The Watchdog: How you can Protest Your Texas Property Tax Estimate in 2021, Why You Ought to, and What’s New This 12 months | The watchdog

Welcome to the reopening of Property Tax Central in 2021, where The Watchdog aims to bring you the latest information on how to cut your booming property taxes.

Am i effective Let’s talk to the experts.

A few years ago Rudy Durham, Denton County’s lead investigator at the time, said, “There is a consumer watchdog that encourages people to protest. Not so that people can correct their characteristics. He wants to mess up and shut down the system and prove that a point is what he said. “

He added, “This is Dave Lieber from the Dallas Morning News.”

Then David Law, Director of Commercial Appeals, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Tarrant Appraisal District last month, referred to my annual urge that everyone protest their appraisal.

He said, “We are receiving external assistance in educating the public about this. And with all due respect, I would like to mention Mr. Dave Lieber. Mr. Dave Lieber was out there creating a flag. The flag read: “Everyone protests.” He encouraged people to protest.

“It was effective. What we’re trying to do here in the building, he’s done outside. “

A correction. My flag says, “Everyone protested.” And yes, I have a virtual flag (green for money) as a symbol of my campaign to convince property owners to question the system, as well as your legal right.

I started my campaign to educate Texans about protests 10 years ago after going online on a quiet Saturday night at home in 2011 and questioning my house value. In a matter of minutes, with no human contact, my property value dropped thousands of dollars.

“Hey,” I remember, “I have to show people how to do this.” And I’ve shown since then.

First a few quick guides and then we come to the latest news and a quick review of property tax bills filed in Texas law.

Basic guide

For the many who recently moved here and for those looking to protest for the first time, here are the basics.

At some point in the next few weeks, owners will receive a valuation notification via email detailing the taxable value of their primary residence. Unless you are a new buyer, the increase is limited to 10% per year. (If you’ve just bought, the cap may not apply for the first year, so get ready.)

If you don’t get a notification in the next month or so, it means your value hasn’t increased much, stayed the same, or decreased a little. Make sure to check your rating district’s website as you can still protest.

Values ​​are not yet released. Then you have a few weeks before the protest deadline to notify the appraisal district that you want to protest. The protest periods vary depending on the federal state.

Two best ways to build your case? First, ask a real estate agent to conduct comps (comparable sales) on similar properties in your neighborhood. It’s free and they just build a relationship with you.

Also, visit your review district’s website for information that the reviewers will want to use. If the comps for recent home sales are low, you’re good. If they are high, consider the second method.

Appraisers cannot look inside your home. Your job is to prove to them all of the repairs and upgrades required to get your home on the market to justify the high taxable value they have assigned.

Founding Problems? Worn flooring? Roof hit by a storm? Leaking old windows? Kitchen and bathroom outdated?

Take pictures to show them off. Get repair company estimates of how much it would cost to do these repairs and use those numbers to bring the value down. (So ​​start now, not wait for the deadline.)

You may not need to attend a hearing in their offices. The district can accept your offer to lower the value and avoid a hearing.

Some people hire a property tax advisor. Find one that only costs a percentage if she or he gains you savings. Don’t worry about those who collect, win or lose a flat fee.

You can also do this yourself. I represented myself and also hired consultants. Even if your score hasn’t risen when you have mistakes to show or comps to beat, it’s still worth a protest and it will only cost you your time, not your money.

The Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights states that this is your right, and it is up to you to ensure that everyone is taxed fairly and equally.

A decade ago Jim Robinson, then chief appraiser of Harris County told me that it was a tax appraiser’s job to stop getting more money for governments. The job of a valuer is to give an honest estimate of the value of a property.

Think of it this way: it is your job to help them assess.

Up or down?

We don’t yet know how bad the tax rate will be this year. We’ll find out soon when notices arrive. I suspect a lot of us will hit the 10% mark, which is high.

“Markets are on the up, so I expect values ​​to rise,” predicts Will Wiggins of North Texas Property Tax Services.

Glenn Goodrich, whose website – – helps property owners gauge whether a protest is strong or weak, says, “This could be the biggest year of taxation for homeowners. The commercial properties are valued by experts.

“Homeowners have to fight for themselves this year or hire someone to do it for them. Otherwise, homeowners generally pay far more than their fair share. “

Your taxable value is based on the condition of the property as of January 1st of this year. However, if the February storms caused property damage equal to or greater than 15% of your value, you can apply for a one-time disaster relief.

“Taxpayers will need to show that 15% of the temporary exemption improved value has been damaged,” says Wiggins.

Check with your assessment district to find out more. However, you must apply before the protest deadline, regardless of what is in your county.

Another development is the loss of face-to-face hearings. The pandemic stalled many of them over the past year, and most of the hearings could be virtual this year.

Real estate tax advisors involved in protests in Dallas County received a letter from the Dallas Central Appraisal District last week saying, “We will not have personal information or appointments with advisers.”

“This is a big deal,” explains Goodrich. “Our industry is changing and the public needs to know what’s going on in order to make better decisions about how to hire someone or not.”

He suggests asking the advisors, “What is your strategy for negotiating remotely with a district?”

He warns, “Be careful if a company says they can save you money without actually showing you how.”

Lots of bills filed

A huge, potentially record-breaking amount of property tax invoices has been introduced into Texas law. It is the job of the legislature to correct the unfair and unequal property tax regulations.

By my census, 123 property tax bills have been introduced in the house, and another 36 are before the Senate. The bills vary a lot, but most of them try to improve the system for taxpayers, e.g. B. lower the cap and allow prepayments, and much more.

If you want to see all of these bills for yourself, I recommend checking out the Texas Municipal League website. Then go to the Policy tab, then to Legislative Information, then to City-Related Bills Filed.

1 of 2 chances of winning

A study by the University of Texas at Dallas last year of nearly 80,000 Dallas County homeowners found that if a typical protester wins, they save $ 600 in taxes.

The study found that 1 in 2 protesters won. These are good chances for players.

The study leaders sent a suggested protest language to one group, but none to the other. It turns out that a little help goes a long way. Those who received the helpful language were more likely to protest.

Suggested Language: “I found a house similar to mine, but recently sold for less than the estimated market value of my house. The property is in [give address] is 0.29 miles from my house and has the same number of bedrooms and area. This property was resold [give date] to the [give amount]. ”

As I reported last year, low-income and Hispanic homeowners are less likely to protest. Hispanics protested 36% less than whites.

Low income owners are missing out on potential big savings.

There is an opportunity to expand the field of protesters by spreading the word in different communities and in different languages.

Everyone submits a protest, that is, everyone.

They all negotiate their property taxes.