HOW TO PROTEST PROPERTY TAXES
Did the ground fall out from under you when you opened your property tax bill....again?
What to do? Protest Protest Protest
Especially now with online protests permitted statewide, it’s easier than ever.
The two important numbers are the market value (which is an appraiser’s guess at a sale price) and the appraised value, which is what is multiplied by the various taxing governments to get your tax bill.
There’s a 10 percent cap on the annual increase of your house’s taxable appraised (not market) value, but only for those homeowners with a homestead exemption. That’s why many this year will see a 9.9 percent increase. Appraisers want to go higher, but computer software knocks it down to the cap. Love the cap.
For more tips print or download our Protest Cheat Sheet.
How to protest
File a protest well before the May 15 deadline in case of computer glitches. One popular method is to get comparable sales numbers from a Realtor or from the appraisal district (some will give if you ask). Then show their numbers are out of whack. See below options from Alicia.
Another more time consuming method is to find someone in your neighborhood with the exact same house plan. Check their numbers on the appraisal district’s website. If their numbers are lower, show that in a protest. Bring photos and copies of their tax records (available for free on an appraisal district’s website). You win.
Or if you have house problems like a hail-damaged roof or foundation cracks that need fixing, get estimates and show those to prove your home’s value should be lower.
You can even hire an outside company to protest. More information about those on my Protest Cheat Sheet.
To view the details of the process from collin county click here to see their Press Release.
Filing a protest
Texans have a legal right to equal and uniform taxes. But the system is set up so the property owner must appeal to protest an assessed value.
An online protest is the first step. If you have a eFile number in the top right hand side of your notice then you can file electronically! See cheat sheet below steps.
Deadline will be on notice and is 30 days after they mail it. Typically you'll receive on April 15th so deadline will be May 15th.
Appraisal notices are mailed by late April. Not everyone receives one (only those facing an increase are required to get them), so look yours up online or call the appraisal district. Even if there’s no increase, you can still protest.
Learn more at www.window.state. tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/
The Data Collection Phase for appraisers are: July 21 - February 15
Pictures are worth a thousand words – Take pictures of any disrepair on your property and of any “negative influences” surrounding your property. Qualified negative influences could be busy streets, water tower looming over your house, sewer plant nearby, commercial property bordering your residential, etc. Your noisy neighbor’s junked out car and overgrown grass probably will not qualify!
Google Earth is a wonderful thing. I would recommend printing a satellite view of your property and the surrounding area. Probably 85% of the time you can find something negative to talk about on the image! It could be anything. Get creative and add support to the rest of your presentation.
3 ways to get a list of your properties sold comparables:
- Look up tax values by the appropriate county link below.
- Contact Alicia for a list to be emailed to you. Please Include in the Notes section your address, square feet, pool and subdivision name. AND/OR
- Enroll Free for my Your Neighborhood Market Alerts (below) to get monthly or quarterly reports of your areas activity including sold information. Make sure you go back the days to Jan 1 of the previous year (so 450ish days).
How To Setup Your Neighborhood Page
This site will generate instant comparables and show you how much money you can send although the free lookup on their site shows homes that sold many years ago so you wouldn't be able to use those to protest. The amount it showed me for my home though was around about the price reduction I asked for.
April 2018 Dallas Morning News posted this article explaining a new website that will show the chances you have of winning a protest. Not sure if accurate but see screenshot below mine said weak. It's free unless you want the comparable report but you can already get that free from the above Your Neighborhood page on my site.
County by County
Dallas County: DallasCAD.org
Notices are mailed April 30. The property tax notices use a new style this year, spokeswoman Cheryl Jordan says. Previously, Dallas’ forms were difficult to understand. The district declined to show The Watchdog the new form.
Collin County: CollinCAD.org
Notices are mailed April 29. The county’s entire taxable value is expected to jump 10 percent, Chief Appraiser Bo Daffin says.
Denton County: DentonCAD.com
Notices are mailed April 29. For the third year, the county will offer a satellite site in Lewisville to handle overflow of protest hearings in June, chief appraiser Rudy Durham says.
Tarrant County: TAD.org
Difficulties continue for chief appraiser Jeff Law, whose department has struggled with computer and software changes that have snarled the appraisal district’s operations in recent years. This year, some complain that the district put the wrong protest deadline date on some tax notices. Law is the only chief appraiser who declined to talk to The Watchdog.
Rockwall County: RockwallCAD.com
Notices were mailed April 22. “We’re excited the market is increasing even though that does mean an increase in values,” chief appraiser Patricia Davis says.
by Dave Lieber, The Dallas Morning News
Formal Protest Flowchart
Property owner submits a timely filed protest with Collin Appraisal Review Board (ARB)
Protest must be postmarked or hand-delivered by May 15th, of the current year or by the protest deadline on the Notice of Appraised Value. (If May 15th falls on a weekend or legal state or national holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.)
Appraisal Review Board will schedule a formal hearing
Property owner will be notified 15 days in advance
Appraisal Review Board will mail a Notice of Hearing to the property owner
Property owner will begin collecting evidence for a hearing before the Collin Appraisal Review Board
Prior to attending hearing:
- Property owner should finalize evidence
- Property owner makes 1 copy of evidence for ARB
- If you are not the property owner according to the district's record, you will be required to provide:
- Proof of ownership, power of attorney, probated will, etc,
- If the owner hires a person who will be compensated to represent them, the Comptroller's Appointment of Agent for Property Taxes (Form 50-162) must be used.
If the owner has their spouse, family member or friend representing them at the hearing, please use the Appointment of Non-Agent Representation Form.
Day of hearing:
- Bring evidence to hearing
- Arrive on time (first come first serve)
- Check in at Appraisal Review Board desk
In hearing panel:
- Panel chairman will ask owner/district to state name
- Both parties swear the evidence presenting is true and correct
- Owner/district will have 5 minutes to present evidence
- Owner/district will have a few minutes for rebuttal
- Panel chairman will close hearing. The three-member ARB panel will discuss the evidence presented and render a decision.
- In approximately 10 days, the ARB will send a final order by certified mail to the property owner.
- Property owner may seek further remedies, if dissatisfied with the ARB decision. See additional information included in the final order.
© 2016 Collin Appraisal Review Board. All Rights Reserved.
Alicia Duffy 214-682-5009
In the news......
Most of the increase in Texas homeowners' tax bills in recent years has come from higher property valuations, not an increase in the tax rate.
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