A successful Texas property tax protest results in a lower property tax bill. The county you live in has its own protest process, but there are consistent strategies that apply to every home. You may be more likely to win your protest and pay less in property taxes by following these tips!
Each Texas county has an appraisal district tasked with determining all taxable property values. The appraisal district is supposed to assess your home at its current market value as of January 1 of each year. Market value is the price a buyer and seller would agree upon if both had knowledge of the property and no pressure to buy or sell.
Unfortunately, the appraisal district often assesses your home above market value. According to Texas law, every property owner has the right to protest their home's tax-assessed value.
Your property tax bill is determined by taking a local taxing unit’s tax rate and multiplying it by your property’s appraised value. Through a property tax protest, you can reduce the appraised value of your home and lower your property taxes.
If you believe your local appraisal district has over-valued your home, you can challenge that valuation through a property tax protest. You have the right to a hearing in front of the local Appraisal Review Board (ARB). During an ARB hearing, you want to present evidence that your tax-assessment value is greater than the market value of your home.
Before your ARB hearing, you can use the following strategies to collect evidence that shows the appraisal district over-valued your property.
Despite its misleading name, your local appraisal district does not conduct detailed appraisals of each home in the county. Instead, they use algorithms and other mass-assessment techniques to determine the value of your house.
Getting an independent, professional appraisal of your home can be persuasive evidence of its current market value. Your local ARB must give a licensed real estate appraiser's evaluation deference.
The algorithms used by your appraisal district to estimate your home's market value use public records. So, it only makes sense to check to make sure the public records on your home are correct.
Details about your property, including lot size, square footage, number of beds and baths, and the age of the home, are contained in the public record. If the appraisal district is mistakenly basing their evaluation on an extra 1,000 square feet, you have strong evidence for a lower tax-assessment value.
Texas law requires all taxation to be uniform. So, if your neighbor’s home has the same market value as yours, it should also pay the same amount in property taxes. Check your county’s publicly available property records for homes with similar characteristics to yours.
If you find comparable homes that sold for less than your home's assessed value, that is evidence that supports a reduction. Additionally, you can look for similar homes receiving lower appraisal values from your county. You can then argue for a lower assessment value based on Inequality of Appraisal at your ARB hearing. A property of similar size, age, layout, and condition paying less in taxes is not allowed because of Texas' requirement of uniformity.
The Texas property tax protest system can significantly reduce your yearly tax bills. But presenting evidence at a hearing and convincing your local ARB that your home's value is lower than the appraisal district's assessment is easier for experienced professionals.
Luckily, Texas allows you to have a designated agent represent you during your ARB hearing. At Watchtower Protest, our team has helped homeowners across the state win their property tax protests. The best part is that if you do not win a reduction in your property tax bills, you do not pay a cent.
Watchtower’s services are risk-free for homeowners. Sign-up today through our convenient online portal, and let us start helping you gather evidence that your home was improperly valued.
This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about filing a Texas Do It Yourself (DIY) property tax protest.