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Property Tax Appeal – THREE Things You Must Do When Filing

When filing a property tax appeal, there are THREE things that you MUST do every year.
And these THREE things are a MUST when filing your property tax appeal
. I’ve always recommended filing an appeal each and every year.

Why?

Because you don’t know if you should appeal until you’ve seen the appraisal district’s evidence.

BUT you can’t get the evidence unless you file an appeal.

It doesn’t make sense, I know, but it’s the government. If you find that the evidence doesn’t support a reduction, then you can cancel your appeal. In my experience though, the appraisal district’s evidence supports a reduction more often than not.

You lose nothing by filing an appeal by the deadline and then reviewing the evidence to decide if you would like to continue.

Remember these three things:

  1. Appeal annually (because you cannot get the appraisal district’s evidence unless you file an appeal)
  2. On the Form to File, be sure to check the boxes for both market value and unequal appraisal (example shown below)
  3. Request the appraisal district’s evidence package when you file your appeal annually!

You will find a template further down on this page for you to use to request the evidence your appraisal district has on your property. The appraisal district must provide the evidence to you at least 14 days prior to your hearing. This is the law.

AND OFTEN TIMES, THEIR EVIDENCE SUPPORTS A REDUCTION!

House Bill 201 is the term used by property tax consultants to describe provision 41.461 of the Texas Property Tax Code.

This section reads as follows:

“at least 14 days before hearing on an appeal, the chief appraiser shall: … inform the property owner that the owner or the agent of the owner may inspect and may obtain a copy of the data, schedules, formulas, and all other information the chief appraiser plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue.”

The property tax code further provides the chief appraiser the right to charge, but there are limits on the cost per page an appraisal district can charge. Generally, the maximum charge is $1 to $2 for a residence. In some counties, homeowners can print this information from the appraisal district’s website once an appeal has been filed.

If your county does not have an online filing system or a way to access the evidence online, you will need to request the evidence in writing.

YOU MAY USE THE SAMPLE LETTER BELOW TO REQUEST YOUR EVIDENCE PACKAGE FROM YOUR APPRAISAL DISTRICT.

Mr. Chief Appraiser
Harris County Appraisal District
13013 Northwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77040

Re: House Bill 201 request for property at 2345 Main Street (account # 1234567890010)

Dear Sir:

Pursuant to section 41.461 of the Texas Property Tax Code, please provide a copy of the data, schedules, formulas and all other information the chief appraiser plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue.

It is my understanding that information, “not made available to the appealing party at least 14 days before the scheduled or postponed hearing may not be used as evidence in the hearing,” according to 41.67d of the Texas Property Tax Code.

Please notify me when a copy of the above-referenced information is available.

Sincerely,
Able Property Owner

In summary, be sure to appeal
on both market value and unequal appraisal. And include a request for your evidence package when filing your appeal – ANNUALLY!

May 15th is the new deadline to file property tax appeals in Texas. This change went into effect this year (2018).

To find out if you are being over-assessed, go to the FREE Texas Fairness Checker at CutMyTaxes.com. You will quickly find out if you are over-assessed and view the results.

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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