We invite you to come learn more about the Senior Property Tax Exemption, it's history, and uncertain future in Colorado.
Save the Date - August 14, 2018
Since its passage by ballot initiative in 2000, adoption as state law in 2001, and becoming effective in 2002, the Senior Property Tax Exemption, often referred to as the Homestead Exemption, has become a program utilized by more than 225,000 older Coloradans annually. Older adults aged 65 or greater who have lived in their home for 10 years qualify for the exemption. In 2006, Colorado voters approved extending this property tax exemption to 100% service-connected disabled veterans living in Colorado. Fiscal year 2016-2017 saw just over 5,000 veterans benefit from the property tax exemption.
On average, qualifying homeowners receive an annual reduction in property taxes of about $550. Since counties collect property taxes, the state is responsible for reimbursing counties the exempted, or uncollected, property tax amount. The total paid by the state to counties in 2018 is expected to be nearly $150 million dollars. Research conducted by the Colorado Future’s Center and commissioned by the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging indicates that this amount will be approximately $300 million by 2030. Given Colorado’s fiscal constraints, this increasing amount of money has become worrisome to our state government.
Since taking effect in 2002, the exemption for older adults has been zeroed out six times, meaning no property exemptions were offered to those aged 65 or greater. Nearly 30 legislative measures have been introduced that would have impacted the property tax exemption. The bulk of the measures include reducing the exemption to zero, making the exemption portable for older adults seeking to move, and attempts to means test the exemption.
Each year, the Governor’s Office and General Assembly work to come up with a balanced budget which has periodically lead to zeroing out the Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption. In recent years, the JBC has asked a variety of stakeholders and staff to explore what could be done to change this law and reduce growth in costs. Further discussion has led some in state government to question if this is the right benefit to be providing the 65+ population. As the states reimbursement dedication to counties grows along with the number of older adults in Colorado, the fiscal impact becomes more and more severe.
The Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, in collaboration with the Colorado Senior Lobby and the Colorado Gerontological Society, will gather input from older adults to better understand the value of this benefit and if older adults want any changes made to the benefit.
We encourage your attendance, participation, and input on our upcoming educational/public input forum.
Save the date, August 14 - Stay posted, more details to come.