Don’t Give Up The Fight Yet to Lower Your Property Taxes
If you’re like most homeowners you probably don’t look forward to receiving your property tax notice in the mail. When the dreaded notice arrives in one’s mailbox it has a way of giving a person that gut punching feeling in the pit of their stomach. Well, it might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s likely that you won’t be jumping for joy at the occasion. You know what they say about death and taxes, right? They are inevitable, but as we know, there are plenty of options available to make the process easier and improve your odds (or at least lessen the burden). Yes, it’s still true you have to pay your property taxes, but there are things you can do to now (especially prior to May 31st) to change the course of your outcome.
Most people have been paying attention to recent news reports about the economy and how the housing industry is experiencing a turnaround. It comes as good news since the market has been in a slump for so long. By all indications and industry expert opinion so far, the upward trend is likely to continue. How does this affect you if you own your home? This means your property value can or will likely go up. If your property value goes up it affects your property tax amount as well, (which means the taxes you must pay on your homestead). On one hand, its great to know the market is improving and that your property is appreciating, but it is not much of a relief coming to realization that your property taxes will be affected and you could start owing more. There are actions you can take though.
What Can You Do About It At This Point?
Most people think there is nothing they can really do about an increase in their property taxes and that it’s just too much trouble to bother with, or they believe it’s too expensive to hire someone to help, so they give in and just pay their tax bill year after year (with a few expletives).
But what most people don’t know is, that (even though you are required to pay your property taxes, (on time and before the delinquency date), you can still do something about it now. What they don’t tell you (because maybe there would be a mad rush down at the counties, who knows?) Is that you can still file a protest with the appraisal district if you do it before May 31st of the same year. Still, many taxpayers don’t take this opportunity. Another option they may not realize is that they can just hire a representative like property tax consultant, to make the whole process a lot easier. If you hire a property tax consultant, usually all of this can be handled online or over the phone. It takes maybe 10 or 15 minutes usually. You fill out AOA (Appointment of Agent) form, sign an agreement allowing the consultant to handle your property protest, fill out an online questionnaire about your property, submit payment and you’re done. You will get notified of the outcome in writing by mail. It worth your time to check it out.
Who Can File A Property Tax Protest?
You can file a Prost as a taxpayer if you meet any of these criteria:
- You are the person who owned the property as of Jan 1;
- If you claim an interest in the property (even if you are not shown as the owner on the appraisal district records);
- If you are a lessee who is contractually obligated to reimburse the property owner for the property taxes, then you are also allowed to protest the appraised value to the Appraisal Review Board
- If you are the previous or current property owner
- You may also appoint (or hire) an agent to file the protest for you on your behalf; by completing a standard Appointment of Agent form. (e.g. if Carlson Property Tax represents you, the form is available on our website with instructions at http://www.carlsonpropertytax.com or you may find additional info on the State of Texas Comptroller’s site
What Are Grounds for Protesting Your Property Taxes?
Property owners have right to protest their property taxes for any of the following reasons:
- Appraisal that exceeds the appraised or market value of the property
- Unequal appraisal of the owner’s property
- Inclusion of the owner’s property on the appraisal records
- Denial to the property owner in whole or in part of a partial exemption
- Determination that the owner’s land does not qualify for appraisal
- Identification of the taxing units in which the property is taxable
- Determination of the property’s ownership
- Determination that the use of land agricultural or timber land has changed
- Any other action of the chief appraiser, appraisal district, or appraisal review board that applies to and adversely affects the property owner.
*Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Publication #96-308
What Are My Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights?
- You have the right to equal and uniform taxation.
- You have the right to ensure that your property is appraised uniformly with similar property in your county.
- You have the right to have your property appraised according to generally accepted appraisal techniques and other requirements of law.
- You have the right to receive exemptions or other tax relief for which you qualify and apply timely.
- You have the right to receive notice of property value increases, exemption changes and estimated tax amounts.
- You have the right to inspect non-confidential information used to appraise your property.
- You have the right to protest your property’s value and other appraisal matters to an appraisal review board composed of an impartial group of citizens in your community.
- You have the right to appeal the appraisal review board’s decision to district court in the county where the property is located.
- You have the right to fair treatment by the appraisal district, the appraisal review board and the tax assessor-collector.
- You have the right to voice your opinions at open public meetings about proposed tax rates and to ask questions of the governing body responsible for setting tax rates.
- You have the right to petition a local government to call an election to limit a tax increase in certain circumstances.
- You have the right to receive a free copy of the pamphlet entitled Property Taxpayer Remedies published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.