorado is 7.15% , primary oil/gas production is 87.5% and all other property is 29%.

Deed: A written, legal instrument that conveys interest in real property when executed and delivered(e.g. bargain & sale deed, quit claim deed, warranty deed).

Grantee: A person to whom property is transferred by deed or to whom property rights are granted by a document.

Grantor: A person who transfers property by deed or grants property rights through a document.

Guaranteed Title: A title whose validity is insured by an abstract, title, or indemnity company.

Intestate: The condition of dying without leaving a valid will.

Joint Tenancy: Joint ownership by two or more persons with the right of survivor ship.

Legal Description: A description of land that identifies the real estate according to a system established by law; an exact description that enables the real estate to be located and identified.

Legal Owner: The owner of title, as distinguished from the holders of other interests, e,g., beneficial or possessory interests.

Mill: One-tenth of one cent; often used to express real estate taxes.

Mill Levy: A tax rate expressed in tenths of a cent; e.g., a tax rate of one mill per thousand means $1 of taxes per $1000 of assessed value.

Notice of Valuation: The Assessor must notify the property owner of any change in value. The "NOV" is mailed no later than May 1st for real property and June 15th for personal property each year. This provides the property owner with the opportunity to appeal the value.

Owner of Record: The owner of title to a property as indicated by public records.

Parcel: A piece of land of any size in one ownership.

Parcel Number: A code number that serves as an abbreviation of a parcel's legal description; used to store data in an information system.

Plat: A plan, map or chart of a city, town, section, or subdivision indicating the location and boundaries of individual properties.

Real Estate: Physical land and appurtenances attached to the land, e.g., structures. An identified parcel or tract of land, including improvements, if any.

Real Property: All interests,benefits, and rights inherent in the ownership of physical real estate; the bundle of rights with which the ownership of the real estate is endowed.

Recording: The filing of a copy of a legal document, e.g., a deed, at the Office of the Clerk & Recorder, creating a public record of this document for the protection of all concerned.

Right of: Right of surviving joint tenant to acquire the interest of the deceased joint

Survivorship: tenant in joint tenancies without any probate proceedings.

Situs: In real estate, the physical location of a property.

Special Assessment: An assessment against real estate levied by a public authority to pay for public improvements, e.g., sidewalks, sewers, street improvements, etc. or an amount levied against individual owners in a condominium or cooperative to cover their proportionate shares of a common expense.

Special Districts: Special service governments created to provide a particular service, e.g.,economic development districts, water resource management districts.

Tax District: A political subdivision of one or more assessment districts where a governmental unit has the authority to levy taxes.

Tax Exemption: Total exemption from tax; granted to educational, charitable, religious, and other non profit organizations.

Tax Lien: A lien that is automatically attached to property in the amount of its unpaid property taxes.

Taxing Entity: Political subdivision of the state with the power to levy tax on property that lies within its geographical boundaries.

Tenancy in: An estate held by two or more persons, each of whom has an undivided common interest.

Title: The combination of all elements that constitute proof of ownership.

Undivided Interest: Fractional ownership without physical division into shares,

Unimproved Land: Vacant land or land that lacks the essential, appurtenant improvements required to make useful.



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I am moving my mobile home, where do I start?

How do I purge the title of my manufactured home?

How do I change the title on my manufactured home?

Property Value - How can my value go up so much in one year?

    Property is revalued in Colorado every two years. The changes in the value of homes reflect market conditions in La Plata County from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016, adjusted forward in time to June 30, 2016, the last date of the appraisal period.


What is a "Sales Study Period"?

    According to State Statute, the Assessor is required to gather and confirm sales within the 24-month period ending on the June 30th of the year prior to a reappraisal year, time adjusting each sale to the June 30th ending date. This data-gathering period is referred to as the Sales Study Period. The study period for the 2017 reappraisal was from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016.

What if I change my address?

    It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Assessor's Office of any change in mailing address. To protect the taxpayer from an erroneous address change, the address used by the Assessor's Office will not be changed without the property owner's written consent.For your convenience, you may download an from this site, complete & mail. Every year, many people don't receive the notices we send because they have not kept us advised of their changed addresses.

Agricultural Classification - how do I obtain agricultural classification?

Agricultural Classification information
State of Colorado brochure Classification and Valuation of Agricultural Property                       


Who sets the assessment rate?

    The "Gallagher Amendment" to the Colorado Constitution requires that a relationship be maintained, on a statewide basis, between the amount of property tax paid on residential property and the amount paid on nonresidential property. The state legislature sets the residential assessment rate once every two years to maintain that relationship. The assessment rate on nonresidential property is fixed at 29%. The residential assessment rate is 7.2%.

