Joseph H. Thibodeau, Petitioner-Appellant,
Denver County Board of Commissioners and Board of Assessment Appeals, Respondents-Appellees.
of Assessment Appeals Case No. 68926
Wright and Associates, Norman H. Wright, Dillon, Colorado,
Kristin M. Bronson, City Attorney, Noah Cecil, Assistant City
Attorney, Denver, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellee Denver
County Board of Commissioners
Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, John A. Lizza, First
Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for
Respondent-Appellee Board of Assessment Appeals
and Casebolt [*] , JJ., concur
1 Petitioner, Joseph H. Thibodeau, appeals an order of the
Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) denying his abatement
petition for the 2014 tax year. We affirm. I. Background
¶ 2 Thibodeau purchased the subject property, a
residence located in the City and County of Denver, in July
2013. Earlier that year, the property was valued at $803, 800
for ad valorem tax purposes. In May 2014, Thibodeau received
notice that the City and County of Denver Assessor's
Office increased its assessment of the property's value
to $1, 169, 700.
3 Thibodeau unsuccessfully protested the increase with the
Assessor before petitioning for abatement from the Denver
County Board of Commissioners, sitting as the Denver County
Board of Equalization (BOE). Thibodeau argued that the City
erred in reassessing the subject property in an intervening
year because no unusual condition existed. The BOE rejected
his claim and upheld the 2014 assessment.
4 Thibodeau then filed an appeal with the BAA, again
contending that the BAA should reduce the subject
property's 2014 value to the 2013 value of $803, 800. At
the hearing, the BOE requested that the property's value
be lowered from $1, 169, 700 to $1, 150, 000, based on an
appraisal by a licensed residential appraiser. The BAA
concluded that the mischaracterization of the property's
condition as average, rather than good, led to an incorrect
2013 assessment of the property's value. Therefore, the
assessor was permitted to correct the incorrect assessment
during the intervening year. Additionally, the BAA found that
there was sufficient evidence to support the value testified
to by the appraiser.
5 On appeal, Thibodeau argues that the BAA erred in upholding
the City and County of Denver's reassessment of his
property because section 39-1-104(11)(b)(I), C.R.S. 2017,
only permits redeterminations in intervening years when
unusual conditions exist. He also contends that the
reassessment violated his constitutional right to equal
protection in light of the Supreme Court's decision in
Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co. v. County Commission,
488 U.S. 336 (1989). We consider, and reject, each contention
Standard of Review
6 A challenge to the BAA's property tax assessment
requires us to review questions of law and fact. We may only
set aside the BAA's decision if the BAA failed to abide
by the statutory scheme for calculating property taxes, or
its decision is unsupported by competent evidence.
Jefferson Cty. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs v. S.T.
Spano Greenhouses, Inc., 155 P.3d 422, 424
(Colo.App. 2006). Because statutory interpretation is a
question of law, we review the BAA's interpretation of
the relevant statute de novo. Id.
7 However, we defer to the BAA's findings of fact.
"It is the function of the BAA, not the reviewing court,
to weigh the evidence and resolve any conflicts."
Bd. of Assessment Appeals v. Sampson, 105 P.3d 198,
208 (Colo. 2005). And, Thibodeau bears the burden of proving
by a preponderance of the evidence that the property
assessment is incorrect. Id. at 202.
Correction of a Property Assessment in an Intervening Year
8 Thibodeau first contends that the BAA erred in concluding
that the assessor was permitted to reassess his property
value in an intervening year without showing that an unusual
condition existed. We conclude that section
39-1-104(11)(b)(I) authorizes assessors to correct incorrect
property assessments in intervening years.
Assessor's Authority ¶ 9 Section 39-1-104(10.2)(a)
provides that "beginning with the property tax year
which commences January 1, 1989, a reassessment cycle shall
be instituted with each cycle consisting of two full calendar
years." In other words, property value assessments are
calculated once every two years. But, reassessments of
property values are permitted in intervening years if
"any unusual conditions in or related to any real
property which would result in an ...