If you are planning to prepare for your property tax appeal hearings, the following information will help you. This blog gives you a brief introduction about property taxes, how to prepare for the informal hearing, and the formal hearing. Property taxes are an ad valorem tax which means “accounting to value” i.e the taxes levied on your home are purely based on the value established by the CAD. In simple terms,

Amount of tax that is due = Taxable value * Tax rate

The notices are usually sent out during the first week of April and these notices depict how much the county has valued your property and an estimate of the taxes you will have to pay if you do not opt for a protest. So when you file a  protest you are protesting the initial appraised value the CAD placed.

Now that you know what you protest, how nice would it be if you get a chance to know how the others move their cards towards victory. This might help you win at the property tax appeals too. Even though you might not win each hand you might be at a serious advantage. This blog will give you ideas on how to prepare for your property tax appeal hearings.

Did you know?

As a property taxpayer living in Texas, you have all the rights to request all the information the chief appraiser plans to put forth at the hearings, this might include data, formulas, schedules, and all other information. If you are not provided with the evidence you had requested, the chief appraiser cannot use that as evidence in a hearing.

But the most important aspect to keep in mind is that the information you need has to be requested at least 14 days before the hearing. The request can be in the form of a written letter

In a few places like San Antonio, the notice of protest will have a check box in red. This depicts the evidence is requested. It is always better to write a separate letter to your appraisal district and mail it along with or after you have mailed the notice of protest. The response you receive for the letter can act as a powerful tool. It will give you an idea of what the appraisal district is planning to present at the hearing and will help you strengthen your case. 

How to prepare your presentation?

In most cases, homeowners initially speak with the appraiser at the informal hearing before proceeding to the formal hearing. If the matter gets resolved by both the parties, they execute a “settlement and waiver of protest”. The property tax appeal comes to an end and the value gets finalized. But always check twice or thrice before you sign the document because once you have signed the document you cannot go back and change, there might be chances where you might sign on some mistakes. In cases where you and the appraiser do not come to an agreement, a formal hearing falls in the next place. The formal hearing is with the ARB.

Preparing for an informal hearing

Residential taxpayers who opt for a protest make their decision based on what the appraisal district offers compared with what can be obtained at the ARB. However, this requires a lot of experience and is difficult to gauge every time. Here are a few recommendations:

  • It is better to accept the offer provided by your county appraisal district as you are considered reasonable.
  • If your case is strong, and if you feel the county appraisal district is not providing you an offer, then you can always opt to go to the appraisal review board.
  • If your case is weak and if you are not provided a reduction you can opt to go to the ARB.

Things to include in the presentation, adjusted to your property:

  • Sales, equity comps, evidence of damage, maps, pictures, or evidence that support the case

Preparing for a formal hearing

Before you appear at the formal hearing make sure you have copies of all the documents you will be presenting at the formal hearing. Make sure you have five copies, one for yourself, one for the appraiser, and the rest for the three members in the panel. Similar to the informal hearing, you will have to present evidence in the formal hearing as well. These might include photos, blueprints, estimates of repairs, engineering reports, fire reports, etc. Presenting a strong argument with all the supporting data can favor you.

Happy Protesting?

Want more help on protesting e-mail us @ proptax@poconnor.com