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How To Protest Your Property Taxes

I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and every year I have to fight my property tax assessment in Collin County. They are, in my experience, very pleasant people, and yet can be tough to work with because they’re very entrenched in their positions, particularly when it comes to their proposed “Market Value” of your home.

Many people love the idea of protesting their property taxes, but few know how to follow through. In fact, recently Brian Goodrich who runs a property tax protest service provider (I’ll mention this company later) told a small group I was a part of that around 50% of homeowners that file an appeal don’t even show up to their hearing! That’s incredible.

But I get it. The first time I protested my taxes, I did my best to prepare, but didn’t know what I was doing. I was able to get some success, but not what I hoped for. Since then, I’ve learned a few things. So if you’re asking yourself, “how do I protest my property taxes” well, here are some good starting points:

Before You Begin: Make sure you have your exemptions in place. These exemptions are free and simple to file. Every homeowner in Texas can file for a homestead exemption on their primary residence. This will reduce the tax liability and limit annual increases. If you aren’t sure if your home exemption is filed, please CLICK HERE

First, know the rules, including key dates and policies. and deadlines. Some questions that will need answers include: When is the deadline to file a protest? What sort of account login does your county use? Will they offer an informal review? What are all the steps for you to schedule your hearing with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) and what are all the deadlines involved to submit evidence?

Then, file your protest. Each county has a process. Is it online or does it require a form to be filled out? Be sure to read about filing a protest thoroughly on your county’s appraisal district website.

Gather Evidence: Get comps. Remember, you’re challenging the assessed value of the home as of January 1st, so the comps need to be before that date. What are comps? Comparable properties. Ask your real estate agent for comps to fight your property taxes. If they give you recent comps, past the January 1st date, it might be time to get a new agent that understands this simple concept. The county appraisers at times will focus on comps in the Spring and summer months, so don’t be afraid to include comps from the fall and winter months.

Gather Evidence: Take photos. If you’re going to claim any damaged or depreciated property conditions, you’ll need to prove it. One way to do so is to provide photographic evidence. Make sure you know the rules, procedure, and deadlines to do so.

Gather Evidence: Provide estimates. If you’re claiming that your home needs repairs and other services, one sure way to back it up is with estimates from a service provider.

Other evidence. This could include a copy of your closing docs if you recently purchased the home and the value is way higher than the sales price. You could also provide reports from a structural engineer if necessary. Some homeowners may hire their own appraiser and use their report as a part of the evidence.

Submit everything according to the rules. This theme is intentionally repetitive. The appraisal districts are really strict on their deadlines and processes. If you make an error, you may be out of luck. So, provide all evidence according to the rules and processes laid out by the appraisal district.

Attend your hearing. Here in Collin County, you only have 5 minutes to present your evidence. So get your act together! Don’t try to read the ARB a novel. Try and keep it to the dollar amount you’re suggesting, and a brief bullet list to summarize all evidence. Be prepared! The ARB hosts these hearings all day and there is nothing worse than someone showing up unprepared. Be sure to be there on time, and ready to go.

So, yes, as you’re probably thinking, this can be quite labor intensive and time consuming. This year, I’m actually trying a service provider for the first time to protest my taxes for me. There are a lot of services out there, but do your research. You want to avoid companies with things like ethics complaints, loss of a recent A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, or accusations of predatory practices involving the free Homestead Exemptions already provided by the government.

Anyways, this year I have partnered with to secure a $10 off discount for my network using this promo-code: P53435. If you don’t have the hours to spend this year (and you will spend several hours) you can try the same company I’m using.

Be sure and visit their site through my link: This will automatically apply a $10 credit towards any purchase. And good luck!

There is no guarantee your ARB will agree to adjust your home’s market value. But consider the items mentioned above as the bare minimum for their consideration. It will take some planning and some time, but hopefully you can lower your tax burden this year!

Appraisal Districts in North Texas by county:

Collin County Appraisal District 469-742-9200
Dallas County Appraisal District 214-631-0910
Denton County Appraisal District 940-349-3800
Ellis County Appraisal District 972-937-3552
Grayson County Appraisal District 903-893-9673
Hunt County Appraisal District 903-454-3510
Johnson County Appraisal District 817-648-3000
Kaufman County Appraisal District 972-932-6081
Parker County Appraisal District 817-596-0077
Rockwall County Appraisal District 972-771-2034
Tarrant County Appraisal District 817-284-0024

Written by Daniel Burke

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