Helping homeowners pay fair property taxes

Texas Property Tax Protest Steps

Property Taxes 101

Have you reviewed your Property Tax Assessment and believe it’s too high compared to your neighbors? Are you in a rapidly growing Texas city and need to protest your property taxes annually just to keep them manageable? You’re not alone, and your next step is to file an appeal. 

We’ve outlined the steps to Protest and Appeal your Property Taxes specifically in the state of Texas, including important due dates and what to expect along the way. 

1. File a Property Tax Appeal 

File an appeal with your local county and appraisal district. Typically, this form and instructions are included with your appraised value notice but can be readily found online as well. 

It’s important to file the appeal by the due date! In Texas, all counties are required to accept appeals until May 15th. 

Filing a property tax appeal or property tax “protest” is a homeowner’s right. It’s important to understand you protest the tax appraised value of your home, not your tax rates. If you feel your home has been overvalued, and can back this up with supporting documentation and evidence, you should protest your property taxes. Research the deadline to do this in your appraisal district. If you have the time and the data, you can file the protest yourself and attend the hearings, or you can hire a professional or firm to do it for you for a nominal fee. Either way this is one right you should exercise every year! 

Most Texas counties offer a simple option at this stage to e-file their protest. This is NOT the same as scheduling a hearing or in person meeting with an appraiser. This method is comparable to raising your hand and asking for a second look at your appraisal. The appraisal district will review your e-file and come back with either an adjusted appraisal or no change. If you are happy with this result, awesome! Please note: accepting this result can be binding. Options beyond accepting the result of your e-file is to continue along the process and schedule a formal hearing with your county’s appraisal review board. If you do this, here’s how to prepare. 

2. Do Your Research 

Now it’s time to get to work! You’ve filed an appeal, you’ve chosen a hearing date, now you’ll need to support your case for a lower appraised home value. Here are some different ways to go about this. 

  1. Common errors on our appraisal and missed property tax relief programs can translate to real money that could have been left in your bank accounts. Take time to review all the information closely. This includes your home’s assessed value, total square footage, year built, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. A simple error here could mean a big win in lowering the amount of property taxes you owe. 
  1. Compare your home’s appraised value to your neighbors. Every Texan has a right to fair and equal taxation. Find comparable houses in your neighborhood with similar lot sizes and square footage and compare their appraisals. This information is readily available on your appraisal district’s website online. If a neighbor is paying less, use that comparison in your protest. A Realtor can also assist you with this research. 
  1. Perhaps your home’s condition isn’t reflected in the county’s appraisal. Is your home older than most of the homes in your neighborhood? Is it in need of repair or some serious upkeep? Get estimates! Those hard numbers from contractors for what it will take to get your home in shape are excellent ammunition to come to your protest with. But it can’t just be paint or landscaping…some common examples are if your roof or foundation is in need of repair. 

3. Protest 

Here are the simple tips to having a successful hearing. Be prepared, keep it short, keep it to the facts that go into determining the tax appraised value of your home. Emotional pleas or arguing won’t help your case here. People on the review board are your fellow neighbors and already understand the plight of Texas property taxes. Bring evidence to support your case. This can include: 

  1. Photos showing internal and/or external damage 
  1. Estimates to repair any home damage 
  1. Existing Blueprints if there is a square footage dispute 
  1. an Engineer’s report 
  1. A 3rd party comparable home values report 

You can choose to hire a representative to appear in your stay at this juncture and many do hire a lawyer or property tax expert. Because they have experience, they can be a great ally in saving the most on your property taxes. The decision of the appraisal review board is not subject to negotiation. Your only road beyond this junction is litigation. 

Additional Resources: Texas Comptroller Appraisal Protest and Appeals 

Nov 16th 2020

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