How to Protest your Property Taxes
It’s that time again, to protest your property taxes! Property taxes can be extremely expensive, so it’s important to make sure the market value of your home is determined correctly by the appraisal district. You don’t want to over pay on these taxes, it can add up to an extra several thousand dollars.
The deadline for filing to protest is Midnight on May 31st. Therefore, you want to return the form as quickly as possible. There are many deadlines to consider, and deadlines can differ depending on your situation.
Reasons Deadlines May Differ
- Your notice of value – sent to you after May 2nd
- Your protest involves a change in the use of agricultural, open-space, or timber land
- The ARB made a change to the appraisal records that adversely affects you, and you received notice
- The Appraisal District or the ARB was required to send you notice, but they did not
Contact the Appraisal District and ensure you have the appropriate protest property deadline. Did you miss a deadline? In this case, the ARB will decide if it is due to what they consider to be a “good cause.” A good cause is something out of your control like a medical emergency or other unforeseeable circumstance. If your deadline falls on a weekend or legal holiday, as a result it is postponed until midnight of the next working day.
Protest Hearing Preperation
Visit the HCAD website, and know where to file. You can file your protest online on this page. Make sure to do your research and print out any information you have on your property value and previous sales information. If your home has damage of any kind to major structures like the roof or foundation, this is all information that will help in your protest. Be as thorough as possible.
Your Protest Hearing
Your actual protest hearing will have a date soon after you file. A notice comes to you about two weeks in advance, which will let you know the date, time, and location of your hearing. If you don’t want to attend in person, you do have options. The law allows you to submit your evidence in the form of a sworn affidavit. It must state that you swear that the information it contains is true and correct. You must sign the document in the presence of a notary republic. There are plenty of notaries available, check with your bank because they may provide one free of charge for account holders.
If you are not attending your protest hearing in person, make sure your affidavit includes the following:
- Property owner name and address
- Account number and property description
- Date & Time of the scheduled hearing
The affidavit must be received by the hearing location at least two days prior to the scheduled hearing. Send it via certified mail, so that a signature confirmation is required upon receiving.
You can also have a representative appear for you at your hearing. A property tax agent can appear on your behalf after a valid agent appointment form has been submitted with the Appraisal District. You can even authorize a relative or personal friend to appear at a hearing on your behalf. Simply complete the representative information section of the online protest. Representative powers are only reserved for family members or friends who are not charging you for representation.
If the market value the appraisal district gives you for your home doesn’t seem right, it is absolutely worth your time and effort to protest your property taxes. Everyone should protest their property taxes, it can save thousands of dollars. Texans have the right to equal and uniform taxes. Exercise your rights, and protest your property taxes today!