Property Taxes 101
Property taxes provide the government with a lot of money. These funds go to pay for local infrastructure, fire protection, schools, transport, police, and other services. That said, property tax in Texas is one of the highest in the country, which is why citizens should be familiar with the Texas property tax protest process to ensure a fair tax process.
According to 2021 statistics, the median property tax in the state was $2,275 annually for a home worth $125,800. On average, Texan counties collect 1.81 percent of a home’s fair market value as annual property tax.
In fact, Texans are ranked top among Americans paying the most property tax in a year. Only 13 states have higher property tax rates than Texas. The median income in Texas is $62,353 per year. If we consider the median property tax rate mentioned above, a property owner has to pay 3.6 percent of their income in tax.
That’s absurdly high, especially considering you already pay so much in government taxes. Why pay more when you can save a substantial amount of money by joining the Texas property tax protest?
Below, we discuss the process in detail and help you navigate your way to saving money every year.
It’s your state-given right as a taxpayer to protest your property tax to the appraisal review board (ARB). If you disagree with the appraisal value of your property, you can protest it legally by appealing the ARB’s decision.
The ARB schedules a hearing to listen to your objections and make decisions accordingly. If you disagree with this decision, you can further file an appeal against the decision.
You can do this by appealing to an independent arbitrator, the district court of your county, or the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). You need to fill out specific forms for all these appeals and pay certain amounts as deposits, depending on your property’s value and type.
Even if it seems like a small amount, it’s important to protest the property tax process if you believe the ARB’s findings are incorrect. By not going forward with the Texas property tax protest process, many property owners leave money on the table and end up paying more than they should.
Tax Code Section 25.19 gives citizens in Texas the right to appeal the ARB’s decision if they believe their property was appraised at a higher rate than the previous year.
You first need to file Form 50-132 Notice of Protest to the said authority by May 15. In some cases, you may be able to file the form 30 days from the date of delivery of the appraisal district notice. The date that’s later is considered the correct deadline.
After you’ve filed your protest, you will get a written notice for your ARB formal hearing. The notice will specify the time, place, subject matter, and date of the hearing. During this hearing, the ARB will listen to the chief appraiser and you.
This is the right time to raise any objections about the value of your property or special appraisals. If you qualify for any exemptions, you should mention those to strengthen your case.
In most cases, the appraisal district will review your protest before the hearing and try to resolve your objections informally. For more details, you should check the guidelines of your appraisal district.
Some things to remember:
After making a decision about the protest, the ARB will send you a written order by certified mail or email. You must provide your email address in writing and request email delivery to receive the notice electronically.
If you’re still not satisfied with the ARB’s decision, you can appeal it to your county’s district court. Remember that your appeal must be submitted in the court where your property is located.
Depending on your individual situation and whether you’re eligible, you can appeal the ARB’s decision to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) or an independent arbitrator.
If the ARB’s decision does not satisfy you, it’s best to appeal to the district court initially. Alternatively, you can appeal via an independent arbitrator. You can also appeal through the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) if you meet certain criteria.
If you’ve decided to submit an appeal to the district court, you must do it within 60 days of receiving the ARB’s decision. Meanwhile, if you have decided to appeal via an arbitrator, you must file a request for it in 60 days of receiving the ARB order notice.
For SOAH, you should file the appeal within 30 days of receiving your ARB order notice. You have to pay a certain deposit or fee in all three cases.
If you think the chief appraiser or the ARB did not comply with a particular procedural requirement, you can file a complaint about it at the local taxpayer liaison.
If you’re leasing a property and have to pay the property tax on it as per the lease contract, you can appeal the property’s appraised value to the ARB in the same way.
However, you are only authorized to do that if the property owner doesn’t file the appeal. In Texas, the right to appeal is given to personal property owners, leased property owners, and buildings owners.
The property owner will get a notice of the property’s appraised value from the appraisal district. They are required by law to send a copy of the notice to you. Once you file an appeal, the subsequent ARB’s correspondence will be with you.
If the lease contract requires you to pay the tax on the property, you can also request that the appraisal district send the notice to you.
Texan property owners can protest actions surrounding their property tax appraisals. You can file an appeal if you have any concerns pertaining to:
· Your property’s appraised value
· Unequal or incomparable value of your property compared to others
· Exemptions applicable to your property or particular case
· Taxing units applying taxes on your property
· Inclusion of your property on appraisal records
You can also protest if you did not get the notice from the appraisal review board or the chief appraiser.
The Texas property tax protest process can be quite complicated, which is why some property owners may be unable to meet the deadline. Additionally, you may not even know how to proceed after an ARB determination that you disagree with.
In this case, your only resort is to submit a late application.
Although it’s not recommended nor favorable, you may be able to file a late protest after the deadline has passed.
You can file a protest for the failure of the ARB or appraisal district to send you a notice they were required to deliver to you through mail or email. Make sure you file your protest before the delinquency date so that your taxes don’t go delinquent.
Likewise, you can file a motion if there is some sort of error on the notice, such as a clerical mistake or error of ownership. In this case, the past five tax years may also be included along with the current year.
If you don’t want to file an appeal to the district court, you can appeal through binding arbitration. You can take advantage of this option if your property is a residential homestead, irrespective of its value, or a property with a market value of $5 million or less.
When you receive the order notice from the ARB, you have 60 days from that date to file an arbitration appeal. You need to fill out the Comptroller’s request form. You’re also required to pay a certain deposit based on your property.
The deposit is payable to the Comptroller of Public Accounts Texas by cashier’s check or money order. You then need to file the deposit to the appraisal district where you received the ARB notice from. The district will further complete your application and forward it to the Comptroller’s office.
Once the Comptroller’s Office receives your request through the appraisal court, they will review it. If your request is approved, you will be assigned an arbitrator by the Comptroller’s office.
You can also request the Comptroller’s office to assign you an arbitrator that resides in the same county as your property’s location. If there are no arbitrators in that area, the Comptroller’s office will randomly assign you another arbitrator.
Although you can request an independent arbitrator in your region, do note that you cannot specifically ask for someone by their name.
If the ARB’s appraised value for your property is above $1 million, you can file an appeal with the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH). You can file this appeal for your personal property, exclusive of industrial property.
You will need to file the Notice of Appeal by Property Owner and submit it to your district’s chief. Keep in mind that the deadline for this application is 30 days from the date you receive the determination order by the ARB.
Along with the form, you also have to deposit an amount of $1,500 within 90 days of getting the determination order from the ARB. The chief appraiser of your district will review your appeal and further forward it to the SOAH along with your deposit.
They will also request a qualified administrative law judge to be appointed for your case.
As evident from the details of the Texas property tax protest process outlined above, the whole procedure is quite complicated, especially if you’re not well-versed in administrative matters. From filing forms and meeting submission deadlines to putting down deposits, there’s a lot that goes into protesting Texas property tax. Having the right help can make the process streamlined and simple.
That said, it’s best to let professionals take over this job for you. With an 83% success rate and an average annual savings of $327 per property, Home Tax Shield is your one-stop for protesting Texas property tax. Sign up today by simply providing some basic information and letting a team of experts protest your property taxes every year with guaranteed success.
Feb 9th 2022
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