If you own any real estate property, then one of your biggest nemeses has to be property taxes. No one likes paying them, but they are just a fact of life for any property owner. In Texas, this fact of life hits property owners a little harder. That’s because a board serving the county appraisal district (CAD) must ascribe value to all the properties in their jurisdiction. Sometimes, the system fails. The CAD can end up overvaluing certain properties. This has the consequence of increasing the property tax on those properties. But, is this something you have to live with no matter what?
Paying Too Much
For some property owners, it might just be easier to bite the bullet and pay the property taxes, even if they know that the CAD’s valuation is too high. In fact, Forbes Magazine reported in 2011 that over 25% of property owners throughout the country paid too much on their property taxes. The problem, in this case, may be ignorance. In Texas, it may seem like the CAD has the power to value properties as they see fit without any oversight. Of course, that’s not true in the least bit.
The Appraisal Review Board
Every county has their own appraisal review board (ARB) which is supposed to provide oversight and equalization in regard to the CAD. The ARB gives you an outlet to challenge the appraised value of your property. You can do this by filing a notice of protest with the local ARB. Make sure that you file within the protest deadline. Otherwise, the ARB won’t schedule a hearing for you unless you have good cause. In any event, the ARB can provide you with a much needed way to protest an erroneous appraisal.
Property Taxes Are Valuable
Even if you know about the ARB and the protesting process, you may still be unconvinced that you should protest at all. You may think that, perhaps, other people are being charged similar amounts with similar properties. The taxes from these properties also go to services that help your cities, counties, and school boards. You can certainly convince yourself that an excessive valuation is okay using these criteria. Of course, in most cases, if your appraisal is much higher than previous years, then it’s likely that you might be the only one. A good way to investigate this is by looking at sale prices of properties in your neighborhood that are comparable to your own. If they aren’t anywhere near your appraisal value, then you may want to protest.
In the end, there are really no reasons that you should be charged higher amounts for your property than anyone else. The CAD should not be able to convince you that an unfair appraisal constitutes your “fair share.” Luckily, there are channels available that allow you to combat high property valuations.
Don’t let the system take advantage of you. If you feel like the assessed value of your property is far too high, then you should seriously consider a formal protest with the ARB.
Contact O’Connor & Associates today if you have any questions regarding the protest of your property tax bill!