Protesting Property Tax
Property taxes are a required expense for all homeowners, but you might be able to reduce your amount by filing an appeal. Keep in mind that an appeal is only good for that year, and you'll still have to pay taxes before the due date to avoid penalties. Our third article in a series on property tax explains the process for protests and appeals.
Protesting the Appraisal Value
Homeowners cannot protest the property tax itself, but you can protest your home's appraised value which may lower the property tax. To start the process, you'll fill out Form 50-132 Notice of Protest found on your county's tax appraisal district website. This form is also on the back of the Notice of Appraised Value mailed in April. You may be offered a settlement when filing online and can avoid the hearing process.
You can select multiple reasons for protesting, but remember that the reason influences the type of evidence you can present. The Texas Comptroller's office recommends selecting "Incorrect appraised (market) value and/or value is unequal compared with other properties." This option allows you to present the widest range of evidence and preserves your full appeal rights. Read more tips on the Comptroller's Property Taxpayer Remedies.
Preparing for the Hearing
Once you file your Notice of Protest to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB), they will notify you of your scheduled hearing at least 15 days in advance. The ARB begins hearings around May 15 and usually completes them by July 20. Prepare for your hearing by gathering any evidence that supports your case, including:
- Photographs of the property
- Repair estimates
- Median appraisal value of other comparable homes in your neighborhood
- Property surveys
- Engineering reports
- Deed records, and more.
When arguing a case, explain clearly and concisely the evidence you are presenting. Keep in mind the members of the ARB are not the ones who appraised your home, so remain calm and stick to the facts during the hearing. The ARB cannot consider your personal economic situation or emotional arguments, only the presented evidence. Learn more about the ARB hearing procedures and how to present your case in videos prepared by the Comptroller.
You can request an informal meeting with the ARB on your protest form to avoid a hearing. Ask for clear descriptions about how the appraisal district arrived at the value, and carefully review the property descriptions and measurements. You can still reserve your right to an ARB hearing by filing the Notice of Protest, even if you can resolve your case in an informal meeting.
Any decision made by the ARB is only valid for the tax year in question. If the ruling favors the property owner, the chief appraiser will notify the taxing units. The ARB will send a written order by email or certified mail. A refund is issued if taxes have already been paid for that year.
Late protests or pending cases do not affect the due date for property taxes. Failing to pay taxes before the delinquency date will cause the property owner to forfeit the right to a final determination of the appeal; however, the owner can ask the court to excuse them from prepaying by filing an oath of inability to pay. The court will then hold a hearing to decide the terms and conditions of payment.
As an alternative to filing an appeal, property owners who meet certain criteria can request regular binding arbitration (RBA). In an RBA, a neutral arbitrator who is not part of the ARB examines the facts of an appeal and makes a binding decision for all parties.
Read our article "Understanding the Property Tax Process" to learn more about how property tax works, the appeal process, and exemptions. Contact a property tax attorney for other questions or help with filing a protest.
Learn what to expect with property taxes when buying a home in our article, "Property Tax With a New Home Purchase." Our Texell Home Loan heroes are here to help when you're ready to buy a home. Visit TexellHomeLoans.com or call or text 254.774.5104.
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