Chapin: If you’ve lived in your home for 10 years, you could qualify for a senior property tax exemption (column) | VailDaily.com

Chapin: If you’ve lived in your home for 10 years, you could qualify for a senior property tax exemption (column)

Mark Chapin
Valley Voices

Mark Chapin

In Colorado, a property tax exemption is available for citizens who are 65 or older and have owned and lived in their primary residence for at least 10 years prior to Jan. 1, 2018, for tax year 2019. The exemption is also available for surviving spouses. This year, the application must be filed or postmarked by Monday, July 16.

If you were approved in a prior year, then you need not re-apply. The exemption will reduce the tax liability of the first $200,000 of the actual value of your primary residence by 50 percent up to a maximum reduction of $100,000.

In order to qualify for this exemption, you must meet each of the following basic requirements:

• The applicant must be at least 65 years old on Jan. 1 of the year in which he or she applies.

• The applicant, or his or her spouse, is the owner of record and has owned the property for at least 10 consecutive years prior to Jan. 1.

• The applicant occupies the property as a primary residence and has done so for at least 10 consecutive years prior to Jan. 1.

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The requirements to qualify as surviving spouse of an eligible senior citizen are:

• The surviving spouse was married to a senior citizen who met the age, occupancy and ownership requirements on any Jan. 1.

• The surviving spouse has not remarried and occupied the residential property with the eligible senior citizen as their primary residence and still occupies the same property.

There are two application forms for senior exemption: the short form, for applicants who meet the basic eligibility requirements, and the long form, for surviving spouses of eligible seniors and for applicants who may qualify under the exceptions to the basic requirements:

• Title is held in trusts, corporate partnership or estate planning situations.

• The qualifying senior, spouse or surviving spouse is/was confined to a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility.

• The prior home was condemned by a governmental entity by eminent domain or was sold to such an entity on threat of such action.

• The prior home was destroyed or otherwise rendered uninhabitable by a natural disaster.

Completed applications should be submitted to the Assessor's Office by Monday, July 16, for the 2019 tax year (taxes payable in 2019). Once the application is filed and approved, the exemption remains in effect unless a disqualifying event happens. By law, any change in the ownership or occupancy of the property must be reported within 60 days.

An exemption is also available for disabled veterans.

Please note that an individual or married couple is only entitled to one exemption, either senior citizen or disabled veteran, and only on one property. There are penalties imposed by the state for claiming exemptions on more than one property or failing to provide timely notice of change of ownership or occupancy.

The Eagle County Assessor's Office will help you complete your application. Please call 970-328-8640, toll free at 800-225-6136, or stop by the office at 500 Broadway St. in Eagle.

Mark Chapin is the Eagle County assessor.