Learn more about property tax assessment appeals: where to file, deadlines, what evidence you will need, and whether you should hire someone to help.
The reason for property tax increases is because the value is increasing! That’s something you’ll never be able to take advantage of as a renter.
Owning a home in Texas brings all sorts of benefits, but it also brings responsibilities. Property taxes are an inevitable part of homeownership in Texas and other states around the country. The county where you live assesses the value of your home every year. Your property tax bill will be a percentage of that value.
No one likes property taxes, but they serve an important purpose by funding schools and other services in your city and county. If you don’t agree with the county’s assessed value, you can challenge it through the property tax appeal process, also known as a property tax protest. A successful appeal results in a lower appraised value and lower property taxes. Here’s what you need to know about appealing a property tax appraisal in Texas.
Why do people appeal their property tax assessments?
There are several reasons why someone might decide to appeal their property tax appraisal.
The property is overvalued compared to similar properties in your area.
Tax appraisal values are part of the public record. Many county appraisal districts include search features on their websites where you can find out the value of the homes around you. If your house is appraised higher than similar properties in your area, you might consider filing an appeal.
The tax-appraised value of a house does not have to be the same as its fair market value, which is the price you would expect to get if you sold it. But the assessment should not be higher than its fair market value.
The assessment contains an error.
Your county appraisal district determines values based, in part, on the size of your home and any improvements that it has. Swimming pools, storage sheds, and other structures would count. Suppose you have a two-bedroom house but the tax appraisal says it has three bedrooms. If the appraisal does not describe your property correctly, you can file an appeal to correct those errors.
Property Tax Appeal FAQs
How much does filing a property tax appeal cost?
Nothing! You do not have to pay a filing fee to appeal your property tax assessment.
However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, you may be able to appeal that decision to a court of law or a state agency. This might require a filing fee depending on the rules of your county.
You may have other expenses related to an appeal, such as the cost of hiring your own appraiser. If you hire an attorney or property tax consultant to help with your appeal, you are responsible for their fees. But it does not cost anything to appeal it on your own.
Your appraisal district must send you a tax appraisal notice for your home by April 1, or as soon as possible after that date. You must file an appeal by one of the following dates, whichever is later:
- May 15
- Thirty days after the date you received the appraisal notice
What information is needed to file an appeal?
The appraisal notice should include a form that you can use for your appeal. The Texas State Comptroller provides a form for property tax appeals called Form 50-132. You can also simply send a letter stating your intent to appeal the appraisal. The letter should include, at a minimum:
- Your name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address;
- The address of the property, if different from your mailing address; and
- The reason you are protesting, such as the value is too high or the appraisal contains errors.
Where do I file the appeal?
You file the appeal with your county appraisal district. The appraisal notice should include filing instructions, or you can find the information online.
What happens after I file?
Once the appraisal district has received your notice of appeal, you will receive a date for a hearing before your county’s Appellate Review Board (ARB). This is a panel established to resolve disputes between property owners and the appraisal district.
What happens at the hearing?
Property tax appeal hearings are much less formal than anything you might see in court. That said, you should be prepared to make your argument to the ARB and present your evidence. If you are disputing the value assessed by the appraisal district, you should have information on comparable properties, or other information showing that the appraised value is too high. If you are arguing that the appraisal contains an error, you should bring evidence showing the mistake. This could include photographs, blueprints, or a floorplan of the property. Some counties may allow you to call witnesses.
If the ARB rules against you, you can appeal that decision. This could be in a court of law, or before another administrative agency, depending on the county.
Do I have to have a hearing?
It is possible to resolve the appeal informally, without the need for a hearing. You may have the option to speak with someone at the appraisal district who has the authority to lower your home’s appraised value. If you choose this option, you should bring all of the documents you would present at a hearing before the ARB. Your appraisal district will have more information on how to request a meeting.
What about hiring a company to file for you?
Filing a property tax appeal isn’t too tough for most homeowners. But you can save some time by hiring someone else to do it for you.
Numerous property tax consultants represent homeowners in appeals. Some attorneys may also provide this kind of service. They have the advantage of experience and expertise, not to mention saving your time.
Many tax consultants charge a fee based on the amount they are able to reduce your tax bill. This is known as a “contingency fee” since getting paid is contingent on them winning your appeal. Others charge a flat fee.
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