Flummoxed, poleaxed, flabbergasted, gobsmacked: There’s no end to the adjectives one can use to describe how property owners feel about the shocking 2016 appraisal notices recently sent out throughout the state. In short, almost everyone is going to be paying a lot more in taxes this year … unless they protest these tax appraisals.
The average market value increases on residential properties∗:
Bexar County — 8 percent
Collin County — 11 percent
Dallas County —12 percent
Denton County — 6 percent
Harris County — 10 percent
Tarrant County — 14 percent
Travis County — 7 percent
(∗ Estimated market value increases are based on 2016 notified values, however not all properties have been noticed, therefore these estimates are subject to change.)
Those are some hefty increases. And what’s worse is that those amounts will compound into the future to make a nearly unsupportable tax burden for many. While it’s true that we are in the midst of a very hot real estate market, that doesn’t mean individual taxpayers should shoulder more than their fair share of the load.
In all likelihood, many homes have never been individually appraised. That’s because the appraisal district does not have the personnel or time to assess each home. To simplify things, the appraisal district uses a mass system that bases appraisals on trending property values in entire neighborhoods. After reviewing sales information and market trends, the appraisal district often decides to raise the value of every home in a neighborhood by anywhere from 1 percent to 10 percent and, in some cases, as much as 60 percent, as we’ve seen this year.
Here’s How You Can Fight Back
There are two ways to protest the appraised value. The first is by Market Value. Using this method, sales of homes in neighborhoods can be used to support reducing appraisals. A good starting point is to evaluate similar properties on a dollar-per-square-foot basis. And although this is a hot market, there are still foreclosures. Under Texas law, foreclosures can be considered in determining market value.
The Equal and Uniform method is where homeowners point out that their property is unequally appraised compared to other, similar properties in the neighborhood. If they are overtaxed relative to their peers, they have a good case.
Bear in mind also that appraisers are disadvantaged in two distinct ways. First, they don’t know the actual condition of the properties they are assessing. Homeowners who have deferred maintenance or who have outdated kitchens or bathrooms may save. Second, some property sales are not made public, because Texas does not require full disclosers on all real property sales.
Now, taxpayers can devote their time to learning all of the various strategies to protest their tax appraisals. Or they can call in an expert like Texas Tax Protest.
Texas Tax Protest knows that each home is different, every situation has distinct characteristics depending not only on the property, but the surrounding market. They provide a custom analysis of each home, every neighborhood, and examine the comparable properties, and develop a strategy when meeting with the central appraisal district.
May 31 is the Deadline to Appeal
Don’t miss out. Despite these shocking increases, less than 4 percent of homeowners ever protest their tax appraisals. That means, they could be leaving money on the table. The deadline to file a protest is May 31, this is your last opportunity to fight your 2016 appraisal.
Contact us online or call us at 214-960-5590.