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Less Frequently Asked Questions

I bought my home in a previous tax year and forgot to file a homestead exemption. Is it too late to claim a homestead exemption for the current tax year and obtain a refund?

You can still obtain a homestead exemption for 2006 provided the request is filed by Jan. 31, 2008 (1 year after the delinquency data for the taxes).

The appraisal district has inaccurate information regarding the size of my home. Can I get a refund for prior years?

It depends on the amount of the error. You can certainly correct it for the current year and you can likely correct it for the past four years.

I forgot to file a property tax protest by May 31. However, my property is assessed at twice its actual market value. Is there anything I can do?

Yes. You can file a substantial error correction appeal (2525d) provided it is filed by the tax delinquency date. This is typically Jan. 31 of the following year.

I’m 75 years old. I just sold my prior home and purchased a new home. There was a deep discount for school taxes at the old home, but there is no discount for school taxes at the new home. Is the over 65 homestead exemption portable?

Yes.

Is it worth filing for a homestead exemption?

Yes, it typically reduces your property taxes by about 20 percent.

I appealed my property taxes last year, and my value did not change. However, my value still seems high compared to the value of neighboring properties. Can I protest this year?

You can protest your property taxes each year regardless of whether the tax assessment changes. Each year, you can protest market value and unequal appraisal.

I protested my property taxes including attending the appraisal review board (ARB) hearing. However, I still believe the market value for my property is much less than the assessed value set by the appraisal review board. What are my options?

You can file a judicial appeal or a request for binding arbitration. For most homes, the request for binding arbitration is a more effective and economical option.

Appealing my property taxes seems very complicated. How do I get started?

O’Connor will need to file your property tax appeals prior to May 31 with the appraisal review board. At the same time the property tax protest is filed with the appraisal review board, we send a request to the appraisal district for the information they will present at the hearing. This typically includes information regarding your property, comparable sales the appraisal district plans to present and information on unequal appraisal. Our team then checks the information regarding your property for accuracy. We review the comparable sales data provided by the appraisal district. In many cases, some of the comparable sales will support a value lower than your assessed value. We will document any deferred maintenance at your property.

Why have the appraisal districts become so much more aggressive in increasing property taxes during the last three to five years?

The Texas Comptroller has told many appraisal districts their values are substantially below market value and need to be increased. If the appraisal districts do not increase the values to a level acceptable to the Texas Comptroller, the school districts can lose a part of their school funding to the state due to Robin Hood school funding provisions.

I never received my notice of assessed value in the mail. Therefore, I did not protest. However, my assessed value increased sharply. Are there any options to appeal?

Yes. You can appeal under failure to receive notice, section 41.411 of the Texas Property Tax Code

I did not receive the notice for my property tax hearing. The appraisal district says they mailed it and there is nothing they can do. Do I have any recourse?

Yes. You can appeal under failure to receive notice, section 41.411 of the Texas Property Tax Code.

I bought a house three years ago. However, the appraisal district still only values my property as a vacant lot even though they have given me a homestead exemption. What should I do? Am I legally required to tell them they have not assessed my property?

You are not legally required to tell them they have not assessed your property. However, they can tax you for omitted property for the current year and four prior years. If you do not correct the error, you need to be prepared to pay the current year’s taxes and taxes for prior years.

My parents died last year and gave me their house. The property taxes are very low because of the over 65 tax exemption and the low school taxes which occurred 20 years ago. The appraisal district has not changed ownership for the property even though a deed was filed at the courthouse. Should I just pay the lower level of taxes?

It is highly likely the appraisal district will discover the error at some point. If they do, they will assess you the taxes for the difference between what you paid and what you should have paid. You are probably better off correcting the error with the appraisal district.

I run a small business. I have business personal property worth several thousand dollars. However, the appraisal district committed a gross error and estimated the value of my personal property at ten times it’s reasonable value. I ignored the issue given the gross error. Now a law firm is suing me for more than $20,000 in taxes, penalties and interest. How can I fix this mistake?

It is probably not possible to remedy the error at this point unless the appraisal district assessed you for property that does not exist. For example, if they assessed you for $90,000 of inventory and you do not have any inventory, you can probably get this part of the valuation stricken using a correction protest. However, property owners are well advised to monitor property tax assessments on an annual basis. It is very difficult to correct errors for prior years.

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