What You Need to Know About Protesting Property Tax Appraisals

What You Need to Know About Protesting Property Tax Appraisals

Many in and around Travis County were shocked by this year’s property tax appraisal. If you fall into that same category, you may want to consider protesting your property tax appraisal. Here are some commonly asked questions as well as the steps you’ll need to take to protest your appraisal.

How is Your Property Valued?

The appraisal district appraises large numbers of properties together. In a mass appraisal, the district collects detailed descriptions of each taxable property in the district. It then classifies properties according to a variety of factors, such as size, use, and construction type. Using data from recent property sales, the district appraises the value of typical properties in each class. 

The appraisal district may use three common methods to value property, but the market approach is most often used and simply asks, “What are the properties similar to this property selling for?” The appraisal district compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently and determines your home’s value. This means that sometimes properties aren’t properly appraised, but you can file a protest to ensure your property tax appraisal is accurate.

How to Protest Your Appraised Value

  1. Protests must be filed in writing. The appraisal district has protest forms available, but any written notice of protest is sufficient as long as it identifies the owner, the property, and states that the owner disagrees with the valuation made by the appraisal district. The easiest way to submit your protest is by filing online.
  2. File your notice of protest by May 15th. If you don’t file a notice of protest before the Appraisal Review Board approves the appraisal record, you lose your right to protest or file a lawsuit about the taxable value of your property.
  3. Information to support your protest: Provide your closing statement from your home purchase, a copy of the purchase contract, any appraisals, engineer’s reports, etc. to the board when protesting your value. Photos of defects on the property are also helpful. Your real estate agent can assist you in compiling a comparable market analysis for your property to show how it would be priced if you were to sell the property. 
  4. Who decides? The Appraisal District Board (ARB) is an independent board of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district. If you file a written protest before the deadline, your case will be scheduled for a hearing where you will talk to one or more members of the ARB. The ARB has several options: grant your request, refer you to a hearing of the entire board, schedule a physical inspection of your property, or deny your request.

If you’re looking for more information on the protest process, the Travis Central Appraisal District has great resources. If you need help gathering information for your property tax appraisal protest, don’t hesitate to contact the Sage Wilson Property Group at 512-828-7074.

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