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Settling with the County Appraisal District: online system or formal protest?

In Texas, there are a lot of different ways to resolve disputes with your local county appraisal district (CAD). If you feel as if your property has been valued too highly, then you will obviously have something to say to your local CAD. These appraisals are the basis for your property taxes, which you will have to pay at the end of the tax year. A higher assessed property value will correlate to more expensive property taxes. Again, there are numerous ways to get your property valued to adequate levels.

Formal Protest

A surefire way to get a quality review of your situation is to opt for a formal protest. This involves filing a notice of protest with the appraisal review board (ARB). If the board accepts your protest, then you will be granted a hearing where you can present evidence to defend your case. Formal protests are common, but they take a lot of know-how. That is to say, you cannot expect to win a case without proper evidence and understanding. Even so, formal protests give you the best option for reducing your appraisal value.

iSettle

Although this might sound like an application for your smartphone, it is, in fact, an online system for dealing with protests and disputes with the CAD. iSettle essentially allow you to settle your disputes from the comfort of your own home. This may be the easiest way to reach a settlement with the CAD, but it’s not always the best. It works by letting homeowners provide their own assessment of the value of their property. The CAD will then theoretically make an offer. If the homeowner accepts, then the protest is resolved.

In most cases, however, the CAD will not provide a settlement at all. This is obviously the opposite of what you would want. These online systems are supposed to be easier for you and the CAD, but it typically makes things more difficult. In the event that a settlement is reached with the CAD, the valuations tend to be small. It might look like the CAD is making concessions, but they may still be playing you. Even if you accept the settlement, you can still opt for a formal protest later on.

In-Person

You can also settle with the CAD at their offices. Although this forces you to leave the house, it does give you the added benefit of a face-to-face interaction. If you can reach an appropriate settlement, then you do not need to go through the formal protest process. Again, most CADs will be unwilling to budge on their initial appraisal. They may also offer you valuations that don’t meet your expectations.

In the end, settling with the CAD informally might be quicker, but it certainly won’t be as lucrative. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts asserts that the appraisal review boards are independent and capable of providing unbiased rulings on property appraisal disputes. If you just negotiate with the CAD, then you are working only under their terms. This can lead them to provide biased settlements that don’t give you what you deserve. It is in your best interest to avoid settling with the CAD informally.

If you need to protest your appraisal notice, contact O’Connor & Associates today to find out what options you have to do so.

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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