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What Is A Property Tax Protest?

March 6, 2020

Steps to a Property Tax Protest

So, it’s April and you’ve received your new proposed property tax values from the Tarrant Appraisal District or the Denton Appraisal District.   Or maybe you haven’t received any notice at all from the appraisal district; they are not required to notify you under certain circumstances.  What do you do now? Here are some steps to file a successful property tax protest in Tarrant and Denton counties.

 

  1. Notice of Protest: File a protest in writing to your appraisal district. You can use the official form, or you can simply write a letter of protest.  The filing deadline is May 15or thirty days after you receive the notice, whichever last occurs.
  2. Appraisal Review Board Hearing: TheAppraisal Review Board will notify you of the time and place of your hearing.This is where you contest your case and present evidence to support your protest.
  3. ARB Ruling on Protest: Based on the evidence presented, the ARB will make a determination on the property in question. You then have two options: Arbitrate or accept the ARB determination.
  4. Binding arbitration (if necessary): If you are unhappy with the results of the protest, you can file an appeal and seek binding arbitration. This process is tedious and you’ll need good data or professional help to overturn the ARB’s decision.

 

Key Dates

  • January 31st: Property taxes from prior year are due
  • April 15th: Notice of Property Values are sent out, beginning the protest season
  • May 15th: Protest deadline: Notice of protest in writing is due to the appraisal district
  • May, June: Protests take place
  • July: Final values are certified by the appraisal district

 

Forms of Appeal

Value above Market:

This property value appeal is based on the belief that the property in question is appraised above the rest of the market.

 

In order to win under Value Above Market, you need good comparable sales data.  Comparable assessments won’t help; you can’t successfully ask for a lower taxable value because your neighbors’ values are lower.  You need evidence that your property is valued above the current market. Comparable sales data can get convoluted and require judgement calls for the best evidence to present to the ARB. Factors such as location, land discrepancies, adjustments, and market trends can impact the quality of comparable properties, which is why this is a task best left to a professional.  At Property Tax Protest we use comparable sales data that you may think does not apply to your property but that fit the criteria of the Denton or Tarrant Appraisal District.  Our track record and experience with what works best for your specific neighborhood, in your specific county, are what brings our clients back to us year after year.

 

UnequalAppraisal (Inequality): This appeal is based on the argument  that your property is valued unequally to comparable properties. The focus of this appeal is on whether “the appraised value of the subject property is equal to or less than the median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties that are appropriately adjusted.” For a protest under inequality, the focus is on three key issues

  1. The number of properties selected in the appraisal sample
  2. Are the sample properties comparable?
  3. Were the values of sample properties appropriately adjusted?

 

For example, suppose a recently purchased property is assessed at its purchase price but other properties in the subdivision are not affected.  The new homeowner may be appraised unequally even if the value is at market. Thus, a protest under Inequality can result in a value below cost.  Say you purchased in the past eighteen months and the district assesses you at cost. If your value is above the median for your subdivision – as it usually is in a recent sale -- you are a candidate for lower taxes through Inequality.  But to prevail on Inequality it’s essential that you use a professional because the rules are arcane, and you need to observe them.

 

How We Win – For You

Why should you hire Property Tax Protest?  Our twenty plus years of experience provide you with the knowledge and expertise for a successful protest. We save you the time and hassle of collecting evidence for your protest and scheduling an in person meeting with the appraisal district. We do it for 1% of the reduction we obtain for you. And there’s no risk because if there’s no reduction there’s no fee!

 

Common Questions

Can I seek a value less than what I paid for my property? Yes, you can seek a value less than the current market under Inequality of Appraisal.  

 

Texas’ Constitution prohibits discriminatory practices in assessing taxes. For example, suppose a recently purchased property is assessed at its purchase price but other properties in the subdivision are not affected.  The new homeowner may be appraised unequally even if his value is at market. One key to protesting under inequality is specifying inequality of appraisal at time of protest. If you don’t specify a protest under inequality, that relief is waived. Property Tax Protest files under both Value Above Market and under Inequality automatically every year so you don’t have to be concerned.

 

Conclusion

Texas’ Constitution guarantees you the right to contest your property’s taxes and seek a lower taxable value. We are here to help at no risk to you!

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