You’re likely scratching your head when it’s time to pay your property tax.
This is mandatory and should be paid by everyone who owns taxable properties. It doesn’t matter whether you own residential or commercial property. Even when you have fully paid your mortgage, property tax remains a significant expense.
To help assess how much tax you should pay, appraisal districts like the Harris County Appraisal District in Texas appraises your property.
However, HCAD has increased the value of around 20% of houses by 20% and even more.
What are Property Taxes for?
Property taxes are paid to the government to provide services for the country. This is where they get funds for public schools, free health services, public government officials like the police or firemen, and more. Without taxes, it will be hard to provide any free and quality services to citizens.
That’s why it is a mandatory regulation to pay your property taxes every year. But that doesn’t mean you should be paying hundreds of thousands of taxes just because your property has been appraised wrongly.
Basically, property appraisal is an assumed value of a property. This normally happens when a property owner wants to sell his home. A real estate agent can assess your property by checking it properly.
The appraised value can then be the basis of your property’s market value.
However, in the state of Texas, property appraisal done by appraisal districts like HCAD happen every year. This is a huge part of the process in determining how much tax you’re paying for your property.
HCAD sends property appraisal notices to everyone who owns taxable properties. From there, anyone who receives a notice can protest their property’s value.
This 2019, HCAD is under fire for increasing the market value of over 55,000 houses. The average increase is 28%, and some even have steep increases. On the other hand, the Houston Association of Realtors has only increased up to 3%.
With that said, property taxes often reach higher values as well. Protesting is one way to help save some money in the long run.
How to File a Protest
There are three easy ways to protest your property tax.
Firstly, there’s an attached file you can fill up when you receive an appraisal notice. This includes the reason why you’re protesting.
Secondly, you can simply fill up an online form.
Third and the last, you can fight it in person. You can either do it yourself, or you can hire someone to represent you. Make sure you’re prepared and ready when you’re fighting for better chances of winning against them.
If you win, your property will be assessed the right way again – by collecting data from your home. You’re then able to pay a fair tax rate.
To conclude, property taxes and appraisals go hand in hand. But it’s easy for HCAD to make inaccurate calculations especially when they are handling thousands of properties each year. To help them and yourself, make it a habit to check and protest your property taxes each year.
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