Your local appraisal district releases property tax appraisals every year. Be on the lookout for this piece of mail in late April-early May. In this statement, your appraisal district is providing you with what they think the current year’s taxable values are for your property. Here are a few tips for understanding this process and for taking action if you want to protest.
Your Property Tax Appraisal
When the appraisal district issues your property tax appraisal, this is the value they think your property is worth as of January 1st of the current year. They determine this value by basing it off of properties that have sold the year before that are similar to yours. They usually do not do a physical inspection.
How the Appraisal District Determines Value
The appraisal district takes into consideration many factors when determining your property’s value. Size, improvements, and age are a few of them. Let’s run through an example.
Let’s say you have a home that is approximately 2500 square feet and built in 2017. A home down the street from you that is 2450 square feet, built in 2016, sold last December for $425,000. The appraisal district will consider that sold property a good comparable to your home and take it into consideration when determining the value of your home as of January 1st. If the home down the street also has a pool, and your home doesn’t, the county does take this into consideration and usually adjusts the values accordingly.
Want to Protest Their Suggested Value?
If you disagree with the district’s suggested value, you may file a protest. The filing deadline is usually mid-May, around May 15th/17th. You may file either online or via mail. To file online, visit your county’s appraisal district site or click on your county below:
Travis County Bastrop County Williamson County Burnet County Hays County Bell County
Support Your Value
Support your protest with comparable homes in the area that you want them to consider. If your home is damaged, provide them with photos, repair estimates, and any other records that indicate your home’s value has decreased. Perhaps you refinanced and have a recent appraisal that is lower than the district’s value. Provide them with a copy of the appraisal to help support your protest. If you just bought your home, provide them with a copy of your settlement statement from closing, showing the price you paid.
What Happens after Submitting Your Protest
After submitting your protest, the appraisal district will review it and either accept your number or provide a counter-offer. If they counter your number, you may either accept their new proposal or decline. If you decline, then the appraisal district will set a date to meet in person with you. Keep in mind that sometimes they don’t counter your offer and just flat out reject.
If there is a Meeting for Your Property Tax Appraisal
The meeting with the Appraisal Staffer and ARB (Appraisal Review Board) can go very quick, so be ready. The ARB is a group of independent residents appointed to hear and handle protests. While they do have the power to make the Appraisal District change their valuation number, remember that they are humans. Keep this in mind if your emotions start to escalate. Talk with them in a respectful and calm voice. The end goal is to come to an agreement. If you can’t agree, the ARB might schedule a physical inspection of your property or make an appointment for you to be heard by the entire board. If no agreement is still made after all options are exhausted, you may file a lawsuit against the Appraisal District.
At Baker Realty, we understand how high property taxes poorly effect your bank account. We are happy to provide you with comparable home sales to support your case. Don’t rely on third party websites, like Zillow, to find your comparables. Contact us so we may provide you with data from the MLS, the most reliable source for sold properties. Provide us with your address, value the appraisal district proposes, and any other helpful information you think should be considered.