Protesting Your Property Tax Appraisal
Home values in Austin vary widely and change yearly. If you are one of those in shock after receiving your property appraisal notice this year, you are not alone. Whether you hire a professional to handle the protest or you go it alone, the process is the same. Here is a step by step guide to protesting your property tax appraisal.
Your home value is based on its condition as of January 1. So, anything that has taken place – damage, an addition, or improvements made the previous year will be taken into consideration. Anything that changes the condition of your home after January 1 will affect next year’s appraisal. When you receive your notice, make sure to look t over carefully. It will have the current value of your home for tax purposes. If the property description is incorrect or you believe the value the appraisal district placed on your property is too high, you have the right to protest it.
FILING THE PROTEST
The deadline to protest this year’s appraisal is May 31, 2017. You have a couple options: 1. You can use the form on the back of the “Notice of Appraised Value”. It has all your information already listed on the form; 2. In select counties, you can go file your protest online on your county website:
Be sure to pay attention to the reason for the protest, as this will determine your appeal options as well as the type of evidence you may present at the hearing.
MEETING THE APPRAISER
The second step after you’ve filed your protest is meeting with the appraisal review board (ARB), an independent and impartial group of residents, appointed by either the local administrative district judge or the appraisal district’s board of directors, that are authorized to resolve protests. The appraisal district where you filed your protest will send you a letter that will list a date with an informal meeting with an appraisal staffer and a formal hearing date with the ARB. The informal meeting is where the numbers and documentation will be reviewed and concerns addressed. The staffer will try to help resolve your objections. Be sure to bring the comparable homes information, and any other information that may help your cause. Once reviewed, you may get an offer to reduce your home’s value by a certain amount. You can either accept that value or continue to the formal hearing by the ARB.
FORMAL PROTEST HEARING
If you aren’t satisfied with the outcome at the informal meeting, you will then have a formal hearing with a three-member panel of ARB members. Prior to the hearing, you will be mailed/given access to a copy of the ARB procedures, a letter stating you have the right to inspect and obtain copies of the data, schedules, formulas, and information that will be presented by the chief appraiser at your hearing.
The hearing is quick and usually only lasts 15-30 minutes, so it’s important to be on time and prepared for your hearing. You will be placed under oath and given the opportunity to present evidence to support your case. Be sure to stick to the facts and present the information in an organized manner. The panel will review the documentation and recommend a value which is reviewed by the full ARB. Your final assessed value will arrive by certified mail.
If still unsatisfied with the decision, you can then file an appeal with the state district court in the county your filed your protest, binding arbitration, or the State Office of Administrative Hearing. There are time restrictions for challenges depending on where you file your appeal. They can range anywhere from 30-60 days after receipt of the ARB decision.
It is important to note that you are still required to pay the taxes due on the portion of the taxable value not in question by the due date.
If you have additional questions or need help finding comparables that support your case, please contact TCP Real Estate today!