TAX TIME! 2018: Protesting Your Property Taxes

HELLO FRIENDS!

This is an email I sent out to all my past clients, but I thought I would share for those that aren’t past clients of mine (but maybe you own a home and will find this information valuable)

Fortunately I believe all counties now let you informally protest online now, making life much easier.

Remember the filing deadline has now changed to **May 15** Mark in your calendar
As you begin to get your County assessment in the mail of your home’s current value, I wanted to touch base on what you can do to protest your taxes.
First off, if you bought LAST YEAR (2017) and the value came in for MORE than what you actually paid, if you want to share what you paid when you protest them you can, however–and remember–TX is a non disclosure state, you do not have to tell them what you paid for your home, but definitely a good idea to argue them.
However, your loan value does get recorded in the county, so they may have some idea of what you actually paid.
HIRING SOMEONE ELSE TO PROTEST YOUR TAXES:
Personally, this year, instead of arguing it myself, like in year’s past, I am hiring Five Stone (if you fill out a form online-say Danielle R referred ya, she is a client of mine who works there) If you plan to go this route-sign up fast, because they only take so many cases per season, from my understanding. I will let you know my outcome.
You may also have gotten Texas Pro Tax marketing pieces in the mail–you can also hire them to protest your taxes.
If they save you nothing-you pay nothing, but if they save you money, you pay a percentage based on the amount they saved you x the tax rate.
PROTESTING YOUR TAXES YOURSELF:
I would recommend starting with knowing your neighborhood’s value and similar homes to yours. Start by logging on to our website, verifying your password (if you don’t have an account yet) so you can see sold prices.
You can see the sold prices, by searching homes, check out the “status”tab, and see the boxes–make sure “sold” is checked–or “click to verify sold pricing.” Now draw a map around your home of your specific neighborhood or enter in your neighborhood if large enough and get an idea of some recently sold homes similar to yours.
Have a case of why your home should be worth less? Good.
Also, if you have foundation issues or anything major wrong with your home that may help the value be for less that those around you, keep that in mind as well.
Now, go to your county appraisal district website to make your case…
For Travis (since that is where I am and most my clients, I will go over that one), you scroll down and go to “e-services” you have two options–file homestead exemption or e-file.
{PS if you have yet to file your homestead exemption, do so!! This puts a cap on your taxes from rising too much year to year. Your driver’s license MUST have your homestead address on it when you file, you will submit a copy.}
(For my Travis Co peeps): Ok, now you are going to hit ONLINE APPEALS. Create a login if you haven’t done this before, log in. And then it will bring you to your property(ies). In the top right hit “e-file.”
Then click “e-file” next to your property address. THIS is where you are going to state your case of why your home is NOT worth as much as they say it is. See the box? State a few addresses (that you found previously on our site-or wherever) or that your home is older/has foundation issues, etc etc and isn’t valued at what they think it is. State your case.
WARNING: I have heard of clients protesting, then the county responding back at a HIGHER assessment, yes they can do this. So be careful, if your assessment is significantly lower than market value–you may just want to be thankful and move along.
Now, they usually ask you to submit supporting documents. In years past, I have received an answer back at what my new assessment was BEFORE I even responded with any attached “evidence” but I think the evidence can certainly help.
They will counter with an amount.
You can accept.
OR you can go to formal hearing if you do NOT accept this. In which you will choose a date and meet in person to protest your taxes. I have never done this part, so I cannot personally speak beyond this part, I have had some clients have luck, some, not so much.
REMINDER:
Now that you know what your new tax value is…if this is significantly more than what you are escrowing monthly for taxes, you will want to start paying a little more in per month so you don’t get slammed with a big shortage at the end of the year. Everyone’s loan is set up differently, but something to keep in mind–is setting away enough for taxes per month You know what your new tax assessment is before your lender does, so plan accordingly for your escrow account.
I hope that helped.
I wrote a similar post on my blog last year about this time, here.
Also, there’s a few good videos on the tax county website on protesting. If you bought later in the year you may not yet have your assessment or PIN, but you can call and get that info.