Eric joins John Schutze on the Austin Mortgage Report - Talk Radio 1370AM to talk about how you can protest your property taxes.
Eric and John talk about the recent rise in property taxes and why they are going up at such an alarming rate. Eric has a good story of how he got his property tax value reduced by $30,000!
Protesting your property tax assessment in Travis county , Williamson county and Hays county in Texas can be a frustrating experience. Understanding the process will give you a better chance to be successful.
1. Protest Online If That Is An Option For You
If you have a watermark on the notice you received that an online protest is available I suggest you take advantage of that option. About a day after you file online the appraisal district will send you back a list of properties they used to establish the value of your property. They may also send you back an offer to reduce your value. You can choose to accept that offer or continue on to an informal hearing.
2. What Can You Protest?
Whether you protest online or by mailing back the protest form the procedures are essentially the same.
There are many reasons why you can protest but for the typical home you will want to protest based on recent sales and on an equity basis. The equity protest means that your property is being valued higher than a similar property and that isn’t fair. It’s easier to protest based on recent sales but if you don’t check off both boxes you can’t make that argument later.
What you are protesting is the market value of your home and not the tax rate or the amount of taxes you will pay. Your property taxes will be determined later in the year when the final tax rates are set, usually around September.
3. What Is An Evidence Packet?
If you want to protest your home in person you can either show up at the appraisal district or mail back the form they sent you. If you mail back the form the appraisal district will send you back a date for an informal hearing. If you are mailing in your protest you need to include a note asking for the evidence packet to be sent to you.
This is the step most property owners don’t know about. Many people when they receive their notice will run off to protest without knowing what information the appraisal district is using. The evidence packet contains the information, including the properties the appraisal district used to establish the value of your property. The appraisal district is required to give you that information if you ask. If you file online you should receive that information automatically.
By requesting the evidence packet you should never be surprised when you go for an informal hearing with what properties the appraisal district is using.
4. Build Your Case From Both Sides
The district will send you the evidence packet along with a date for an informal hearing. When you receive the evidence packet you will want to review the properties they used as comparisons to your property. Build your case from both sides; discredit the properties they used and try to find properties they left out that will support the value you feel is appropriate.
5. The Informal Hearing
At the informal hearing you will sit down with an appraiser and present your case. Stick to the facts and don’t get emotional. They have spent months getting yelled at by other property owners so you will likely find the appraisers are more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if you treat them with respect and calmly make your case.
Bring pictures of both your home and the properties the appraiser used (we can help you with this), Google maps and any other evidence that will support your case.
If you recently purchased your home you will want to bring a copy of your settlement statement with you to your hearing.
6. The Appraisal Review Board
If you aren’t successful at your informal hearing you have the option of proceeding to the Appraisal Review Board. The ARB consists of 3 citizens who settle disputes between the appraisal district and property owners.
Per the tax code the appraisal district must prove their case with a “preponderance of evidence” but don’t be surprised if the ARB shows favoritism towards the appraisal district.
7. Companies Who Can Protest For You
If you have an unusual property or if you don’t have the time to protest yourself there are several companies who will protest for you. Typically they charge a contingency fee of between 30%-50% of your savings. If you would like the name of a company we recommend please send us a message.
8. Don’t Miss The Deadline
The deadline to file your protest depends on your county.
Williamson County – May 31
Travis County – May 31.
Hays County – 30 days from when notices are sent out. As of this posting notices have not been sent out yet.
Your protest paperwork needs to be postmarked by this date to be on time.
9. Where are the Williamson, Travis and Hays County appraisal districts located?
625 FM 1460 Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
8314 Cross Park Drive Austin, TX 78754
21001 I35 Kyle, TX 78640
10. How We Can Help
Although we can’t protest your property taxes for you we can help you understand the process better and provide you with the information that will give you a better chance to make your case. Please call Eric Peterson at 512-791-7473 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about protesting your property taxes.Posted by Eric Peterson on