How to Protest Your Property Tax in Austin
The deadline to protest property taxes is rapidly approaching. May 15th (May 8th online) marks the date by which homeowners must file a Notice of Protest of their annual appraisals. Whether you file online, by filling out the form on the back of your Notice of Appraised Value, or by using a website such as Texas ProTax, there are a fews things you should know about the process before diving in.
Statistics from 2017 (As reported by Austin American-Statesman)
126,595 – The number of protests initiated in Travis County
70.6% – The number of homeowners who hired an agent to represent them in assessment protests
$18,568 – The median amount of market valuation reduced from residential properties after protesting
$3.2 Billion – The amount of valuation shaved off of Travis County tax rolls through residential protests
Step 1: Filing a Notice of Protest
May 15th is the deadline to file a Notice of Protest of your appraisal. When it comes to filing, you can either use the form on the back of your Notice of Appraised Value you received from the appraisal district, or file your protest online.
If you choose to file online:
Appraisal district staffers can review your information and decide if you will receive a settlement potentially without you having to attend a hearing.
File online in Travis County (Click on “E-Services”)
File in Williamson County (Click on “Online Protests”)
If you choose to fill out the form:
Be careful as to which boxes you are checking off regarding the reason for your protest. This will determine what kind of evidence you can present later on.
Step 2: Meet With the Appraiser
Once you’ve filed a Notice of Protest, the Travis Central Appraisal District will send you a letter with two dates – An Informal meeting with a staffer and a formal hearing date with ARB, a group of residents appointed to hear this type of challenge.
Informal meeting with a staffer:
Be prepared to look over numbers, and bring proper documentation (information on comparable homes that can be found on the appraisal district’s website, an independent appraisal if you recently refinanced your house, photos, repair estimates, and the like.) If you are offered a reduction in value by the district and you are happy with the number, you can choose to accept.
If you still aren’t satisfied, you can keep your date with the ARB. You will have the right to see all of the information district appraisers are planning to present, so contact the appraisal district if you wish to see those documents.
Step 3: Official Hearing
The hearing will likely not exceed the span of 15-30 minutes. You will be put under oath and have the chance to present your evidence, concluding with the statement of a figure you believe your property is worth.
Some documentation to consider presenting:
Condition of your home, location of your home, recently purchased homes, comparable market analysis or information on comparable homes found on the appraisal district’s website, an independent appraisal if you refinanced your house, photos, repair estimates.
County Appraisal District Websites