Many Texas homeowners are overpaying on their property taxes.
The good news is that Texas allows property owners to file a property tax protest to challenge their home’s appraised value. If you’re successful (which many people are), your property tax bill will be reduced.
But when can you file a property tax protest? And how does it work? We’ve answered these questions for you, so all you need to do is keep reading.
Your property taxes are calculated by taking the appraised value of your home and multiplying it by local tax rates. While you can’t do much about the tax rates for local schools and other services, Texas law gives you the right to protest the appraised property value.
Once you receive your annual Notice of Appraised Value, you can file a protest notice with your local appraisal district. Filing a protest entitles you to a hearing in front of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The ARB is made up of local citizens who resolve disputes between property owners and the appraisal district.
At an ARB hearing, you or your legal representative can present evidence that your home’s appraised value is too high. After hearing arguments from both sides, the ARB can issue a lower final appraised value. And this translates to a reduced property tax bill.
You might be wondering why you should file a property tax protest. The truth is that property tax appraisal values are often over-inflated, and there is almost always an argument that the amount should be reduced.
Because your local appraisal district needs to estimate the value of every property in your area, they cannot take the individual characteristics of your home into account. Instead, they attempt to determine your property’s market value based on plot size, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
This type of mass appraisal will inevitably miss some of the characteristics of your home that may reduce its taxable value, such as a leaky roof or foundation issues.
Every appraisal district keeps property records for all the real estate in the local area. These records are publicly available, typically through the appraisal district’s website.
Errors in these records are more common than you might think. Some of the mistakes we often see include:
Any of these mistakes can affect your house’s appraised value. For example, if the district mistakenly believes your home has four bedrooms instead of three, that can inflate the estimated market value.
Your local appraisal district is required to value properties consistently and fairly. If you find that your home’s estimated value is higher than similar properties, this is evidence that your appraised value is too high. And if you file a property tax protest, you will have a strong claim that your home’s taxable value should be reduced.
Once you receive your Notice of Appraised Value from your local district, the clock starts ticking.
Generally, you must file a notice of protest with the ARB by May 15. But if your Notice of Appraised Value arrived later than April 15, you have 30 days after receipt to file your protest.
No matter what, you need to move quickly to file a protest!
Convincing the ARB that you should pay less can be challenging, especially if you do not have experience making these types of formal arguments in front of others. Instead of going it alone, why not have the experienced property tax protest team at Watchtower handle it for you?
You can sign up for our risk-free protest services online. Let our experience help you navigate the protest process and help you secure a lower property tax bill!
Learn about the various property tax exemptions for disabled persons and veterans in Texas, plus other ways to lower your tax bills.