Appraisal District officials mailed out property tax appraisals recently and it is estimated that taxable values went up again.

Homeowners can challenge their appraisals; the deadline for filing a protest for most homeowners is May 15, but technically it is 30 days after receiving a notice in the mail.

Don’t panic! There are few things to remember about the appraisal process…

This is just a Notice!

While the notice includes an estimated property tax amount that you owe, this may not be what you ultimately end up paying. Appraisal Districts are required to include the estimate, based on tax rates established last fall. But some taxing entities have since reduced their tax rates.

Consider protesting online

Before making a decision to protest your home’s value, it’s suggested that by using the PIN number on the notice, homeowners can review comparable home sales in their area to see how Appraisal Districts came up with their value.

Just follow the prompts on the Appraisal Districts webpage to take you to the information. At the end, if homeowners disagree, they can say what they think their home is worth and protest to lower their property tax rates. Last year, many homeowners used the online feature to protest their tax appraisals.

Determine your home’s value

If you plan to file an appeal with the Appraisal Review Board, you can review the data used by the appraisal district to determine your home’s value – be it higher or lower. But it is also wise to gather your own evidence, such as pictures and any documents you have showing what the property may be worth, including your own appraisal.

Real estate appraisers and Tax Consultants say their offices are often peppered with calls soon after the notices are issued. They then search the multiple listing services for comparable sale prices.

But don’t despair, about 50% of the people filing a protest see some kind of relief. It may not be what they were looking for, but any kind of reduction “is a success for the property owner”.

The sooner, the better

Last year, the Appraisal Review Board, an independent agency that mediates disputes between the appraisal district and property owners, handled over 100,000 protests.

While Appraisal Districts are planning for another “heavy protest season,” 2017 is expected to be a better year than the past.”