Because you don’t know if you should protest until you’ve seen the appraisal district’s evidence.
BUT you can’t get the evidence unless you file a protest.
It doesn’t make sense, I know, but it’s the government. If you find that the evidence doesn’t support a reduction, then you can cancel your appeal. In my experience though, the appraisal district’s evidence supports a reduction more often than not. You lose nothing by filing a protest by the deadline and then reviewing the evidence to decide if you would like to continue.
Remember these three things:
- Protest annually (because you cannot get the appraisal district’s evidence unless you file a protest)
- On the Form to File a Protest, be sure to check the boxes for both market value and unequal appraisal (example shown below)
- Request the appraisal district’s evidence package when you file your protest annually!
You will find a template further down on this page for you to use to request the evidence your appraisal district has on your property. The appraisal district must provide the evidence to you at least 14 days prior to your hearing. This is the law.
And often times, their evidence supports a reduction!
House Bill 201 is the term used by property tax consultants to describe provision 41.461 of the Texas Property Tax Code.
This section reads as follows:
“at least 14 days before hearing on a protest, the chief appraiser shall: … inform the property owner that the owner or the agent of the owner may inspect and may obtain a copy of the data, schedules, formulas, and all other information the chief appraiser plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue.”
The property tax code further provides the chief appraiser the right to charge, but there are limits on the cost per page an appraisal district can charge. Generally, the maximum charge is $1 to $2 for a residence. In some counties, homeowners can print this information from the appraisal district’s website once an appeal has been filed.
If your county does not have an online filing system or a way to access the evidence online, you will need to request the evidence in writing.
You may use the sample letter below to request your evidence package from your appraisal district.
Mr. Chief Appraiser
Harris County Appraisal District
13013 Northwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77040
Re: House Bill 201 request for property at 2345 Main Street (account # 1234567890010)
Pursuant to section 41.461 of the Texas Property Tax Code, please provide a copy of the data, schedules, formulas and all other information the chief appraiser plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue.
It is my understanding that information, “not made available to the protesting party at least 14 days before the scheduled or postponed hearing may not be used as evidence in the hearing,” according to 41.67d of the Texas Property Tax Code.
Please notify me when a copy of the above-referenced information is available.
Able Property Owner
In summary, be sure to protest on both market value and unequal appraisal. And include a request for your evidence package when filing your protest – ANNUALLY!