Property Taxes 101
Texas has the sixth-highest property tax rate in the US. These taxes place a huge burden on homeowners, especially those living in rural areas or in one of the rapidly growing cities with ever-increasing house prices. Many homeowners are finding themselves struggling with property tax increases as a result of their most recent appraisal.
Luckily, there is a means by which you can protest your property tax appraisal if you believe the bill you’ve received is too high.
If you believe that your property has been overvalued for your appraisal, you can hire one of the best property tax protest companies in East Texas to help you protest the tax.
Residents of Texas are finding themselves in the unenviable position of a significant hike in property tax rates. Given the economic difficulties of the last two years, this is something few can afford, especially when the tax amount is higher than they expected.
As discussed further below, if you believe your property has been overvalued, you can protest your appraisal. You can do this yourself, but take away the stress of the situation by leaving it to the experts to help you.
By familiarizing yourself with the best property tax protest companies near you, you can be sure you’re working with someone who knows how to put your best interests first.
Counties set property tax rates in Texas, not the state. This means rates can vary between counties. These same local governments rely heavily on the property taxes they collect to pay for a variety of things, such as public schools and services.
Just like everyone else, they’re feeling the pinch – or at least they say they are to justify the tax increase. As a result, property owners in Texas face potential increases in their property taxes.
Property tax is not something new. Texans are used to having their property appraised once a year. The problem is that this year’s appraisal comes as we’re just working our way out of a pandemic and rather a grim local economic situation.
With rates of unemployment at an all-time high, paying higher tax rates feels both unfair and unmanageable. On top of it, many people feel that the valuation of their house is incorrect, and in turn, so is the increase in their property taxes.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s Office, the state requires all taxable property to be appraised by January 1 of every year. A county’s appraisal district determines its value and bases it on the Texas Property Tax Code.
What your property tax appraisal is matters because it determines how much you pay in taxes every year.
Your property tax is calculated by taking into account the following two factors:
1. The taxable value of your property
2. The tax rate set down by the local tax authority
Firstly, a county tax appraiser determines the taxable value of every home (100% of the “market value). It then takes this amount and multiplies it by the tax rate to calculate the yearly property tax amount.
For example, a property worth $500,000 multiplied by a tax rate of $10 per $1,000 of taxable value amounts to $5,000 per year.
Yes, homeowners like you don’t have to settle for their appraisal and can protest it. In fact, everybody has the right to protest their appraisal, and not enough people exercise this option.
As a Texas Property Taxpayer, you have a variety of property tax rights at your disposal. One thing that it’s important to be aware of is that it’s the tax appraised value of your home that you’re protesting and not the rate of tax.
To be successful with your protest, you’ll need to be able to support the claim that your property has been overvalued with documentation and evidence.
Once you’ve got your appraisal through, why shouldn’t you just accept it for what it is? Well, because there are many reasons why the amount of the appraisal may be incorrect.
Unfortunately, it feels like this never works in your favor. For example, when we see economic growth, your local appraisal district increases your home’s value, but there’s no valuation reduction when the economy declines. This is especially prevalent now, given that we’re in an economic decline due to factors like the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, the value of your home is not entirely accurate because the evaluation is based on a mass appraisal. The problem with mass appraisals is the values they produce can be all over the place. For you as a homeowner, you’ll never know exactly what yours has been valued at, and this information is not available until you protest it.
The chief appraiser does not need to exclude homes sold at foreclosure in the three years preceding that tax year. This can, therefore, have a significant impact on the value of your home when you consider that the values are worked out “en masse.”
To put it simply, you have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. The worst answer you can get is a no. Protesting your appraisal will not in any way increase the amount you have to pay, even if you are unsuccessful. Many homeowners choose to protest their appraisal every year just because they can.
The appraisal only considers the exterior of your home. Your home’s interior may affect the property’s overall value but would not be evident from the outside. This could include anything from damage to broken plumbing or non-working appliances.
As a result of these issues, your home may not be worth the market value, and providing evidence of this can lower the appraised value of your home.
Be aware that the burden is on you to prove your house is worth less than they say it is. By law, the chief appraiser is prohibited from increasing the appraised value of your property in the following tax year unless the increased value is supported by substantial evidence or by presenting evidence showing that inequality in the appraisal of the property was correct.
Once you’ve decided that you intend to protest your property appraisal, what should you do next?
Well, you can do it yourself. The problem with trying to handle this on your own is that it can take up a significant amount of your time and money. You may find that it takes you upward of 12 hours over a period of 2-3 months.
Tax Law can also be complex, making the process difficult for someone unfamiliar with the law. Ultimately, most people don’t bother if they have to do it themselves.
The more desirable alternative is to instruct a property tax protest firm to do the work for you. As they do it every day, they know exactly what they’re doing and can handle your protest for a relatively small fee. The next step is to make sure you’re choosing the best property tax protest company in East Texas to handle your claim. When considering who to choose, be sure to pay attention to the points below:
It’s important that there’s someone you can talk to when you have questions about your protest’s process or the status. This includes having experienced tax professionals and estate agents at your side and friendly, helpful professionals.
The process itself involves strict time limits, and, in order to protest, some applications need to be completed containing the correct information. By partnering with a property tax firm, you know that you have easy access to experts who are familiar with property tax laws.
The property tax protest firm you instruct should be prepared to pursue every avenue in order to reduce your tax bill. Going through this process usually involves at least one informal hearing and possibly a formal hearing, too. The best property tax firms should provide you with representation at these hearings and negotiate with the county on your behalf.
The purpose of using a tax protest firm is to make your life easier. The firm you use should have a sign-up process that is hassle-free, fast, and offer you continuing representation for as long as you own your home.
When researching the best property tax protest companies in East Texas, make sure you shop around for the best offer. For example, at Home Tax Shield, standard fees are a $30 annual fee and 30% of tax savings.
As you know, the real estate market changes regularly. Technology and AI can help by continuously monitoring your local market and your property to make sure the tax value you end up with every year is fair.
You want to know that the company you’re working with has proof of success for past customers. For example, Home Tax Shield delivers an average of $322 in 1-year savings with an 83% success rate.
When you sign up with a property tax protest company, they should continue to represent you year after year by fighting for a tax reduction for you. Even if you feel like the valuation of your property is correct, nothing is stopping you from filing an appeal. It’s a good idea to find a company you like and carry out the same process every year.
Do you think your property valuation was incorrect, and you’re concerned that your property tax is too high? Perhaps you would like to exercise your right to protest on the chance that you think it could save you some money. Either way, we can help you with the process of protesting it.
As experts in this field, we know how the system works, giving you the best possible chance of success. Our team consists of experts in different fields and technology, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best service year after year.
When you sign up, we’re on your side for as long as you need us.
Dec 16th 2021
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