If you’re a Texas homeowner, you know how frustrating it can be when the appraisal district increases your property taxes year after year. Fortunately, you have the right to protest your property taxes with the appraisal review board, and doing so can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through protesting your property tax bills in Texas, which uses the same method in its 254 counties.
How Property Taxes are Determined in Texas
Before you can protest your property tax notice, it’s helpful to understand how your taxable value is determined in the first place. In Texas, the amount of property tax you owe is based on the tax assessed value of your home. This is often erroneously called an appraised value (done by a licensed appraiser), but the two (along with market value) are not quite the same as previously discussed.
The county appraisal district is responsible for assessing the values of your property each year, and you will receive a notice in the mail detailing the appraised value and the taxes owed on your property.
Property Tax Protest San Antonio
If you live in San Antonio, the Bexar Appraisal District (or BCAD as it is frequently referred to) is responsible for your tax assessed value. The Bexar county appraisal district uses a “mass appraisal” system to determine your home’s value. They use a computer model to simultaneously assess the value of thousands of homes. Unfortunately, while this system is designed to simplify the appraisal process, it can also lead to errors and inaccuracies.
Preparing Your Case and Gathering Evidence
Once you receive your appraisal notice and believe that your home’s appraised value is too high, you can protest your Bexar County property taxes. The first step is to gather evidence to support your case.
Consider hiring a professional appraiser to assess the value of your home or use online real estate tools to gather information about comparable homes in your area. You can also review the appraisal district’s records to ensure all the information is accurate and up-to-date and look for errors or omissions.
An alternative method is to contact a property tax consultant who will help with property tax protests, often taking a cut of the savings the property owner gains. A local property tax consultant will be well-versed in local taxation and property owner protests and will remind property owners to ensure they meet the protest deadline.
It’s important to note that you’ll need to provide evidence to show that the appraised value of your home is incorrect. This can include pictures, sales records, and other documentation to support your case.
Filing Your Protest with the Bexar Appraisal District
Once you’ve gathered your evidence, you must file your protest. In Texas, you have until May 15th to protest your property taxes yearly. After that, you can file your protest online via your county’s online portal or mail using the forms provided by your property appraisal district.
If you opt for mail, it may be wise to send it by certified mail to have the appropriate documentation that the appraisal district has received your documents before the deadline.
When filing your protest form, make sure you submit the evidence that you’ve gathered, and be clear and concise in your explanations. The more complete your data is, the better chance that you can sway the ARB’s decision.
Going In Front of the Appraisal Review Board
You may also be asked to attend an informal hearing with the appraisal review board (ARB) to present your case to the Bexar Appraisal District. In the hearing, you will be asked to submit evidence of comparable properties that support your argument against the appraisal district’s home values. You can do this by looking at the real estate market in your area and showing similar homes in your neighborhood that sold for lower sales prices than your current taxable value.
Bring your notice of appraised value and a copy of your tax bill from the prior year to show how much the increase is and be able to defend your request to lower your property tax bill.
Be prepared for the Bexar Appraisal District’s review board to counter your home’s valuation and know their properties so that they can defend their position.
Potential Outcomes and Counterarguments for Property Owners
If your appraisal value protest is successful, you may receive a reduced property tax bill, or your taxes may be frozen at the current level. However, it’s important to note that there’s always a chance that your protest will not be successful. For example, the appraisal district may argue that the appraised value of your home is accurate, or they may offer a smaller reduction than you had hoped for.
Review the appraisal district’s records and address any potential errors or omissions to prepare for these possible counterarguments. You can also highlight any unique features or issues with your home that may affect its value.
Protesting your property taxes in Texas can be a complex and lengthy process, but it’s important to remember that you have the right to appeal the appraised value of your home. By understanding the appraisal appeal process, gathering evidence, and filing your protest on time, you can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in property taxes each year.
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