and Appraisal Information
Good Information for Protesting Property Taxes
Must read Information from the Texas State
Comptroller on how to begin the process of
Here are Texas property tax forms related to filing a protest.
Good Information From Pat O’Conner for Protesting Property Taxeshttp://www.poconnor.com/prop_tax_how_to_protest_homeowners.asp
Important Lessons I Have Learned
1. 1. Protesting your property value, especially if you own more than one property is something which should be done every year, whether it moves up or down. While you will never save a fortune in any given year, with a successful protest, you will usually end up saving thousands of dollars in property taxes, over time. I have learned this cardinal rule the hard way.
2. 2. When you fill out your protest form be sure and check both boxes, "Market Value" and “Unequal Appraisal”. You must have evidence (recent sales data, pictures, aerial photos, recent appraisals) If your strategy for winning your protest is to give the appraiser a sob story about how your ever increasing taxes are a huge burden, your story will fall upon deaf ears. The appraisal district has absolutely no control over your taxes; they simply determine property values.
3. 3. If you are selling soon, keep in mind, that a lowered accessed value can have an effect on potential buyers’ perceptions of the market value of your home although they are not the same thing. Most Realtors know better, and advice to their clients of the difference between tax assessed value and market value.
4. 4. In most cases, no appraiser will physically visit your property to assess the value. Texas counties simply do not have the manpower to cover the entire county on a yearly basis. I say again. Do not consider your tax assessed value to be indicative of your true market value.
5. 5. The appraisal district will not retaliate if you protest! It is your right to protest by law, and again, they simply do not have the manpower to pick on everyone who protests each year.
6. 6. Along with your "Notice of Protest", submit a request in writing for all the evidence the appraisal district used to value your home and intends to present at an Appraisal Review Board [ARB] hearing. It is also referred to as the House Bill 201 [HB 201] packet. Review this information to ascertain how the appraisal district determined the value of your home. You may find that this uncovers shortcomings in the appraisal district's case. (It is very important to get this HB 201 and study it for any short comings before going before the appraisal board because this is the evidence they will have to argue against you. If you can pick this apart, with your own evidence, you stand a good chance of winning a reduction in the accessed value.) Click Here to see a sample request letter for obtaining information that the appraiser will use as his or her evidence at your hearing.
7. 7. Do not use comparable market data taken from Real Estate sites like Trulia or Zillow because they are notoriously inaccurate. Get recent comparable property sales from me. Take as many pictures as possible of defects in the property as well as unfavorable circumstances affecting the location of the property such as a sewer plant nearby or the property line backing up to a busy street. Aerial photos can be a good source of evidence for this which you can print from Google Maps.
8. 8. I use and strongly recommend that my clients use a property tax protesting service. You can find many of these service companies online that work on a contingency basis. This means, if they don’t reduce your taxes, you owe them nothing. Another comment I need to make here is that I have found the “I Settle” option, offered by appraisal districts to usually be ineffective.
9. 9. Once again, if you do decide to plead your own case, instead of using a professional, you should maintain a calm demeanor while presenting your evidence to support a reduction in the accessed value. Too often property owners loose their cool. The way to help prevent this from happening is to learn the process and collect your evidence (lots of pictures of your property showing as many faults as you can find compared to as many favorable things about the properties which the appraiser is using). To do this, study the HB 201 packet before hand so, for example, you can quickly point out from the pictures of the properties that your kitchen is not updated, while the appraiser's kitchens are updated. Your property backs up to a busy street while his doesn't and so on. Many people don't prepare. Instead, they gripe or try to bully their way to a reduction in value. This never works. There is definitely a human element involved when negotiating a reduction. Angering the appraiser is no way to win. Stick to the hard evidence, remove all emotion and personal feelings out of your case and you will greatly increase your odds at saving yourself some money.