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Property Tax Protest Deadline in Texas

Property Taxes 101

Wondering about property tax protest deadlines in Texas? Learn when to file and what you need to do to present a strong case for tax relief.

Every year, in April or very early May, property owners in Texas receive their new property appraisals in the mail. While you might expect that the pandemic has put the brakes on property appraisals, the opposite is very often true. In fact, many property owners are discovering that there have been extraordinarily large jumps in the appraised value of their homes recently. The good news is you do have the option to challenge this. Here’s what you need to know about the property tax protest deadline in Texas, and what you need to do.

Why Should You Protest Your Property Taxes?

Every year, local government decides what the valuation of your home is. This number, which is often completely unrelated to the property market, determines what you will pay in property taxes for the year.

What many people don’t know is that you can challenge this, provided you lodge your challenge by the property tax protest deadline in Texas. If you are successful, you can get the assessed or appraised value of your home reduced, and that, in turn, can reduce the amount of property tax you have to pay.

What Is the Deadline to Protest Property Taxes in Texas?

The deadline to protest or challenge taxes in Texas varies from region to region, but in most cases, it will either be somewhere around the 15th of May, or 30 days after you receive your appraisal. Usually, you will have until whichever of those dates is later – so don’t worry if you usually get your appraisal a little later. You still have some time!

If your property appraisal is higher than the previous year, and will therefore result in higher property taxes, the Tax Code requires that it is sent earlier. So, it will need to be sent by May 1 for most homes, or April 1 for residential homesteads.

Related: How to Protest Property Tax In Texas

What If You Miss the Deadline?

It’s always a good idea to file your tax protest as early as possible so you meet the deadline. However, there are some circumstances where you might be able to file a late appeal, including:

·   If you failed to receive a notice, provided you do not allow your taxes to become delinquent, and the protest is filed before the delinquency date

·   If your residential homestead property is appraised 25% or more above market value, or your nonresidential homestead property is appraised 33.3% higher than market value

·   Clerical or administrative errors on the appraisal

·   If you received multiple appraisals

·   If the chief appraiser agrees to a joint motion to correct

As you may have gathered from this list, the criteria for filing a successful property tax protest after the deadline are very narrow. It’s always better to file your protest as soon as possible. You will have a much higher chance of success.

Related: Definitive Guide to Lower Your Property Taxes in Texas

How to File a Property Tax Protest in Texas

Many financial and real estate professionals say that you should file a property tax protest every year, no matter what. The chance that you might reduce your taxes is enough of an incentive to make it worth the effort.

The good news is that it’s not too complex to protest your appraisal either. In fact, while some people do choose to have a legal professional do this for them, it is possible to do it (successfully) on your own.

Whether you choose to self file your protest or hire a specialist, you should try to beat the property tax protest deadline in Texas. It will give you a much higher chance of success! Provided you do, the process is as follows:

·   Download the Form 50-132, Notice of Protest form as a PDF

·   You can fill in the form digitally or print it out to complete it

·   Fill in details of the district you are filing the protest for, and the tax year it applies to

·   Complete the personal details section

·   Fill in the section describing the property

·   Complete the section which outlines why you are protesting the appraisal – you can select multiple checkboxes here, and there is a section where you can insert any other information that is relevant to your protest

·   Complete the additional facts section with any other relevant information

·   Select how you want your hearing to be conducted – this may be in person, by phone or by submitting an affidavit

·   Choose how you wish to receive correspondence about the hearing

·   If your property is appraised at $50 million or more, complete the section requesting a special panel

·   Sign and certify the submission

In some parts of Texas, you can submit your property tax protest form online. Other areas might have specific information about how to submit it correctly. Make sure you follow these instructions to the letter. If your application is not received, your protest will not make the deadline and you will not be able to change your appraisal.

As with any legal documents, if you do submit it by mail, make sure that you use a tracked mail service, so you can see exactly when it is delivered, and if there are any problems along the way.

What Kind of Things Could Change Your Property Appraisal?

Of course, when you receive a higher-than-expected property appraisal from your local government, your first response is probably shock. Then you might become angry. However, it’s important to remember that property appraisals are done by government officials who have no personal interest in the process. They are usually just following a procedure and using an approved formula.

However, while it’s not personal, it could have a big impact on your personal finances. Here are a few reasons your property appraisal might be more than it should be:

·   Instead of linking property appraisals to actual market value of a home, government officials base increases on the average increase in value in a particular city or neighborhood

·   Property appraisals do not take into account any damage to a property that might require repairs – so for instance, if you had a flood or a fire inside your home, it might not be visible from the outside, but you still need to repair it, which will lower the value of the home

·   The home might also be in a state of disrepair – imagine buying a fixer-upper that has not been fixed up yet, and then having it valued based on surrounding homes that are!

·   If your home is appraised significantly higher than similar homes in your area without a valid reason

·   If you applied for an exemption but it was denied or not processed

The people who do property appraisals in your area would have no way of knowing all of these things, so these are the kinds of things you might want to mention on your property tax protest.

Gather as much evidence to support your application as you can. If your home has suffered damage that must be repaired, for instance, you might get quotations from companies that would do the repairs and include copies. Or you might speak to a realtor to get a market value appraisal of your home in writing.

The more evidence you have to support your claim, the more likely you are to have a favorable result.

What Happens After You File Your Protest?

If you have met the property tax protest deadline in Texas, and your paperwork is correct and complete, it will get put into the protests process.

A property appraiser will review your paperwork and will contact you by phone to discuss the issue. This is a largely informal process, and in some cases, you might get the result you want at this point.

If you don’t get the desired result by speaking to a property appraiser, you can request a traditional hearing.

Since traditional hearings take longer and cost more money than the informal process, in many cases, appraisers are willing to negotiate an offer without going through the formal process. They may email you an offer at this point, to prevent the case from progressing.

Most people don’t get all the way to a formal hearing for their property tax protest. The matter is usually resolved before it ever reaches that point. But it’s still your right to get a hearing if that’s what you want.

What If You Didn’t Receive an Appraisal?

If there has been no change in the appraised value of your home, you might not receive an appraisal at all. However, you still have the right to protest, provided you do it by the property tax protest deadline in Texas.

You might want to do this if your situation has changed in some way that might give you an exemption you weren’t eligible for before. Perhaps you turned 65, or now have a disability. Or maybe there was temporary damage to the home in the past year.

There are several reasons why you might qualify for an exemption this year, even if you did not last year. If that is the case, you should certainly protest your appraisal, even if it has not changed.

Getting Help with Property Tax Protests

Like many government processes, protesting property taxes in Texas is not necessarily difficult, and doesn’t really require too much legal knowledge. There’s a lot of red tape, and you will have to provide proof to back up any claims you make, but the process itself is not inherently difficult.

However, there are always exceptions.

If you’re not entirely sure that you qualify to protest your property tax appraisal, or you want to be sure you are submitting the right information, you might need help. It can also help to speak to a professional once you have received an offer from the appraiser’s office. They might be able to tell you if the offer is fair, or if you should take the process to the next step.

Assistance with property tax protests in Texas are quite affordable and can make the process a lot quicker and certainly more painless. If it results in a significant change in your property appraisal, and a corresponding drop in your tax bill, then it’s certainly worth it!

Home Tax Shield offers quick, easy, and professional help in submitting your property tax protests. If you feel you need some help to get a better deal, or just meeting the requirements and property tax protest deadline in Texas, why not reach out? The process is completely online, simple, and completely confidential. So, get the help you need, without any of the red tape.

Dec 16th 2021

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