Protest High-Rocketing Property Taxes


By Dinesh Shah

HOUSTON: The property owners need to understand the relationship of government spending, real estate market, property values, and tax rates, which affect property taxes. All across the state, the increase in taxes have received more attention and criticism since last several years.

In the last five to six years, the commercial property taxes have tripled while market values have only doubled, and for homeowners is also up averaging about $4,000 yearly. Remember, each year stands on its own. You need to attempt reducing your property taxes every year, even though the assessed value has not changed or even it is less than its market value.

Due to lack of awareness and knowledge, only 10% or less of property owners file a protest and appeal each year. The following information will give you more details about the protest process.

How is your property valued? The local appraisal district first collects detailed descriptions of each taxable property in the district, and then classifies them according to a variety of factors, such as size, use and construction type. The district also considers variable factors such as age of the property, location, or esthetic value. Then the district establishes “typical” property values to appraise all the properties in each class.

For income producing properties, the district uses three common approaches – market, income and cost. The market approach is most often used on the basis, “What are properties similar to this property selling for in the same area as of January 1?” For the income approach, “What would an investor pay in anticipation of future income from the property?” The third approach related to cost for replacing the property with one of equal utility.

Why other 90 % do not appeal? (1) The property owners thinks the process is overpowering (2) They are uncertain about the successful outcome after the appeal. (3) They think it is a waste of time (4) Some think their home’s assessed value is below market value, so there is no need to appeal. (5) They do not understand they can appeal on unequal appraisal for their property in the same subdivision or area. (6) Some believes that by reducing the assessed value, it will reduce the selling price. (7) They do not know that it is an annual process, and they should file an appeal every year.

Why to appeal? You need to attempt reducing your property taxes every year, if you don’t appeal for protest every year the central appraisal district (CAD) will keep increasing the value of your property each year. It doesn’t cost owner anything to pursue the appeal, and that is the only way to get a fair share.

Where to file an appeal? You can file an appeal online or at the county CAD office.

How to appeal? You can file a protest based on the assessment data, market value comparison, and unequal appraisal. There are three levels to appeal: (1) informal hearing (2) appraisal review board hearing (ARB) and (3) legal judicial appeal.

You must know the facts:

(1) You can appeal though your taxes are lower than last year or assessed for less than market value. (2) Property tax increases are capped at 10% per year. (3) The value cannot be increased at the informal hearing, where most accounts are settled. The assessed value rarely increases at the ARB. (4) The appraisal district will not take revenge, if you or your agent protest for you even every year. (5) If the district has wrong area of your property, and if you request, they will come and measure the property again. (6) Taxes payments dates, taxing units usually mail their tax bills in October. The delinquency date is usually February 1 or the delinquency date is on the bill. In general, January 31 is the deadline for paying property taxes. Taxes that are unpaid on February 1 are delinquent. Penalty and interest charges are added to the original amount. (7) Do not consider your tax assessed value to be indicative of your true market value.

The value changes each year upon the market and the comparable sales during the calendar year affect the property value. (8) Exemptions: you have to apply for the applicable exemptions. Homestead Exemptions and Optional 65 or older or disabled exemptions.

One can qualify for 100 percent disabled veteran’s residence homestead exemption. (9) The religious or charitable organization may receive a property tax exemption for the year in which it purchases qualifying property.

How we can help you? 

 You pay nothing for our services, unless we save you money. We have an experienced licensed consultant team to serve you with over twenty years of accumulating diversified experience and knowledge in business accounting, engineering, technical, general construction, legal, and administration.

We specialize in residential and commercial properties, Business personal property, and vacant land. We protest taxes in all Counties of the Greater Houston Area.

For further questions or filing protest early before May 31 deadlines, please call Mary Pineda of Property Tax Protest Professionals at 281-242-8464.