How and Why to File a Property Tax Protest in Texas

Property Taxes 101

Texas is a great state with lots of opportunities. However, there are also some downsides to living in Texas, including the high property taxes that many homeowners have to pay every year. That is why most property owners are determined to know how and why to file a property tax protest in Texas to save money on their taxes.

If you are one of the people who feel like you have been paying too much for too long, then you may want to consider filing a protest against your property tax assessment. Here we will discuss how and why you should file a protest against your property tax assessment notice mailed to you by the appraisal district.

Before we discuss how and why to file a protest, you must understand what a property tax appraisal is.

How and Why to File a Property Tax Protest in Texas: What Is a Property Tax Appraisal?

Your property tax appraisal is a determination of the market value of your property. This value is used to calculate how much property taxes you will owe on your home each year. The appraisal district in Texas is responsible for sending out notices every year. 

According to the Texas Comptroller website, “If the appraisal district appraises your property at a higher amount than in the previous year, Tax Code Section 25.19 requires the appraisal district to send a notice by May 1, or by April 1 if your property is a residence homestead, or as soon as practical thereafter.”

This is where how and why to file a property tax protest in Texas becomes important. If you believe that this value is incorrect, you can file a protest with the appraisal district to reduce this value for your home. If you need to file an appeal, make sure it is done by May 15th (or 30 days from the date your notice was delivered to you).

What If My Property Tax Assessment Is Not Correct?

During the protest process you will be able to provide evidence to support your appeal, including income statements and pictures of comparable homes in your area that are currently being sold for less than what is on your appraisal notice.

When Should You File a Protest?

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You should file a protest as quickly as you can if:

●  The market value of your home has gone up since last year’s property tax assessment notice was sent out by the appraisal district, and you are worried that this increase in value will result in you paying more in property taxes.

●  You have recently moved into a new home in Texas and are concerned that the market value of your neighborhood has gone up since last year’s notice was sent out.

●  Your house needs significant repairs or renovations, but the appraisal district does not account for this when calculating the market value of your home.

●  The property tax assessment notice is based on incorrect information (e.g., square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, year built, etc.).

If any of the above situations apply to you, you must file a protest as soon as possible with the appraisal district so that they can review your case and make an adjustment to your property tax assessment.

Other reasons for filing a protest include:

●  You believe that the appraisal district has incorrectly calculated the market value of your home.

●  The amount of property taxes you are currently paying is more than what you feel is fair.

●  You are not able to afford your current property tax bill.

●  Your home is currently in probate, or you are about to go through a divorce and need more time to pay your property taxes.

Note: The last two reasons may not carry as much weight as other reasons for filing a protest, but may still be worth considering.

Filing a protest is the best way to ensure that you pay an appropriate amount for your property taxes. If you believe that your property tax assessment is incorrect, do not hesitate to protest. This will require the appraisal district to review your case and make necessary adjustments to your property tax assessment, which is the primary reason you are making sure you know how and why to file a property tax protest in Texas.

Related: 8 Reasons to Protest Your Tax Appraisal in Texas

Homestead Exemption

One of the most common reasons people protest their property tax assessment is because they believe they are not receiving the homestead exemption to which they are entitled.

The homestead exemption is a state-level tax break that allows homeowners to reduce the taxable value of their homes. If you have a homestead exemption, your taxes can’t rise more than 10% per year. This may not seem dramatically helpful, but it can still go a long way in reducing your taxable value and saving you money on your property taxes.

What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Protest?

Different places in Texas have different deadlines for filing a protest. However, most districts require that you file your protest within 30 days from the date that the appraisal notice was mailed to you.

Here are some of the important deadlines for major counties in Texas:

●  You must protest by May 17 or 30 days after the appraisal notice was sent

●  Ellis County: May 15, 2022

●  You have 30 days from the mailing date to file a protest in Denton County.

●  May 17, 2022, in Dallas County

●  May 17, 2022, or 30 days from when you received the mailing in Johnson County

●  May 15, 2022, in Tarrant County. Or, 30 days from the appraisal date notice to protest.

Remember that these are just some of the important deadlines for each county in Texas. Contact your local appraisal district for a complete list of deadlines.

