What You Need to Know About Aspen’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT)

What You Need to Know About Aspen’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT)

  • Brittanie Rockhill
  • 01/28/21

If you are buying real estate in Aspen, it’s important to be aware of the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT).

What is the Aspen RETT?

For any real property sold within Aspen city limits, the city collects roughly a 1.5% Real Estate Transfer Tax from the purchaser. This applies to all real property, including land, buildings, condos, houses, townhomes, etc. The taxes will be submitted and paid to the City Cashier in the Finance Department prior to the recording of the purchase deed at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Aspen RETTs have been around for a long time, and were in place before Colorado changed the state constitution to prevent “new” Real Estate Transfer Taxes from being established by individual cities or counties. The Aspen RETT was grandfathered in and must be paid by any real property purchaser in the city.

How Aspen RETTs Are Calculated

There are actually two separate RETT’s that are being collected by the city of Aspen. Together, they total just under 1.5%.

First is the Wheeler Opera House Real Estate Transfer Tax (WRETT), which is 0.5% of the Actual Cash Consideration. Second is the Housing Real Estate Transfer Tax (HRETT) of 1.0%. The first $100,000 of the transaction is deducted prior to applying this transfer tax. It is calculated by subtracting $100,000 from the Total Consideration and then multiplying that by 0.01.

Download the following form to compute and transmit the RETT:

RETT Payment Computation Transmittal Report (PDF)

Are There Any RETT Exemptions?

In certain cases, some Aspen real estate transfers are exempt from the RETT. One such example is when an individual’s ownership percentage has not changed during a business restructure or sale. If you wish to seek exemption from the Aspen RETT, then you will need to complete the form below:

RETT Exemption Application (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Aspen has set up an FAQ page to address some common questions. I have covered most of the key points here, but you can also click here to read the RETT FAQs.

I have been an Aspen real estate professional for many years, so I am very familiar with the city’s Real Estate Transfer Tax rules, calculations and exemptions. If you have any questions about the RETTs or anything else related to the Aspen real estate market, please call me at (970) 366-0891 or email me at [email protected]


Brittanie Rockhill

Aspen Real Estate


DRE # FA.100019229

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