Last month, we told you about a service that makes filing a property tax protest a ridiculously simple process. Tuesday, I road tested it myself, and it was even easier than I thought it would be.
If you’ve been putting off filing because you’re worried it won’t be worth it, or because the idea of starting the process sounds daunting, I wouldn’t put it off any longer. The deadline to file a protest is May 15 (May 18 if you’re in Denton County), which is — eek! — next Tuesday.
PropertyTax.io can tell you in seconds whether it would be a good idea to protest your property tax bill this year, and that’s free. It’s a simple matter of pointing your browser at the site, typing in your address, and registering.
The next screen will tell you if, based on the algorithms that factor in comparable properties using several data sets, including MLS data and appraisal district data, you’d have success in appealing your taxes this year.You get all that information, and then you can decide whether you’d like to pay the $65 fee to generate a report you can use to defend your appeal.
“Each property is $65, and we’ll tell you before you pay if it’s worth it,” Glenn Goodrich of Goodrich Realty Consulting (who developed PropertyTax.io) said. “You can get a report in two minutes in our express mode.”
For those who feel they would like to fine-tune their report, a DIY mode allows the user to select specific comparable properties and upload photos of their house to bolster their claims.
We recently purchased a house in North Dallas — in December 2017, to be exact — and our bill seemed a bit high when we got it. PropertyTax.io told us we had a moderate shot of winning an appeal, but we also had our closing disclosure form with our purchase price, so we thought that might further increase our odds of negotiating that figure down a bit (it was almost $15,000 more than what we paid for the house, and about $12,000 or so more than the median comps for the area, according to the PropertyTax.io report).
After choosing the DIY mode (which is in beta testing right now), it was a simple matter of choosing the comps I wanted to use, then downloading the report. I then turned around and hopped on the Dallas Central Appraisal District site, looked up my address, then found the Ufile link to file my appeal online.
Honestly, I probably could’ve been done in less than 10 minutes if I hadn’t needed to request a PIN code from DCAD to access the system to file. Once I was in, it was a matter of uploading the report and my disclosure form from our home purchase, checking a few boxes, and hitting enter.
If you’re the type that wants to do things the old-fashioned way, you can print the report out and print out the forms to appeal, and mail them according to the instructions on the DCAD website. However, if you’re going to do that, you’re going to need to do it like, now. Right now. As in, finish this story and then go file.
The nice thing about filing online was that I had an automatic receipt that showed my appeal had been filed, versus having to wait to get the letter if you file by mail.
And even better? Now that I have an account with PropertyTax.io, I’ll get an alert next year reminding me that my property tax bill has arrived, and telling me how successful a protest next year would be.