How to File a Protest

Most districts have their protest forms available online for download. You can also find this information on the official tax appraisal website.

The protest form will ask for information such as your name, address, and contact information; the market value of your home as determined by the appraisal district; a description of why you believe that this value is incorrect; and any evidence or documentation that you may have to support your claim.

Be sure to read the instructions on the protest form carefully before submitting it.

You must submit additional documents or information with your completed form. So, make sure you follow all of their directions for filing a valid protest.

Steps to Filing a Protest in Texas

Follow these steps when filing a protest against your property tax assessment:

  1. Determine your property’s current market value as determined by the appraisal district. You can also check the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from a competent and proven realtor. If you use CMAs, they will adjust your assessment based on square footage, lot size, and other property details. 
  2. Do the research and talk to your neighbors to determine if your property is over-assessed.
  3. Download and complete the appropriate form for your county. Always include any evidence or documentation that you feel will support your claim (e.g., copies of receipts, appraisals, photos).
  4. Read the instructions on the protest form carefully before filling it out. Remember, you can skip step 3 and file a written protest by your appraisal district.
  5. Mail the completed form and all supporting documents to the appraisal district office in charge of reviewing appeals – do not forget to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their response. Be sure to file the protest by the deadline.
  6. The Appraisal Review Board (ARB) will respond within 15 days of the date they received your protest. If you do not hear from them within that time, contact the Appraisal Review Board department to inquire about your property tax assessment appeal status.
  7. Appear before the ARB (if you are permitted to do so) and plead your case. The Board will either confirm the value set by the appraisal district, or they may permit a second look at your property by an outside professional appraiser who is not associated with the local appraisal office that did the original assessment. If this happens, expect another letter in the mail with the hearing’s date, time, and place.

TIP: ARB meetings are public. So, you are better off attending some of them in advance to know what to expect.

Remember that protesting your property tax assessment is a serious matter – it is important to do your research and collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim.

Now that you know how and why to file a property tax protest in Texas, what happens after filing the protest?

What Happens After You File a Protest?

If the appraisal district agrees that your property tax assessment is incorrect, they will adjust the value and send you a new notice reflecting this change. If you are still not satisfied with the results of your protest, you can appeal to the appraisal review board.

For your protest to be considered valid, it must include a completed property tax protest form and any other required documents or information stated by the appraisal district. If anything is missing from your protest package, they will likely reject your case and ask that you resubmit all required information.

You may want to consider hiring a property tax consultant to help you navigate the appraisal district process and represent your interests. Partnering with the right team can help you make sure you are doing the right things at the right time and that all the needed paperwork and documentation is appropriately prepared for the best possible outcome. 

Related: How to Find the Best Texas Property Tax Consultants

What If You Do Not Receive the Appraisal Letter?

If you did not receive an appraisal notice by mail, you will need to contact your local appraisal district and request one. Appraisal notices are mailed out annually on April 1st.

Contact the appraisal district where your property is located, let them know that you did not receive an appraisal notice in the mail, and ask for one to be sent.

You may also not receive the appraisal letter because your property’s value did not change. However, you may still find all the necessary information online and protest if necessary.

The Bottom Line

If you feel your property value is incorrect or disagree with the appraiser’s assessment, then file a protest. Remember to act quickly and gather evidence supporting your claim so that you can successfully appeal for an updated market value on your home.

Once the appraisal district has completed this process, they will notify you of all changes. If, at any point during this process, an appraisal review board is necessary, then be sure to work closely with your representative and follow their instructions for appeal.

The filing deadline varies depending on where you live but will usually fall within May (or 30 days after receiving your letter).

Need Help Protesting Your Taxes?

Are you a homeowner looking to file a protest in Texas? The process can be intimidating, and there are great companies that can help you simplify it. Home Tax Shield makes it their business to help homeowners like you save money on your property taxes, not only by providing the knowledge and skills needed to complete a successful protest, but also by representing you at your hearing. They can turn a stressful appeal into a streamlined process that gets results.

Sign up today at HomeTaxShield.com to get the support you need.

Feb 14th 2022

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