Informational Tax Protest Meeting
Thursday, May 30 • 7pm
WB Community Center • 2106 Klattenhoff
Tax Rate? Appraisal Amount?
What am I Supposed to Protest?
by Pam Wachholz – GRI Realtor® Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Home City
Hi neighbors! We’ve all been affected by rising property values, whether we are homeowners or renters. As property owners, we do have the ability to try and reign in the year-over-year increases in appraised value and total property tax bill, and I hope this article helps you navigate, or at least gain a better understanding of the property tax appraisal process!
First, a few clarifications:
The CAD (Central Appraisal District for the county in which your property is located) establishes their opinion of the value of your property.
The Tax Rate is established by the various entities (school district, city/county/MUD, hospital district, ACC…and whatever other jurisdictions your property lies in.)
The Tax Bill is calculated by multiplying the total tax rate by every $100 of valuation. (Divide your appraised value by 100 and multiply that by the Tax Rate.)
You are only protesting the appraised value to the CAD, the CAD has nothing to do with the tax rate!
There are four stages to the property tax appraisal “Season”.
Appraisal or Value Stage – January through mid-May
Values are set and notices mailed to property owners.
Equalization or Protest Stage—through July 20
The deadline to protest your value was May 15, many people filed their protests as soon as they received their notice (not good). Hearings have already started!
Assessment or Rate Setting Stage—July through October
Final values are set based on evidence presented by property owners.
Collection Stage—October through January 31
Time to pay the piper! Pay your taxes prior to December 31 in order to deduct allowable portion from income taxes for the current year – but, they aren’t considered late until after January 31.
During Stage 1, the CAD is looking for all it can use to come up with your property’s valuation – they watch for deed transfers, look for permits that indicate improvements, use the info from prior protests, they inspect your property (exterior only) and yes, they use Google Earth and other online resources. According to the TX Property Code, the value established by the appraiser is correct – the property owner has to prove it’s wrong!
Every property owner should have received their Notice of Assessed Value in April. May 15 was the official deadline to protest. In the future, be sure to mail or hand-deliver your Notice of Protest on the 15th! If you didn’t do this prior to May 15th, go ahead and do it now – it may be accepted, but there is also a very good chance that any concessions you may earn will be reduced because the protest request was filed late. Go to the WBNA Facebook page and watch the video for specifics on completing the protest form.
Since we are past the official protest filing deadline of May 15th, let’s jump ahead to Stage 2 and assume you filed a protest and requested the evidence packet & field card. You will be receiving your notice of hearing, so be sure you check your mail regularly! When you receive that, you want to make an Open Records Request about 17 days prior to your hearing date. Here is some suggested verbiage:
Please forward me the results of all informal meetings, E-file decisions and formal hearings in my tax neighborhood of Wells Branch, #W6000*. Please forward this information prior to my informal hearing on <DATE>.
With the results of the open records request, the Evidence Packet and Field Card in hand, you will be able to begin building your case for a lower appraised value. Take a look at your property with a critical eye, are there faults in the property that the CAD doesn’t know about (ie: major cracks in slab or walls, increase in crime or noise…); check the measurements on the appraisal that was done when you purchased the property in case the measured square footage is less than what the CAD shows (the CAD does NOT typically measure your house; is your house still sporting original everything while your neighbors have gone in and updated everything? Is your cost per SF higher than identically built homes on your street? That’s where the inequality argument comes in. But, be careful if you have an improvement the tax district doesn’t know about!
Remember, the burden of proof is on you! Go into your informal hearing with your evidence, organized so that you can clearly state your case. Use the evidence that the CAD sent you, including the results from recent hearings. If you cannot make your informal hearing, reschedule it!
Join us at the WB Community Center, 2106 Klattenhoff on Thursday, May 30, at 7pm, as we will go more in depth on the appraisal protest process, including the formal hearing and the 18 Steps to a Successful Protest Hearing.
Credit for much of this information goes to Gordon Gorychka, GRI/CRB/ABR/MBA and the Austin Board of Realtorsâ Property Tax Appraisal Education Task Force.
Unable to make the meeting? View Pam’s Tips & Tricks for a Successful Protest (parts 1 & 2) below:
Protesting your property appraisal – part 2
Posted by Pamela King Wachholz on Tuesday, May 21, 2019