Senior Tax Amendment Eligibility Summary
How the Senior Property Tax Exemption Can Work for You
In November 2000, voters passed the constitutional amendment providing a Homestead Exemption for qualifying senior citizens. The amendment, and subsequent legislation, created a property tax exemption for two groups of people:
- Qualifying seniors
- The surviving spouses of seniors who previously qualified
For those who qualify, 50 percent of a portion of the actual value of their primary residence is exempted. The amount subject to exemption may be revised upward or downward by the state legislature.
Currently 50 percent of $200,000 of actual value is exempt. The state will pay the exempted property tax. Yearly notice of the availability of the senior property tax exemption must be mailed no later than May 1 to the owners of all residential property in Colorado. Qualified individuals must file an application for exemption.
Three Basic Requirements
- The qualifying senior must be at least 65 years old on January 1 of the year in which he or she qualifies;
- The qualifying senior must be the owner of record, of current residence and must have been the owner of record for at least the 10 consecutive years prior to January 1;
- The qualifying senior must occupy the property as his or her primary residence, and must have done so for at least the 10 consecutive years prior to January 1.
This exemption only applies to your primary residence.
Definition of Primary Residence for Exemption
For the purpose of the exemption, "primary residence" is synonymous with "residence" as defined in Title 1, Article 1, Section 104(43) of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which is quoted as follows: "'Residence' means the principal or primary home or place of abode of a person, as set forth in section 1-2-102(1)." The property in which you reside for the greatest length of time each year should be designated as your primary residence.
Read the Complete Amendment
Title 39, Article 3, Part 2, Colorado Revised Statutes
Two Application Forms Have Been Created for the Exemption
- The Short Form (PDF) is intended for qualifying seniors who meet each of the requirements stated above.
- The Long Form (PDF) must be used by individuals applying under the surviving spouse option and for applicants applying as the senior who qualify for certain exceptions to the occupancy and ownership requirements.
Exceptions to the Occupancy & Ownership Requirements
- The ownership is in the spouse's name, and that person also occupies the property;
- The ownership has been transferred to or purchased by a trust, corporate
- Partnership or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes;
- The qualifying senior, or his or her spouse, was or is confined to a health-care facility;
- The prior residence was condemned in an eminent domain proceeding.
The surviving spouse of an individual who previously qualified is someone that was married to a senior who met each of the application requirements on January 1, 2002, or on any January 1 that occurred after that date. A surviving spouse must occupy the property as his or her primary residence and must have done so with his or her spouse as of the date the spouse died. Qualifications for the surviving spouse option are listed below, under Long Form Qualifications.
The deadline for submitting either form is July 15 of the first year for which you are seeking exemption. The exemption must be applied for once, and it remains in effect for subsequent years as long as the property ownership and occupancy do not change. The summary page has additional information about the exemption.