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Posted by on in Property Tax Appeals

The most important thing to know about Property Tax Appeals is the protest deadline.  The appeal process can vary from locality to locality.  So does the amount of time that you will be permitted to make an appeal.  In some jurisdictions, you will only have a few weeks to file your appeal.  In Texas, the protest deadline is May 31st.  Since the deadline falls on Saturday this year, it is extended until Monday, June 2nd.  If you want to appeal the property tax valuation file the protest form before the deadline.  You can always withdraw the protest if you decide not to fight the valuation, but if you miss the deadline the value will remain unchanged. 

Once you have filed the protest form now you have to build a case.  Complaining that your taxes are too high won't help.  What you will need are cold, hard facts about your property and its valuation.   Your assessment can be appealed based on a mistake made in the assessment or an assessment that is considerably higher than the value of other comparable properties. 

Property tax appeals can help resolve any mistakes made in the assessment.  The mistake that is easiest to identify is that your property is over assessed.  The challenge in a property tax appeal is determining what smaller mistakes caused the over assessment.

Tax appraisers rely on mass appraisal techniques, applying market rents, occupancies and other information in a submarket to derive values.  These rents and occupancies are often higher than what the property actually collects, resulting in over-assessed property values.  The tax appraiser can also have incorrect information.  Incorrect year built, size and other physical characteristics will effect the property valuation.   

Hiring a reliable, experienced tax consultant can help identify flaws in your property's valuation and prevent you from being over-taxed. 

If the data looks in your favor the next step is to meet with the assessor.  If they do not agree to reduce the valuation or can not meet with you informally then it is necessary to attend a formal hearing.  At the formal hearing, each side is given a certain amount of time to present their evidence to a panel of citizens.  It is very important to be well-organized, communicate effectively and have copies of your materials for each panel member. 

Getting expert assistance to save time and reinforce your property tax appeal is almost always worth the price.  At Property Tax Advocates we are experts in our respective jurisdictions and understand the local markets and effective arguments to make to leverage the best return.  We use our knowledge and expertise to help make your property tax appeals successful.

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Sitting in a large appraisal district waiting room is something property tax consultants are very familiar with.  That is where I find myself today.  The day began earlier than normal, catching the first flight from Dallas to Houston.  I hurry to get my rental car only to sit in rush hour traffic making my way north on I45.  I arrive at the Appraisal District and check in at 8:15am for my scheduled 8:45am hearing.  The wait begins.  I review my file and mentally prepare for the impending hearing.  Time passes and I realize the hours of planning and preparation from earlier this week have paid off, I am ready.  Now after 9:00am I listen for my name as multiple people are called in for hearings.  I check emails on my phone trying to remain patient.  Finally, 9:45am my name is called and I am escorted back through a labyrinth of hallways to the board room.

The property I am representing is very complex.  It is part of a government program providing low income housing that restricts who can rent and for how much.  I am also making the argument that the appraisal district has classified the property incorrectly.  To further complicate things this hearing is for the 2012 valuation and here we are two years later.  The appraiser representing the district has to make a call to the supervisor for guidance.  After making my closing argument the Appraisal Review Board closes the hearing and begin deliberating among themselves.  This is the longest five minutes of the day.  Will they rule in favor of the appraisal district, the property owner or somewhere in-between?

The hearing was a success!  The boards decision set the value slightly over my requested number resulting in tax savings of over $95,000.  The early flight, rush hour traffic and the busy waiting room were now distant memories. 

This property hearing is a perfect example of when an owner should seek out the help of experienced property tax consultants.  The property is very complex and requires a level of expertise that can only be found in a property tax consultant.  The owner may understand the complexity of the property but it is the knowledge of how the appraisal district values these properties, what arguments can be made against the valuation and how to effectively communicate all of this to the Appraisal Review Board.

Property tax consultants help owners/clients reduce the amount of time they have to spend worrying about property taxes.  Property tax consultants minimize the owner's time requirement and the expense of traveling to an Appraisal Review Board hearing.  Considering the travel time, the wait time and the hearing itself, an entire day can be spent on one property hearing.  This does not include the amount of time required to gather information and prepare for each hearing.   

Property Tax Advocates uses proprietary strategies and our wealth of experience to deliver both traditional and innovative solutions to our clients that are specifically tailored to achieve their property tax objectives and improve their bottom line.  We do so by limiting the number of accounts our property tax consultants are responsible for.  This helps achieve the results our clients have grown to expect. 

Our property tax consultants work to build a long lasting relationship with each client and are always available to respond to any question or concern that may arise.  If you are looking for an experienced property tax consultants please contact us today!

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Property Tax Advocates believes the right to protest your property tax is the single most important right you have as a taxpayer. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by any Appraisal District you must file a protest to have your issue heard. Although there are numerous other reasons in which to protest your property taxes these are the most common:

VALUE TOO HIGH - This could be based on something as simple as incorrect information on the appraisal district records, such as lot size, building size, etc. It could also be due to situations that the appraisal district is unaware of, such as structural defects or tenant issues. This is the most common type of protest and is most likely the result of the appraisal district simply being too aggressive and believing your property is worth more than it really is. Property Tax Advocates will determine the true fair market value by analyzing local sales and the income of your property to determine if your property value is in fact too high.

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1) Expertise - A property tax consultant must be an expert in real estate valuation, property tax laws and property tax appeals.  A strong knowledge of these three aspects is what makes a property tax consultant valuable.   

In real estate valuation the three approaches to value are the Income Approach, Cost Approach and the Sales Approach.  In Texas property tax appeals we use a fourth approach know as the equity approach.  The equity approach compares the values of similar properties to determine a median level of appraisal.  A property tax consultant should understand each approach and know which approach is most appropriate and beneficial for the owner.

In Texas, property tax reductions can be negotiated in one of two ways: by demonstrating that the market value of a property is less than the appraisal district's proposed value or by demonstrating that the property is overvalued when compared to "a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted".  This latter method of appraisal, commonly referred to as the Equity Method of Appraisal, takes precedence over the market value appraisal. 

Its intent is to ensure that properties are being valued in a fair and equitable manner with competing properties after adjusting for differences in the properties.  Consequently, newly purchased properties may receive property tax reductions below their purchase prices if they are being appraised inordinately high when compared to other properties.

Posted by on in Property Tax Protest

As another successful appeal season draws to an end, there is still important work to be done. Appraisal Review Boards are mailing final orders which provide written notice of their decisions. These final orders also serve as our starting point for possible litigation. From this point we have 60 days to file a lawsuit with district court and 45 days to file Binding Arbitration. We review every ARB ruling, analyzing the results and comparing our value to similar competing properties to determine if further appeal is recommended.

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