Did you receive your Annual Tax Statement? Property taxes going up?
Yep, we get it. Rising values means property taxes are on the rise as well.
In the short term, property taxes going up isn’t too painful, maybe a few hundred dollars here or there, but over time you could spend several thousand dollars extra on taxes that you could have saved instead. Here are some practical things you can do to help dispute your Property Tax Values.
We went and visited with the Tax Assessor’s office to learn more about how you can lower your property taxes. **Important note – Your Tax Value has NOTHING to do with what your home can sell for or what your home is actually worth, it only has to do with how much you will pay in property taxes, so it benefits you to protest your taxes every year or every other year at the least.
Here are some practical tips to help you lower and fight to keep your home’s value at bay.
- Review your Assessment – Every district has different ways of measuring property values. Some do it as a percentage of overall market value, others do replacement cost. Most taxing districts evaluate property values every two years, and on down markets rarely lower the property values without a protest from the homeowner. If recent sales in your neighborhood look to be equal or higher than your current property value, you should probably stop reading and be glad your value is lower than it should be. If your value is higher than you think it should be, continue reading for suggestions to help with your local tax authority. If you need help assessing the value of your home, you can fill out a quick home valuation to get your most accurate value.
- Look up Protest Process with your district – For reference we have linked a few popular local municipalities in Texas for ease. The form you are looking for is usually called “Notice of Protest”. We get requests for Dallas County, Collin County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Ellis County, Kaufman County, Hunt County, Parker County, Hood County, Travis County, Hays County, Burnet County, Comal County, and Harris County.
To protest your Taxes there are 3 different ways to go about it. They are in order of how we protest our own property taxes.
- Submit documentation and file online – We will cover below what you need to submit or bring in person to fight your property taxes. You will be able to wave your right to a “formal hearing” or you will be able to keep your option for a formal hearing with the assessor if you should choose. We usually DO NOT check the box to waive the formal hearing and leave our options open.
- Submit a protest via mail – To us, this is a more risky option as things can get lost in the mail. You also have to wait longer to get your formal hearing scheduled and if your mail gets lost, your hearing won’t happen, thus losing your right to fight your taxes for this calendar year.
- Go for an informal Tax Assessor meeting – Many districts accept walk in tax disputes prior to your official tax. The sooner you go after receiving your notice, the better. You can look up your Tax Assessor’s office at the links above to find your location for disputes.
- Wait and attend your Formal Tax Assessor’s meeting – After you file online, in person or via mail, you will have the option to attend a Formal Tax Assessor’s hearing. This hearing allows you to bring printed evidence of your property and state your case of why you believe your property is over valued.
When prepping for the Tax Assessor’s office, here is what to look for:
- Look up local home sales to see what your neighbors’ homes have sold for recently. In Texas, we are a non-disclosure state so you can usually see what homes have listed for and a “guess” on what they sold for. You can also request a custom valuation be completed by your local Realtor.
- Look up values of your neighbors at your online tax website and see if it compares to your home. Sometimes your home has been raised in value when your neighbors have not. If this is the case, we have seen people protest in the past by simply bringing in the values of the other homes on their street. You are going for a “value inequity” play if you see that your property is valued at higher than your neighbor’s home in similar condition, age and size is valued.
- Understand how your property is valued with the Tax Assessor – Properties with the Tax Assessor usually are graded as Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. This is the one time that being the nicest home on the block isn’t something you want to brag about. See if you can get your property downgraded on condition so that when property values continue to go up, your property goes up via a smaller percentage than you would if you are at a higher property condition.
- Get a bid from a general contractor to show the work that would still be needed to get the home into upgraded or “sell ready” condition.
- Take pictures of things you still need to update in the home to help justify your value.
- Bring extra copies of everything you mean to present and realize that it’s always better to protest in person than online if possible so you can reason with the Appraisal Review Board.
If you have specific questions regarding your own Property Value, you can always reach out for help via Home@VanPoole.com or 214-267-9222.