How do I know if I should protest?
First, you need to know if your tax appraisal is fair. Find out by running an Evaluation on your address.
If your Evaluation finds strong evidence indicating your valuation is excessive, we’ll recommend moving forward with your protest. Read more about the evidence required for a “Yes” protest.
If we can’t find substantial evidence indicating you’re over-assessed, we’ll let you know up-front with a message like the one below:
How do you determine if my home may be over-assessed?
Below are the 5 standards of evidence we require for a “Yes” Protest Recommendation.
- We must find substantial evidence. A property evaluation must identify five or more comparable properties demonstrating inequity with how your home and others are assessed on a per-square-foot basis.
- Comps must have similar physical characteristics. Comps chosen for inclusion must closely resemble the subject by meeting a strict set of size, age, and grade parameters.
- Comps must be nearby. Comps must be located within the boundaries of the neighborhood code assigned by the Appraisal District to the subject property.
- Comps must be adjusted. Comps must be properly adjusted to account for differences in condition, age, and grade before being considered as evidence.
- Significant potential reduction must exist. The Median Value of the qualified set of adjusted comparable properties must support potential tax savings that exceed the purchase price of the Evidence Package.
We will not recommend a protest if any one of these five standards are not met. These requirements ensure that only qualified individuals pursue an appeal and is how we can offer our money-back guarantee. If you don’t meet these standards, you’ll see the following:
Which methods do you use to determine my value?
We check your property for potential savings by performing an Assessment Comparable Analysis and a Comparable Sales Analysis.
- The Assessment Comparable Analysis, sometimes referred to as Equity Analysis, compares your property’s assessed value with the assessed values of similar homes in your neighborhood.
- The Comparable Sales Analysis compares your home’s assessed value with sale prices of similar houses in your neighborhood.
Per appraisal standards, both analyses make adjustments for physical differences between the subject and comparable properties.
I purchased my home within the last year for less than my tax assessment. Do I still need this?
Probably not. If you purchased your home within the 12 months preceding January 1 of the current year for LESS than your tax value, we recommend providing a signed copy of your closing statement. As long as it was an open-market transaction, it will likely be viewed as the best indicator of Market Value.
Is there anything else I can provide to help win my appeal?
Your evidence package will provide strong numerical data to support your case, and is typically more than enough to achieve a reduction.
If there are other specific issues with your home that impact its value (such as water damage, foundation problems, roof damage, ect), we recommend documenting these problems with photos and bids for repair. Additionally, it’s always helpful to familiarize yourself with the protest process so you don’t miss a deadline or opportunity to submit your protest.
- Include pictures. Provide even more data by including pictures showing the condition of your home. If you are trying to prove your home is in worse condition than the typical home in your neighborhood, it is always helpful to have photo evidence to support your claims.
- Need home repairs? Provide a bid. It’s definitely helpful to describe needed repairs to the appraisal district, but it’s even more powerful if you can provide a bid to show exactly how much it should impact your valuation.
- Learn the protest process. Most appeals are settled at the Online, or Informal level. If the appraisal district does not make an offer you agree to accept at the Informal level, your case goes to an Appraisal Review Board (ARB), which consists of 3 impartial citizens.
Why can’t I find my address?
If you’re having trouble locating your address, please confirm the following:
- Your property must be a single-family residential home.
- Your property must be located in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, or Montgomery County.
- Ensure that your appraisal district did not issue your initial value at a later date than other properties in your county. If you think this may be the case, Contact Us to be notified when your property is supported.
- Your property may not appear in our system if it was constructed in the last year.
What does it mean to be Unequally Appraised?
The Texas Property Tax Code states that taxation must be Equal & Uniform. Unfortunately, because appraisal districts’ evidence is often based on subjective ratings and mass appraisal, many homes are not equally appraised.
We perform an Equity Analysis to determine if you have a case for protesting based on Unequal Appraisal. This analysis examines your home’s per-square-foot value with other similar properties. Since not every property is identical, the tax code requires that we make value adjustments for various characteristics that differ between your house and a particular comp.
