Steps to Protesting Your Property Value
Step 1. File a Protest
You can either use the form provided by the appraisal district, or the form available on this site (see Useful Forms Forms in the left column). Otherwise send a short letter to the chief appraiser at the central appraisal district stating that you are protesting your property taxes. You should indicate the basis such as assessed value over market value or uniform and equal assessment comparables. The deadline to file a protest is May 31, or 30 days after notice of your assessed value is mailed to you.
Step 2. Research the Central Appraisal District's Record Card
The district in your county has a record card for each property it assesses. This card contains information such as lot size, building size, amenities, and much more. You will need to go to the district office to obtain the card and there may be a nominal charge. Ask the staff if you have questions about the information. Errors in the record card are a sound basis for a protest.
Step 3. Establish Property Value
Appraisal districts typically recognize one of three different approaches to determine value when granting reductions in assessments. Those approaches are Sales Comparison Approach, Income Approach, and Cost Approach. In addition, recent court rulings have paved the way to encourage more districts to also recognize the Uniform and Equal Approach to valuing the property as provided in the Texas Property Tax Code. For a full description of these approaches, click on The Approaches to Establishing Property Value.
Step 4. Journey through the Legal Avenues
- Informal Hearing
After filing a protest you will be notified of a date and time to attend a hearing. This meeting is conducted with a staff appraiser at the appraisal district office. It typically lasts 15 minutes. At its conclusion the appraiser will either indicate he cannot make an adjustment, or he will offer to settle by establishing lower assessment.
- Appraisal Review Board Hearing
This is sometimes called a formal or ARB hearing. Participants include three members of the appraisal review board, a staff appraiser from the appraisal district, a hearing clerk and the property owner or their agent. The property owner or his agent and the district's appraiser will separately present the evidence to support their opinions of the market value of the subject property. Afterward, the board members will consider and announce its conclusion, which is not subject to negotiation. However, their decision can be appealed at district court if a lawsuit is filed against the county appraisal district.
While the results of informal hearings are final for the tax year and cannot be appealed through a lawsuit, the results determined at the appraisal review board hearing can be appealed to district court. Before making a decision to do so, the owner should consider the amounts of any potential tax savings, legal costs and expert witness costs.
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