Real estate owners who are seeking reductions on their property taxes may miss the scheduled hearing for one reason or another. Many times, if you know that you will not be able to attend, you can reschedule for a date that is earlier than the one that you were originally given. Technically speaking, the hearing can be rescheduled for a good reason or just if the chief appraiser agrees to the hearing being postponed with or without a good reason…if notified in advance.

What happens if you forgot about it though?

These types of hearings can be rescheduled to a day between five and 15 days from the date of the original hearing. There is, however, an exception to that, and that exception is if the ARB (appraisal review board), chief appraiser and the property owner ALL agreed to a date either more than 15 days or less than five days from the date of the original hearing schedule.

That said, the appraisal districts DO NOT LIKE to reschedule ARB hearings. It is highly recommended that you mark your calendar and don’t forget to get to your hearing as scheduled. The amount of the tax cut that can be achieved can be quite significant, thus such should weigh on your mind, keeping you from forgetting the hearing date.

Keep in mind that the ARB hearing is the formal hearing, and the only time that you’ll have a formal hearing is if there was no agreement reached at the informal hearing.

An Alternative

If you feel as if you may forget about the hearing or something urgent might come up, then you can always give your evidence via a signed and notarized affidavit instead of personally appearing at the hearing. This, however, must be done BEFORE the hearing.

In order to be valid, the affidavit has to include the name of the owner of the property who is initiating the protest, a description of the property in question, as well as the evidence or argument. There is a standard form for this affidavit and each appraisal district will have one, but the property owner is not required to use this form.

How a Missed Property Tax Hearing Can Affect You

In reality, if you happen to forget your hearing, your protest could be legally dismissed. Since the hearing with the appraisal review board is the last stop of the property tax protest train, this dismissal of your protest is final.

How to Prevent This

If you are protesting your Fort Bend County Property Tax, you can be assisted on your quest by the O’Connor & Associates firm. In 2009, they helped over 12,700 property owners in the Fort Bend area alone.

Hiring a professional means that you will always be able to meet the property tax deadlines. Professionals know all of the ins and outs of the system. They know what the appraisal review board looks at and how the board likes the evidence to be presented.

Also, if you hire a professional, this professional can actually attend the hearing so that you do not need to disrupt your schedule to appear. That alone might be worth it.

In addition, professionals will generally not get paid at all unless you win your protest and then they only get a percentage of the amount of taxes that you saved.

What about Federal Taxes?

In terms of Federal Tax Reduction, Houston or really anywhere in Texas, there are things that can be done to save you thousands of dollars on your federal taxes, whether it is for personal taxes or business taxes.

A Cost Segregation Study can be conducted to discern if your federal taxes can be reduced in the area of property that is owned. This type of study will let you know if the taxes can be reduced by calculating the depreciation of the real estate in question. Increasing depreciation (yes, it’s an oxymoron, pay attention) can actually improve some of the tax benefits of multi-family or commercial properties because it can affect the tax deduction as well as defer the federal tax payments.

Is this option for you?

If you were the owner of a multi-family property or a commercial property, then it might be well worth your while to check into it at the very least. This is another option that professional firms offer, too. They know exactly what to look at and can have it completed in a matter of just a few weeks.

Contact O’Connor & Associates today if you have any question regarding your property tax hearing!