Change title or ownership - How do I change title or name of ownership on my property?

    The title on property can be changed via a recorded deed. The Assessors Office is an "office of record," which means changes in ownership or property boundaries are done based on recorded deeds, surveys, subdivision plats & other documents pertaining to ownership.Deeds must be recorded at the Clerk & Recorders Office before the Assessors records can be modified to reflect any changes.

Protest property value - How can I protest my property value?

    Protests can be heard by the Assessor's Office from May 1 through June 1 every year. Protests can be filed either in person, by letter, email, or fax.

Pre-pay Taxes - Can I pre-pay my taxes?

    It is necessary to contact the La Plata County Treasurer's Office at(970) 382-6352 or at: P O Box 99 Durango, CO 81302.

Mass appraisal model - How does a mass appraisal model value of my property?

    Each property in the county has a set of characteristics that are used by the model. Some examples are its location, living area square footage, basement square footage (finished and non), style, quality, garage square footage, lot features, etc. These variables may be reviewed on sold properties used in the model in order to estimate value of the properties. The model is then applied to both sold and unsold properties.

Should I bring you a copy of the recorded deed?

    It isn't necessary to mail or bring us a copy of the recorded deed. The Assessor's Office accesses all recorded documents from the Clerk & Recorders Office that concern ownership changes.

Who sets the tax rate of mill levy?

    Tax rates (mill levies) are determined by each taxing authority (County, City, School District, Fire Department, Water & Sanitation District & Recreation District) in the fall of each year. These authorities provide services to you and are listed on your last tax notice.Amendment 1, known as the Tabor Amendment approved by the voters in 1992, restricts the ability of taxing authorities to raise tax rates or revenue without voter approval. Some tax authorities have chosen to provide temporary tax credits, which allows the tax district to maintain its official mill levy and not exceed revenue limits.

When are the tax bills mailed?

    Please contact the Treasurer's Office at (970) 382-6352 or at: P.O. Box 99, Durango, CO 81302.

The square footage you list for my house is different from what the building plans indicate. Why is that?

    Real estate appraisers measure residences from the outside, so the square footage of areas include the thickness of exterior walls. In taking these measurements, our office rounds to the nearest inch or tenth of a foot; the final square footage is reported to the nearest whole square foot. In other cases, building plans may list only the area inside the exterior walls as living area, so that can account for differences of several hundred square feet when compared to areas based on including the exterior walls.

Why is vacant land and commercial assessed at 29%, and residential at 7.2%?

    The differences in assessment rates between residential homes and other types of property is the result of an amendment to the Colorado Constitution (known as the Gallagher Amendment) approved by the voters in 1982, which limited the residential share of the property taxes. The State Legislature adjusts the residential assessment rate each reappraisal year to keep the property tax burden from shifting to residential property. This is the Gallagher Amendment in action.

What about decisions reached through the arbitration process?

    Decisions reached through the arbitration procedure are final and not subject to review.

Where can I find out about a property tax exemption for disabled veterans?

    In the 2006 General Election, Colorado voters passed Referendum E - Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans. This extended the existing property tax exemption for qualifying seniors to any United States military veteran who is one hundred percent permanently disabled due to a service-connected disability. The change will reduce property taxes for qualified disabled veterans by exempting a portion of the value of their home from property taxation. Additional Information

What should I do if I don't receive a tax bill or my taxes aren't paid.

    Please contact the Treasurer's Office at (970) 382-6352 or at: P.O. Box 99, Durango, CO 81302.

How often do you re-value?

    Colorado law requires all Assessors to reappraise all real property, including land and improvements, every two years, during odd-numbered years. Reappraisal is the review and adjustment of property value to a different level of value.

My house wasn't complete on January 1. How was it valued?

    All property in Colorado is valued as it exists on January 1st of the current year. If a structure is not fully built on that date a partial value reflecting the percentage of completion is used.

Who pays the taxes due on property I sold or purchased?

    Real property tax is the responsibility of the owner of record January 1st of each year. Private contracts between buyer and seller will often specify who pays the taxes or the proration is completed at the closing with the title company.

Is the month of May the only time I can appeal a valuation?

    No. The Assessor's Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to answer your questions and to ensure that all valuations are fair. However, to preserve your legal right to appeal a decision of the Assessor's to the County Board of Equalization, you must first make a formal appeal, in person, by e-mail, by fax, or in writing, to the Assessor by June 1. Remember, the Assessor's goal is to value your property as accurately as possible. As a property owner, your participation in this process is encouraged.

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