10 Steps in a Tax Protest
- Step 1-Receive 2019 Notice of Appraised Value or check on the Central Appraisal District website.
- You have 30 days to file a protest from the date you receive the notice, so for most that is May 31st.
- DO NOT give the appraisal district what you think your property is worth. This is optional and let them figure it out!
- Step 2- Review the property details as listed on the appraisal district website.
- Check to see that the appraisal district has accurately described your property improvements and amenities. Extra amenities drive up the value of your home and the assessors don’t know of any changes made unless they were permitted.
- Check that the exemptions are correct; i.e. homestead, over 65 and disabled.
- Note the property classification.
Step 3- Compare the assessed value of homes in your immediate neighborhood that are similar to your property.
Be aware that the assessors give little consider to this approach.
Step 4- Check recent sales prices of comparable and similar homes. It’s optimal to have a Texas licensed real estate broker prepare a broker price opinion (BPO) or comparable market analysis (CMA).
Select a minimum of 3 comparable sales.
All must have the same classification as your property or are adjusted per the appraisal districts residential cost schedule.
Comparables should be in the same neighborhood if possible or close to your property (picking distant comps is frowned upon).
Select comparables that have sold as close January 1st as possible (old comps don’t work).
Make sure that the BPO uses industry accepted adjustment factors to adjust the comps to make them similar to your subject property.
Do not use distressed properties, i.e. foreclosures or short sales.
Needed repairs that bring the property up to the original construction standard (NOT maintenance items) should be reflected. Estimates from licenses or experienced contractors should be obtained.
Step 5- Request comparable sales data that the appraisal district has used in determining their assessment of your 2019 appraised value.
Your are entitled to see the comparables they used.
They usually pick 3-5 comparables.
Compare the appraisal district comps to those selected in the BPO or CMA.
Step 6- If anything is disputable, file a “Property Appraisal-Notice of Protest”
Form 50-132 or the second page of your “Notice of Apppraised Value”.
Check only “Value is over market value”.
DO NOT give them your opinion of value.
Step 7-Receive a notice of the hearing on the 2019 protest from the Appraisal Review Board.
Usually scheduled mi-June.
If you have not requested or received the comps from the appraisal district you must appear at the office and request same at least 14 days prior to the scheduled ARB hearing.
Step 8-Conduct an informal hearing at the appraisal district office.
As a walk-in you can have an informal hearing one-on-one with one of the district appraisers (go early as the line gets fairly long at times) or done by phone.
Bring all your comps, photos, and contractor estimates.
Be businesslike and prepared
Appraiser will show you their comps; you present yours and negotiations proceed.
If not successful in lowering your assessed valuation you still can go before the ARB as scheduled for your formal hearing.
Step 9-Formal hearing before the Appraisal Review Board
More formal; you are sworn in; and Roberts Rules of Order are used.
Board is made up of 4-5 citizens, usually real estate professionals or appraisers, who are not employees of the appraisal district.
You present your evidence; the appraisal district representative presents theirs; and you are allowed to rebut one time
ARB closes the hearing; discusses the evidence and votes on their decision.
Step 10-As a last resort, if you are dissatisfied with the ARB decision you have the right to appeal to:
the State district court in the county in which your property is located; to binding arbitration; or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH)
These options are both time consuming and expensive.