Property Tax Protest FAQ

Protesting Property Tax Values in Austin, TX

 

Austin Mortgage LenderHow do I protest my appraised value?

You can find a protest form on the reverse side of your notice of appraised value or one may be downloaded online. Although the appraisal district has protest forms available, they are not necessary. A notice of protest is adequate if it:

  • Identifies the owner of the property
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  • Identifies the property that is the subject of the protest
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  • Indicates that you are dissatisfied with a decision of the appraisal district

 

What is the deadline for filing a protest?

It is best to file a written protest either by May 31, or up to 30 days after the appraisal district mailed you a notice of appraised value, whichever is later.

 

Can I file a protest after my deadline?

If you file a protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, the board will decide if you are entitled to a hearing based upon your reason for failing to submit the protest on time.
 
If the chief appraiser or ARB failed to send you a required notice of appraised value or denial of exemption or agricultural appraisal causing your protest to be submitted late, then you may file your protest any time before the taxes become delinquent.
 
In some rare cases, you may file with ARB to correct an error even after these deadlines. If you recognize or have questions about any clerical errors, substantial value errors, double taxing or other possible errors, you should inquire at your appraised district office.

 

What is an ARB?

An Appraisal Review Board, or ARB, is a group of citizens selected by the appraisal district’s board of directors. This appointed group is authorized to settle disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal districts. Because the ARB is a separate body from the Travis Central Appraisal District, they take no part in day-to-day operations of the appraisal district. Although, when it comes to resolving protests and/or challenges, the ARB can order the chief appraiser to modify a value or correct the appraisal records.

 

When will my hearing occur?

The ARB typically starts hearing on or around June 1st. The ARB will notify you by letter of the date, time and place of your formal hearing fifteen days before it is scheduled to occur. The ARB for the Travis Central Appraisal District assembles at the appraisal district offices in meeting rooms that have been designated for their use.

 

What can I do to prepare for a protest hearing?

Your notice of protest hearing letter will contain copy of the Texas Comptrollers Texas Property Taxes: Taxpayer Rights, Remedies and Responsibilities pamphlet, which offers suggestions on how to prepare for your ARB hearing. You will also receive a copy of the ARB Formal Hearing Procedures which explains the procedures to be used in a hearing.
 
Also, the appraisal district website is yet another resource you may use in your preparation for your hearing. You may even visit the appraisal district offices to look over and/or acquire copies of the data, schedules, formulas and any other information the chief appraiser intends to introduce at your hearing. If you choose to request actual copies of the information, the cost may not surpass $15 per residential property protested or $25 per commercial property.
 
Make sure that you arrive at your hearing prepared and have any additional documents or information that will help make your case.

 

A couple of things necessary for most hearings include:

  • Bring in copies of your signed Settlement Statement if your protest is that you recently purchased your home and the appraisal district has it valued higher than your purchase price.
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  • Bring photos, engineering reports or written estimates for repair deficiencies if your protest is that the condition of your home affects the value (Cracked slab, new roof, etc.)

 

Lastly, remember these useful tips when protesting your case:

  • Be on time and be prepared
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  • Stick to the facts of your presentation
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  • Keep your case simple and keep it well organized
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  • Stress the key facts and figures of your case
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  • Keep your emotional argument out of your presentation, and only provide the ARB with the facts

 

Must I be present at the formal ARB hearing in order to resolve my protest?

No, you do not have to attend a formal ARB hearing in order to resolve your protest. There is a possibility that you could resolve your protest informally with an appraiser prior to the scheduled formal hearing. It is still recommended that you bring all of the appropriate documentation to the informal meeting as you would the formal meeting so that the appraiser may review it. Depending on your individual situation, a few ideal things to provide are sales and comparables, repair estimates, and/or photographs. Also, if you have recently purchased your home, you may need to bring in a copy of your closing statements, fee appraisal or other related documents. If you are not capable of resolving your protest informally, you will need to attend the formal hearing with the ARB.