Austin has seen some crazy growth this past year and appraisal districts have been increasing values just as quickly. But these increases may not reflect your home. Don’t worry, there is a way to protest your property tax. You can go to your county’s website and protest online, via mail, or in person (if they are allowing it).
Steps For Protesting Property Tax:
1:File protest in your county, before the deadline.
–Williamson County – deadline to file protest is May 15, 2021 or 30 days from when notice is delivered, whichever is later.
–Travis County – deadline to file protest is May 17, 2021 or 30 days from when notice is delivered, whichever is later.
2:Protest both market value and assessed value – you don’t know which one will be your winning argument.
3:Request CAD evidence packet from district along with field card from the appraiser. The field card allows you to see what the appraiser reported on your property and you can compare it with the evidence you collect. You need to know what they are comparing your home to, in order to understand their valuation. They can be wrong and miss things. Also, the condition of your home compared to others may be an unknown. If you have a lot of repairs needed, older roof, older HVAC, windows etc. you may be able to argue on condition compared to others. It takes some effort and research to make a good case, but if you think you have a case, definitely go make it!
After you file your property tax protest you can start the informal process by setting up a virtual appointment with your county’s appraisal district appraiser. During this you can present your evidence on why you think the market value and/or assessed value is wrong. You’ll want to do your research before hand and come with all the facts. You can ask a REALTOR do a CMA for the last 3 months of 2020 on your home. You may be able to find a few comps before the market went nuts. You”ll also want to take good pictures of anything that can negatively impact the value of your home. A good mix of close up and broad views are helpful.
Other forms of evidence that can help your case are: making your own market and equity analysis, engineer’s report citing problems, and expert’s opinion like estimates from contractors for major repairs needed. Gathering all the information and coming with a well thought out explanation of why you think your house value is too high will make all the difference. After your appointment you can expect to receive a settlement offer or rejection within 10 days. If you choose not to accept the settlement offer then you schedule a hearing with the Appraisal Review Board.
Appraisal Review Board (ARB)
ARB property tax reviews begin in June 2021 and typically last 15-20 minutes. You and a representative from the appraisal district will present your evidence in front of a panel of 3 ARB members. They will ask you questions and make their decision. The only thing the ARB members can consider is the valuation of your property. So make sure you have your evidence printed out for each member and ready to show. If you leave out certain data make sure you explain why. If you appeal the ARB decision then you can go to binding arbitration or District Court.
You can also hire a company to protest your property tax for you. Just make sure you read the fine print and understand the fees.
Check your property profile on the tax assessors website to ensure you have filed your homestead exemption if your home is your primary residence. The homestead exemption not only saves you money, but it also protects your assessed value from increasing more than 10% per year. Especially important now! Look into filing homestead tax exemptions to save money on your property taxes.
When not to protest?
It’s always worth a shot, but you also don’t want to draw attention to your house if you are undervalued. Make sure it’s going to be worth it.
If you have any questions on protesting your property tax or looking to buy or sell your home give us a call at 512-966-6540 or drop an email email@example.com. RE/MAX 1 Cedar Park.