Is Your Tax Appraisal a Fair Assessment?

By on March 22, 2016. Posted in .


Market Value Changes are Not the Same for All Areas

According to the Austin Board of Realtors, the median sold price for single family homes in the Austin area rose 5.9% from January 2015 to January 2015. The increase in the price indicates competition is increasing among buyers as the inventory of homes continues to shrink. Although an overall increase was seen throughout the Austin region, changes in value vary significantly from one MLS area to the next. For example, area 9 (in Travis County) saw an 75.1% increase in January compared to the previous year, and nearby area 8E saw a decrease of 27.2% . Also, there are many other factors that contribute to the market value of each individual home besides the market changes in your home’s area. Use the information below as a guide to determine whether your tax appraisal is a fair assessment.


How to Appeal Your Property Taxes

If you believe your property valuation is higher than the current market value, you should appeal your taxes. When people don’t appeal, the taxing authority accepts that their value is correct which affects all homeowners in a given area. By appealing the assessed value, we all help keep our real estate taxing authority valuations in line with market value.

  • File your protest using the protest form available from the County Appraisal District. After you have filed, it can take several months for the Travis County Appraisal District to schedule your informal hearing.
  • At the hearing: The purpose of the informal hearing is for you to present your evidence and facts to support your claim that they have over-valued your Austin home or condo. The following information can be helpful to present at the hearing:
    • Comparable Market Analysis: A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar
    • Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Condition: Do you have foundation issues? Plumbing problems? Anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home should be documented. Take photographs and bring them with you to your hearing.
    • Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Location: Once again, anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home is evidence that you can use in your appeal (ie: if home backs up to a busy street – consider printing off a Google map to document your location).
    • Recently Purchased Homes: If you purchased your home in the last several months, and the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a copy of your settlement statement.
    • Comparable Market Analysis: A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar to yours in size, age, location and type of construction.

A few of things to keep in mind for the day of your hearing:

  1. You are only appealing the county’s assessed value of your home. The Appraisal District is responsible for setting the appraised value, they have nothing to do with the tax rate. You are not going to the hearing to protest your tax rate or how much you are paying in taxes.
  2. Be polite and courteous. 
  3. Bring an extra copy of your supporting documentation to leave with the county. Find out more about protesting your tax appraisal at:

Hays County: www.hayscad.com
Travis County: www.traviscad.org
Williamson County: www.wcad.org
Bastrop County: www.bastropcad.org


Frequently Asked Questions

How is tax-assessed value different than market value?

The tax-assessed value is what your county believes your home or condo is worth. The county attempts to set their values at market value. However, they do not evaluate comparables, nor do they perform an individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the house, meaning the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities and condition of the specific home.

Should you appeal your property valuation?

If the market value on your home is lower than your tax-assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value is higher, then you should not appeal.

How do you determine your market value?

You can contact your Realtor who can provide you with market information, collect information from neighbors who have recently purchased their homes, or contract a company who specializes in assisting with tax assessor valuation protests.

When should you receive your property valuation and how long do you have to appeal?

The County Appraisal Districts began mailing property valuations sometime after April 15th. Most homeowners should have received their valuation on or before May 1st. Homeowners have until May 31st, or 30 days from the date they receive their valuation (whichever is later), to appeal.


“Property Tax – Notice of Protest” Form
(can be used for any Texas County)
www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-132.pdf

Information courtesy of Gracy Title