Unfortunately, property taxes are an unavoidable part of life. But savvy homeowners know that they can lower their Texas property tax bills by filing a property tax protest.
Read on to learn what you can do to reduce your property taxes!
Before we can discuss property tax protests, you need to understand how the amount you owe is calculated.
First, your home’s value is assessed by your county’s appraisal district. Then, tax rates are set by local taxing units, such as your school district. Your home’s value is then multiplied by the tax rate set by each taxing unit to determine the amount of property taxes you owe.
Although the process is a bit more complicated, that’s the basic gist. And while you can’t do anything to change your local tax rates, you can challenge the assessed value of your home by filing a property tax protest.
Often, the appraisal district will vastly overestimate your house’s value. They will miss issues like an old roof or leaky basement because they are not doing a detailed assessment of your property.
Many homeowners simply pay the property tax bill they receive. Unfortunately, many of them are paying too much because they do not know you can protest your home’s appraisal value and lower your taxes.
You can file a property tax protest as soon as you receive a Notice of Appraised Value. Appraisal districts need to send residential notices as soon as possible after April 1, so watch your mailbox early in that month.
If the appraised value is higher than you anticipated, there are steps you can take to get your taxes reduced. Each district has an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) that is responsible for handling protests from local property owners.
A protest form will be included with your Notice of Appraised Value, as well as details on how to file a formal notice of your protest. The methods for filing a protest will vary between counties.
You may be able to negotiate your home’s appraisal directly with the local appraisal district. These discussions have the potential to get you a lower property tax bill without the need for a formal hearing with the ARB. But you can’t have the conversation until you file a protest.
When you file your protest with the ARB, you will receive a hearing date in front of the board. The ARB is made up of local citizens who are empowered to resolve disputes between the appraisal district and property owners.
You are allowed to have legal representation at your ARB hearing. You or your representative will present evidence that your home’s appraised value is too high. During your hearing, you want to highlight facts that the district likely did not consider when determining your home’s taxable value.
The appraisal district will also have time to present evidence supporting their valuation during the hearing. Once the ARB has heard arguments from both sides, they will set a final appraisal value for your home.
If you are successful, the ARB’s appraisal value will be lower than the value set by the appraisal district. And, of course, this translates to a lower property tax bill.
Many property owners simply don’t have experience presenting arguments at a formal hearing, which can make succeeding in a tax protest challenging. Fortunately, the law allows you to have help.
Let the experienced professionals at Watchtower protest your property taxes for you. You can sign up for our services online, and you won’t pay a penny unless we get you a lower value.
Discover how Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal techniques could wrongly calculate your home's Texas property taxes