For most people in Texas, protesting your property taxes is something you do only when the appraised value increases unexpectedly. It’s certainly rare for a property tax protest to be relevant when the appraisal of your property drops. A drop in the appraisal value occurs when the county appraisal district (CAD) appraises your property at a lower value than the previous year.
Naturally, property taxes are often directly attributable to the value established by appraisals, so it makes sense to want a lower appraisal. But, does it make sense to want to protest even when you get a lower appraisal? In some cases, it does.
1. Values are Imbalanced
There are some instances in which the appraisal of a property might not be low enough. Even if it is lower than the value of the previous year, there are situations where it should still be lower. For instance, if home prices in your area have drastically reduced, then the value of your home should also follow suit.
Comparable homes should be assessed with the same criteria. This means that if there is a 500 square-foot house across the street from your own 500 square-foot house, then both of those houses should have the same appraised value, unless one of them has major problems.
2. Exemptions Were Declined
There is also a situation where you can receive a lower appraised value but lose your exemptions. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, exemptions are reserved for people in extenuating circumstances and could be worth up to $10,000 or more. If you feel like you meet all the guidelines for an exemption and the CAD does not approve you, then you can protest your appraisal with the appraisal review board (ARB).
Of course, you have to apply for the exemptions beforehand (between January 1 and April 30) if you want to earn them at all.
3. Extensive Damage to the Property
Although no one wants to incur property damage, a severely debilitated house may require a much lower appraisal. For instance, if there is a crack in the concrete foundation or if the septic tank broke, then the appraised value should be lowered accordingly.
Sometimes the CAD in your county will not accurately account for these changes in property value. They may lower the value somewhat, but, in many cases, the value could be lower. This also applies to properties where certain structures have been demolished or have fallen into disrepair.
All of these examples are important to keep in mind when you get your appraisal notice. Sometimes a decrease in the assessed value isn’t always the best case scenario. If you feel as if the value of your property isn’t being decreased appropriately, then it’s important to contact your CAD.
In some cases, they may resolve the issue informally without the need for a protest filing. If the CAD is intractable, then you may need to file a notice of protest with the ARB. Make sure to file within 30 days of receiving your appraisal notice so that you don’t go past the deadline.
If you’re still wondering whether you should protest your property tax notice, contact O’Connor today! One of our property tax experts will answer any question you may have.