Glossary of Terms

Abatement:  An official reduction or invalidation of an assessed valuation after the initial assessment for ad valorem taxation has been completed.

Abstract of Assessment:  A report or summary of assessed value by class and subclass of property which is for official use by the State Board of Equalization and the Division.

Acre:  A land measure equal to 43,560 square feet.

Administration Team: Staff assigned to perform administrative duties such as transferring ownership, mapping, certifying values, completing the abstract, maintaining the assessment roll, etc.

Ad valorem tax:  A real estate tax based on the assessed value of the property, which is not necessarily equivalent to its market value.

Amenity: A tangible or intangible benefit of real property that enhances its attractiveness or increases the satisfaction of the user, but is not essential to its use. Natural amenities ,ay include a pleasant location near water ot a scenic view of the surrounding area; man-made amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts, community buildings, and other recreational facilities.

Annexation: To include property into the boundaries of a municipality.

Appraisal:  Property is valued by the assessor following valuation criteria as stipulated by the statute and by using manuals, appraisal procedures, and instructions issued by the Property Tax Administrator. The act or process of estimating value; an estimate of value.

Appraisal Team: Staff assigned to perform real and personal property appraisal duties such as gathering, appraising, data analysis, and building appraisal models, as well as supporting the values for protest and appeal hearings.

Approaches to Value: Systematic procedures used to derive value indications in real property appraisal. (See also: cost approach, income capitalization approach, sales comparison approach, below)

Assessment Date: Property is assessed according to its taxable status, use, and condition on the assessment date. The Tax lien attaches, and all property (taxable and exempt) located in the county on January 1, is listed on the assessment roll for the current year.

Board of Assessment Appeals: The major duty of the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) is to hear taxpayer appeals of decisions rendered by the county board of equalization. Taxpayers who disagree with the county board's decision may file an appeal with the BAA, district court, or request binding arbitration within (30) days of the county board's written decision.

Certificate of Title:
A document, usually given to a home buyer with the deed, which states that the title to the property is believed to be clear; usually prepared by an attorney or another qualified person who has examined the abstract of title for the property.


Class of Construction: The classification of buildings according to the fire-resistance of the materials from which they are constructed, e.g., structural steel framing (Class A), reinforced concrete framing (Class B), masonry walls (Class C), wood or light steel framing (Class D).

Comparables: A shortened term for similar property sales, rentals, or operating expenses used for comparison in the valuation process; also called "comps".

Complex: In real estate, a group of buildings, site improvements, and support facilities designed to carry out related activities in a single location; e.g., apartment complex, office complex.

Condominium: 1. A form of fee ownership of separate units or portions of multi-unit buildings that provides for formal filing and recording of a divided interest in real property; 2. A multi-unit structure or property in which persons hold fee simple title to individual units and an undivided interest in common areas.

Certification of Value:  On, August 25, the assessor certifies total values to the Department of Education and the various taxing entities within the county. The entities use the data to calculate their property tax rates (mill levies), calculate revenue and spending limitations, and decide whether or not they must ask the electorate for additional funds. If valuation changes occur after certification, the assessor must notify the entities if these changes prior to December 10.

Cost Approach: A set of procedures through which a value indication is derived for the fee simple interest in a property by estimating the current cost to construct a reproduction of, or replacement for, the existing structure; deducting accrued depreciation from the reproduction or replacement cost; and adding the estimated land value plus an entrepreneurial profit. Adjustments may then be made to the indicated fee simple value of the subject property to reflect the value of the property interest being appraised.

Disconnection: To remove property from the boundaries of a municipality.

Exclusion: To remove property from the boundaries of a special district.

Fiscal Year: Colorado counties' fiscal year runs from January 1 through December 31.

IAAO: International Association of Assessing Officers.

Inclusion: To include property into the boundaries of a special district, such as fire, protection, hospital, metropolitan, park and recreation, sanitation, water and tunnel districts.

Improved Land: 1. Land that has been developed for some use by the construction of improvements; also, land that has been prepared for development by grading, draining, installing utilities, etc., as distinguished from raw land.

Improvements: Buildings or other relatively permanent structures or developments located on, or attached to, land.

Income Capitalization Approach: A set of procedures through which an appraiser derives a value indication for an income-producing property by converting its anticipated benefits into property value. This conversion can be accomplished in two ways.  One year's income expectancy can be capitalized at a market-derived capitalization rate or at a capitalization rate that reflects a specified income pattern, return on investment, and change in the value of the investment. Alternatively, the annual cash flows for the holding period and the reversion can be discounted at a specified yield rate.

Incurable Depreciation: An element of accrued depreciation; a defect caused by a deficiency or superadequacy in the structure, materials, or design, which cannot be practically or economically corrected.

Industrial Property: Land and/or improvements that can be adapted for industrial use; a combination of land, improvements, and machinery integrated into a functioning unit to assemble, process, and manufacture products from raw materials or fabricated parts; factories that render service, e.g., laundries, dry cleaners, storage warehouses, or those that produce natural resources, e.g., oil wells.

Ingress: A means of entering; an entrance.

Instrument: In real estate, a formal, legal document, e.g., a contract, a deed, a lease, a will.

Intangible Property: 1. Nonphysical items of Personal Property, e.g., franchises, trademarks, patents, copyrights, goodwill; 2. Deferred items such as a development or organization expense.

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

Investment Property: Property that constitutes a business enterprise consisting of all tangible and intangible assets assembled and developed as a single unit of utility for lease or rental, in whole or in part, to others for profit; normally purchased in expectation of annual net income and/or capital gain.

Manufactured Home: Built to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards, manufactured homes are typically placed on a temporary foundation and titled. Manufactured homes can also be placed on a permanent foundation and never titled. Titled manufactured homes may or may not have the axles and wheels in place. For structural reasons, the I beams must be left in place, even if the home is placed on a permanent foundation. Manufactured homes have a red HUD plate on the left rear side of each section.

Real Property:  (a) All Lands or interests in lands to which title or the right of title has been acquired from the government of the United States or from sovereign authority ratified by treaties entered into by the United States, or from the state
                          (B) All mines, quarries, and minerals in and under the land, and all rights and privileges thereunto                appertaining;  and (C) Improvements   

Special District: Examples of special districts include: ambulance, fire protection, health service, metropolitan, park and recreation, water and sanitation.

State Board of Equalization: The State Board of Equalization has various duties concerning statewide administration of property tax laws and equalization of valuations of classes and subclasses of taxable property. The members of the state board include Governor, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, the President of the Colorado Senate, and two members knowledgeable in property taxation, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Property Tax Administrator:  The Division of Property Taxation is directed by the Property Tax Administrator who is appointed by the State Board of Equalization for a five-year term.

Public Servant:  Persons who presently occupy the position of a public servant as defined in section 18-8-101(3) or have been elected, appointed, or designated to become a public servant although not yet occupying that position.

Tax Warrant:  January marks the end of one assessment year and the beginning of another. On January 10, the assessor delivers the prior year's tax warrant to the treasurer for collection. The warrant lists all property owners names, property legal descriptions, assessed valuation attributable to land, improvements, and personal property, and the taxes due. The treasurer is then responsible for the collection of all taxes listed on the warrant.