Archive for October, 2010

CACI Tax Council Meeting- October 8, 2010- With Representative Amy Stephen- Colorado House of Representatives

Today’s meeting covered a series of items, beginning with some resolution proposals from the Colorado Assessors Association.  The main topic of discussion is the below proposal:

“Whereas:  Typically, most property tax attorneys and consultants fail to provide real estate financial data on income producing properties.  County Boards of Equalization (CBOE) may file a Motion for Discovery at the Board of Assessment Appeals requesting appropriate real estate financial information.  If granted, the Board requires financial data to be provided to the CBOE.  Filing a Motion for Discovery is expensive for the county requiring time from a county commercial appraiser or deputy, CBOE and a County Attorney.  However, without the real estate financial data on income producing properties the income approach to value can not be properly prepared.”

Reading further into the proposal, it basically would give any county grounds to reject any petition of assessment on commercial property where financial data isn’t provided up front without request.  They would require all commercial property owners to disclose their financial information including rent roles every year, and failure to do this would prevent the owner from filing a petition on their assessment.  Alan Poe, Attorney with Holland and Hart, spoke out against this measure as it is problematic, and unfair to the taxpayer.  He recommended that a Motion for Discovery be requested by the assessor at the Board of Assessment Appeals.  I was in agreement with Alan on this, as adding another step of compliance for the taxpayer wouldn’t be advantageous for anyone, and would prove to be erroneous.  Patrick Boyle was representing the movement from the Assessors Association, and comments can be sent to him directly at

Patrick@bswpolicy.com.  His direct line is 303-882-2189. 

Representative Amy Stephens was also present at the meeting.  She wanted to address the problems with the Department of Revenue and obtain feedback from the business community.  It was the general consensus that the DOR is extremely difficult to deal with, not friendly, not accessible and very hard lined in their auditing process.  Most business leaders don’t mind audits if they are good audits.  A general complaint was that the DOR is conducting audits that are inaccurate, and are extremely hard lined, and that they are unwilling to converse when a taxpayer has an issue.  They usually offer a one way conversation, they speak, and the taxpayer listens.  Representative Stephens was apologetic, and vowed she was trying to come up with solutions to this problem, as the DOR has made for itself a very negative reputation.  They have been extremely aggressive over the past couple of years, as they have been trying to ease the State Budget shortfall. 

Other topics of discussion were from the business community.  In meeting with Representative Stephens, there was a call from business leaders to repeal House bills 1190, 1192, and 1193.  The Colorado “Home Rule” was also discussed as problematic for change in this state.  There is also legislation in play that would change the amount of time aloud for filing a Sales & Use tax refund.  In the history of Colorado Sales & Use Tax, taxpayers have had 3 years to claim a refund.  New legislation will bring that time period down to 60 days.  Most business leaders see this as a major problem.  The CACI Tax Council will be present to represent the business community on these issues at a Colorado State Hearing to take place on November 4, 2010 at 9:30AM at the state capitol. 

Also, it was the opinion of the council that the Senate and the House are quite silent right now as to what their plans are when it comes to lifting more exemptions.  They are all up for re-election so no one will say what they will do.  It is the sentiment though that there will not be another move next year to lift additional tax exemptions.  Only time will tell on this.  Last year, the projected deficit for the state budget was $600 Million.  After passing several pieces of legislation suspending 13 different tax exemptions last year, the projected state budget deficit for next year falls around $1 Billion.  Colorado is in a bind, as they are limited from raising tax rates.  The next question of the council is, where will the new governor cut spending, or where will these tax dollars come from.  Still no good news on the horizon of the State Budget. 

Representative Amy Stephens can be reached direct at her email address: 

amy.stephens@earthlink.net.  She welcomes feedback on ways to improve the Department of Revenue, and opinions on the repeal of House Bills 1190, 1192 and 1193. 

John F. Haettich