Today is the deadline for most Texas property owners to protest their 2014 property taxes. The deadline is the later of May 31, or 30 days after the appraisal district mails the notice of assessed value, if the value increases by at least $1,000. Since May 31 was on a weekend, the deadline moved to the next business day, Monday, June 02, 2014. O’Connor & Associates recommends filing a protest if you have not received the notice of assessed value, since most protests are successful.

Most property tax appeals are successful for several reasons. First, the appraisal district’s records are only in fair condition. There are multiple errors with regard to grade, condition, level of remodel, building size and other factors for many if not most properties. In addition, due to the volume of property tax appeals, most appraisal districts prefer to resolve protests at the informal hearing.

For example, Harris County Appraisal District’s (HCAD) typical error in valuation is 14% for houses. The error rate exceeds 20% for one in six Harris County homes. The error rates are higher for commercial properties.

Property tax savings can be substantial. For example, a 14% reduction for a $200,000 house would generate property tax savings of $756, based on a 2.7% tax rate.

A generally unknown property tax trick is you must file a protest to get the appraisal district’s evidence package, and in most cases their evidence supports a reduction. Hence, unless a property owner files a protest, they do not get the see the information which supports a reduction in their property taxes.

Large commercial property owners generally file “blanket protests”, meaning they protest every property every year. Last year, larger property tax consultants averaged 10 to 12% reductions in tax protests at HCAD. However, only about 20% of home owners protest, causing them to not get the discount obtained by most commercial property owners.

Home owners must file a protest today, or they lose their right to appeal. A tax appeal can be filed by mailing a protest form to the appraisal district (http://www.poconnor.com/pdf_forms/41-44.pdf.) The form can also be obtained at HCAD.org. It is also possible to file an on-line protest if the property owner has the notice of assessed value with the password. Tax payers can also get a protest filed by signing up with a tax consulting company. The protest must be filed today; if mailed, it must be postmarked June 2, 2014 or earlier. The protest can also be filed in person at the appraisal district.

For more information, call Patrick O’Connor at 713 822 8613 or email poconnor@poconnor.com.