Four Steps To Protesting Your Property Taxes in Texas
We’ve got four steps to protesting your property taxes in Texas. With Texas property taxes constantly rising, the annual “Notice of Appraised Value” letter sent by the appraisal district may negatively affect your financial year. One of your rights as a taxpayer is the right to protest to the appraisal review board (ARB) if you disagree with the appraisal district’s value or any actions concerning your property.
How Are Property Taxes Assessed?
Before you go down this path, visit the Texas Comptroller’s website to look at how the state assesses property taxes. It will also tell you when they begin this process each year, where the money goes, and why they do it. This will allow you to make an educated decision on whether or not to protest.
If you do find yourself dissatisfied with the ARB’s findings in any way after doing your research, you may appeal the ARB’s decision. Depending on your property type and other facts, you may be able to appeal to the district court in the county you live in.
Four Steps To Protesting Your Property Taxes
Living Houston has compiled the four steps you need to follow to protest the appraised value of your home. Lowering the appraised value reduces the property taxes owed in the coming tax year.
Step 1: File Your Protest
- The deadline to file to protest your property taxes in the state of Texas is May 15th. They usually send the year’s tax appraisal in November, so this should allow you plenty of time to file by the deadline.
- Go to the website for your county’s appraisal district and look for the option to file a protest. If you reside in Fort Bend County, you can file in one of four ways, online appeal, e-File, US mail, or in person.
- These options are not the same for every county, be sure to call or visit your county’s website to find out how to file your protest.
Step 2: Get An Appraisal (Optional)
- After filing, the Texas Comptroller’s office suggests hiring a licensed appraiser to verify your home’s “market value.” Gathering evidence to support your protest can save you a lot of time.
- The appraisal cost varies based on the size and location of your property but will likely fall between $400-$600.
The appraisal is helpful because if homes similar to yours are selling for 350K and your appraisal value is equal to or more than 350K, you won’t be able to appeal. However, if the appraisal comes back for less, you can move forward, and you will have the appraisal to provide as evidence to support your claim.
Step 3: Request An Informal Hearing
- Request an informal hearing. The informal hearing intends to resolve the issue with a registered appraiser.
- If you come to an agreement during the informal hearing, you will expedite the process and eliminate the need for step 4.
Step 4: Appear Before The Appraisal Review Board
- If you cannot reach an agreement at the informal hearing, they will schedule a formal hearing.
- About 14 days prior to your protest hearing, you’ll receive a packet of information, including a list of the ARB’s procedures. Please read and follow them carefully. Arrive early for your hearing. And when given the floor, stick to the facts.
- Tip: Appraisal Review Board Meetings are open to the public. Find their schedule and try to attend one before your hearing. This will give you a better idea of what to expect and prepare you for your hearing.
- Also, take note that the only thing ARB members may consider is the valuation of your property. The following will have no bearing on your case:
- Tax rate
- Your personal thoughts on the legal process
Please do not waste the limited time allotted to you by the board talking about how you think they’re underperforming. Do not offer any arguments about information not tied directly to the value of your property.
How To Prepare For Your Formal Hearing
- Be prepared with examples, facts, and figures. If you took the time to get your own appraisal done, this is where it can become valuable. Print out everything you need to present your case and have it easily accessible in an orderly fashion. Have multiple copies ready to give to each board member. Then calmly and clearly state your case to the board and be prepared to answer any questions.
- Remember, the tax appraiser will also be there presenting their case. The appraiser will have access to the same information as you do. You cannot use lower comparable sales to support your position and ignore the higher ones. Be forthcoming with all information, but build the case to win. If they notice you’re excluding data from your presentation, you’ll need to explain why.
- If attempting to prove the condition of your home is not comparable to others, be prepared with estimates from licensed contractors and pictures.
- The Appraisal Review Board will listen to both you and the chief appraiser. The chief appraiser carries the burden of proving the value of your property. If they fail to present their case effectively, the ARB must rule in your favor.
How Living Houston Can Help
One thing that can help a homeowner decide whether to protest their property taxes is a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). A CMA run by a competent, licensed Realtor® can give you the insight you need on home values in your market area. If Living Houston can assist you in acquiring a CMA for your home, contact us today.