Texas law enshrines the right for every property owner to protest their annual tax bills. Crucially, the right to a property tax protest is not a one-time offer. Instead, Texas homeowners can – and should – file a protest of their property taxes each and every year.
Your local property taxes are based on your home's value as assessed by your local appraisal district. Each Texas county has its own appraisal district that is tasked with setting the tax assessed value of every property in its jurisdiction.
According to the Texas Tax Code, the appraisal district should appraise every home at its market value on January 1 of the tax year. Because there are simply too many properties to appraise individually, the districts often use statistical modeling to determine your home's assessed value. And if the model's determination is incorrect, you could end up paying too much in property taxes.
Fortunately, you have the right to file a property tax protest with your local appraisal district. During the protest, you can challenge your home’s assessed value by presenting evidence to an independent Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The local ARB has the power to replace appraisal district’s assessed value with a lower number.
Winning a property tax protest can slash your current property tax bills. Every local taxing district uses your home's assessed value, so a successful protest means you'll pay less to your city, county, and local school district.
Filing a protest with your local appraisal district can seem like a significant burden. But the fact is that most recent property tax protests have been successful! According to the Texas Comptroller, between 2016 and 2019, over 80% of survey respondents each year won a lower assessed value. Even in 2020, a tough year for property evaluations due to the pandemic, more than 70% of the respondents’ property tax protests were successful. The protest system works!
Because most property tax protests are successful, you can and should file one yearly. However, there are more reasons than to try and immediately cut your property tax bills. Due to how Texas property tax law is structured, there can be considerable benefits in the future from a successful protest now.
First, Texas appraisal districts cannot raise your home’s assessed value by more than 10% over the prior tax year. Lowering your assessed value now locks in that 10% cap, and each subsequent cut in the value will offer similar savings. So long as you don't build a significant upgrade on your house, you'll know the most your home's assessment can rise.
Second, once you hit 65 years old, your school district taxes can no longer increase. If you are approaching 65 years of age, you should try to lock in a lower assessed value through a protest. The lower your assessed value now, the lower it will be once you are 65 and every year after that. As long as you own your home, a successful protest this year can have huge benefits.
Even if you are in the small minority that is unsuccessful in securing a win in front of your local ARB, there is little downside. The ARB will only deny your argument for a lower tax-assessed value on your home, and your bills for this tax year will not increase through a protest.
However, you may be more likely to succeed by having a qualified representative make a compelling, professional case for why your home’s market value is lower. And the experienced tax protest team at Watchtower Protest offers its services risk-free. You can sign up through our website today and pay nothing out of pocket. We only get paid if we secure lower property tax bills for you!
Property tax in Montgomery County - a property tax consultant can help you manage your tax obligations, exemptions, deductions, and how to challenge your assessment.