Property Tax Protest Deadline Is Today, And Filing Is Easy

Photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

Don’t say we didn’t warn you — the deadline for property tax protests is uh, today. And if you think this requires a massive scramble of documentation to file, we have good news: It can take as little as 10 minutes.

We’ve been telling you about PropertyTax.io since last year. It’s an online tool developed by Goodrich Realty Consulting, first as a tool for their tax consultants to use in the company’s property tax division. Last year, they released the tool to the general public, and it is really shaking up the way people appeal their property tax bills.

So how does it work? In just a few seconds, you can log on to the PropertyTax.io website, put in your address, and register. 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 $75 fee to generate a report you can use to defend your appeal. You can also customize the report if you feel you have more evidence (like photos), or choose the express option.

“Each property is $75, and we’ll tell you before you pay if it’s worth it,” said Glenn Goodrich, GRC’s Director of Technology & Property Tax.

Last year, I used it for the first time. It took me 10 minutes to pull together a professional report using PropertyTax.io’s customized mode (it was in beta last year, but is fully built-out this year). Once I did that, it was an easy matter of filing the documentation with the Dallas County Appraisal District online, and then waiting for DCAD to send me notification of when my appeal would take place.

And the company has made it even easier this year to file, with three products that are tailored for the level of assistance you may need — a condition tool that allows customers to organize the proof regarding the condition of the home, the market analysis tool I used last year, and the option to hire an agent to handle the whole thing for you.

Last year, thanks to the analysis and the condition tools, I was able to reduce my property tax bill quite a bit.

Last year, more than 2,000 DFW homeowners purchased an evidence packet, and cumulatively they saved almost $1 million in property taxes. Most obtained a reduction 80 percent of the time, saving $400-$500 in taxes, with some saving more than $1,000.

“We had an 80 percent success rate overall, but when people used the customized option, it was almost 90 percent,” Goodrich said.

But this year, when I checked my address, the tool recommended that I not purchase the product this year — something Goodrich said is by design: They want long-term relationships with homeowners.

“We’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “We’re not saying you’ll even use it every year — in fact, if you used us last year, it’s possible we’ll even recommend that you don’t make a purchase this year. It all depends on what the current data tells us is best for you.”

“We want to build relationships,” he said. “My goal is not to make money on every site visitor, it’s to add value and sometimes that means saving you time instead of money.”

And if you’ve waited until the last minute, you’re not alone. As of last week, only 21,000 people had filed appeals in Dallas County — compared to the estimated 107,000 filed last year.

And be prepared for potential push back from DCAD this year.

“We have heard from some of our users that the appraisal districts are being really tough this year with reductions,” Goodrich said. “This is when having a tax pro in your corner really pays off. As part of the PropertyTax.io customer experience, our users send us the appraisal district’s evidence.”

Goodrich said you should always ask for the appraisal district’s evidence, and the company has even explained how to do this with this great primer.

When you see DCAD’s evidence, make sure that you examine each comparable property carefully, looking at each photo. Are the finishes more high-end than yours? Have they had recent remodeling in the interior? Those things can discredit the idea that the comparable is like your home.

Double check sales dates, and make sure that the comparables aren’t from a time when the market was slightly hotter, like in 2017.

You can also improve your odds by submitting your protest with your evidence attached, versus waiting until your appeal, which is exactly why PropertyTax.io is such a great aid — all your evidence packaged in one nice, neat PDF, ready to upload to the appraisal district’s website.

So get cracking — you have until 11:59 p.m. to get that protest in.