Below is an explanation from the Texas Property Tax Code:
§ 41.43. PROTEST OF DETERMINATION OF VALUE OR INEQUALITY (b) A protest on the ground of unequal appraisal of property shall be determined in favor of the protesting party unless the appraisal district establishes that:
- the appraisal ratio of the property is equal to or less than the median level of appraisal of a reasonable and representative sample of other properties in the appraisal district;
- the appraisal ratio of the property is equal to or less than the median level of appraisal of a sample of properties in the appraisal district consisting of a reasonable number of other properties similarly situated to, or of the same general kind or character as, the property subject to the protest; or
- the appraised value of the property is equal to or less than the median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted.
What happens after I purchase my evidence package?
Immediately after purchase, a link will be provided to download your Evidence Package. We’ll also include the instructions for how to submit your evidence to the appraisal district. For your convenience, this information will also be emailed to you after checkout.
Will this negatively impact my home’s sale price if I decide to sell?
No, in fact, your home can actually bring a higher selling price if you regularly contest your property taxes. This is due to the lower cost of ownership achieved when the valuation is regularly kept in check. Imagine this: You’re deciding between House “A” and House “B”. They are next door to each other and completely identical. The seller of House “A” regularly protested their property taxes and is assessed at $220,000. Their tax bill will be $5,500. The seller of house “B” has never protested and is assessed at $240,000. Their tax bill will be $6,000. Both homes are completely identical, except for their property tax bills. Which home would you be willing to pay more for? House “A” of course – the property with the lower cost of ownership.
When is the deadline to file a property tax protest in Texas?
The protest deadline in Texas for most people is May 31. If you received your ‘Notice of Appraised Value’ after May 1, you have 30 days from the date on the Notice to file your protest.
What is the difference between my “Appraised Value” and “Market Value”?
Your “Market Value” represents what the appraisal district believes your home could be sold for on the open market as of January 1st of the tax year in question.
“Appraised value” is the actual amount that taxes are levied against to determine how much you pay in property taxes. In most cases, if you have a homestead exemption and your market value increased by more than 10%, the appraised value is a 10% increase from the prior year’s appraised value, unless there have been improvements to the property, i.e. remodeling, new pool. This increase will continue each year until the appraised value reaches the market value. Typically, unless there was a miscalculation in the increase (i.e. not 10%), the appraised value will only be changed if the market value is decreased beneath the appraised value.
How are property taxes calculated?
Below is an example of how property taxes are calculated, assuming no exemptions apply, for a home appraised for $300,000 with an estimated tax rate of 2.5%:
|Your Home Assessment||Your Tax Rate||Your Property Taxes|
As an example, assume you entered your address, and data supports a market value of $265,000, rather than the appraisal district’s assessed value of $300,000:
|Our Indication of Value||Your Tax Rate||Your Property Taxes|
The value supported by our data is $35,000 less than the appraisal district’s assessment. A $35,000 difference multiplied by a 2.5% tax rate equates to $875 in potential property tax savings:
|Assessment Reduction||Your Tax Rate||Potential Tax Savings|
How does the Texas property tax system work?
The property tax system in Texas consists of three main parts:
- Appraisal Districts – Each county has an appraisal district which is responsible for establishing the value of property each year.
- Appraisal Review Board – This board of citizens hears any disagreements between a property owner and the appraisal district about property valuations.
- Local Taxing Units – County, City, School, Junior College, and Special Districts determine the amount of money they will spend by adopting a budget. Then, they set tax rates that will raise the necessary revenue to fund the budgets.
The property tax year can be broken down into four main parts:
- Appraising Taxable Property – A major function of appraisal districts is to determine what your property is worth as of January 1.
- Protesting the Appraised Values – The Appraisal Review Board begins to hear protests in mid-May from property owners who believe their property values are incorrect.
- Adopting the Tax Rates – Tax Rates are adopted around August or September by the elected officials of each taxing unit.
- Collecting the Taxes – Collecting taxes begins around October 1 as tax bills are sent out. Taxpayers have until January 31 of the following year to pay their taxes. Penalty and interest begin to accumulate on February 1.
What is a property tax protest?
A property tax protest is a process whereby you can appeal the appraisal district’s assessed value for a property at a hearing. A hearing involves a review of the evidence used to establish your tax assessment. In Texas, hearings are regularly conducted online, one-on-one with an appraiser, or with an Appraisal Review Board. A value determination is made following a review of both your and the appraisal district’s evidence.