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When Should You Protest Your Property Tax Notice?

No one really wants to pay his/her property taxes, but it’s often a fact of life in many locations. Property taxes have a tendency to be overwhelming for many people, even if they have the means to pay. In Texas, property taxes are determined by county appraisal districts. These districts take in a select number of data and then appraise the value of each property based on those figures. Of course, the county appraisal districts aren’t always fair or accurate, which is why property owners can make protests about their respective tax notices. When, however, is the right time to protest?

Do Your Homework: Collect Adequate Data

Before you protest a hefty tax bill, make sure you collect data of your own. One of the most obvious details you can look at is the property tax valuations and appraisals of previous years. If your property tax bill is incredibly higher than the previous year and you haven’t made any major renovations or changes, then you might think about protesting. Beyond that, it’s important to look at sale prices, assessments, and other details of comparable homes in your area.

Declined Exemption

Forbes Magazine reports that around a quarter of homeowners in America pay too much on their property taxes. Of course, sometimes, that’s an error with the government or the county appraisal district, but it can also be attributed to neglecting exemptions. Not all exemptions are approved, however. In Texas, property tax exemptions can be made for a number of reasons. Exemptions are most commonly asked for when the homeowner is over 65 or is disabled. If you meet all the social security guidelines by January 1, then you should receive an exemption on your property taxes (as much as $12,000).

In some cases, the appraisal district will reject your application for an exemption. If that is the case and you feel that you deserve the exemption, then you have the right to protest your property tax notice.

Meeting the Deadline to Protest Your Property Taxes

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, you must file your protest within a certain amount of time. In most situations, you have to file your protest with the appraisal review board by May 15th. With that being said, you can file a “late protest” if you have a good cause (such as a medical emergency). If you can resolve the case with the county appraisal district within 30 days, then you don’t need to go to the appraisal review board with a protest. In some cases, a higher-than-usual appraisal can be attributed to a clerical error with the county appraisal district. If you contact your district or the chief appraiser, then you may be able to resolve the issue much sooner.

If you have any question regarding the time you should protest your property tax notice, contact O’Connor & Associates today. One of our experts will be able to help you with the whole process.

Blog Author

Patrick O’Connor, MAI, Owner and President
Patrick O’Connor has been active in reducing property taxes, providing expert witness testimony and appraising commercial real estate property since 1983. Pat is active in publishing analyses and data with respect to the real estate market, while being a highly regarded media spokesperson for the real estate community. He holds a MAI, the highest achievable designation from the Appraisal Institute, and is a licensed senior property tax consultant. Pat earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. In 2001, he authored the first definitive consumer guide to Texas property taxes, Cut Your Texas Property Taxes.

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