graphic of a small house labelled 'property tax' resting upon a pile of coins

A Guide to Protesting Austin Texas Property Tax

The old adage, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” should be changed to, “Nothing is certain except death and the consistent rise in taxes.” April is a tough month. That’s when you receive a piece of mail from the appraisal district, telling you the assessed value of your home for property tax purposes. Did you know that if you’re not satisfied with the appraised value of your property or if there are errors, you can challenge the appraisal? Doing so may help bring down your Austin Texas Property Tax. So, how do you get started? Keep reading.

Step 1: Go over your appraisal notice — carefully

In April, you’ll receive a letter outlining the appraised value of your property; this value goes toward calculating your Austin Texas property taxes. Take a close look, keeping an eye out for such things as:

  • Excessive value: you believe the value placed on your home is too high
  • Incorrect square footage: the square footage listed is more than the true size of your home
  • Unequal appraisal: comparable homes in your neighborhood are appraised lower
  • Failure to grant exemptions such as to those who are age 65 or older, disabled or veterans

If you’ve found reason to protest your property value notice, move on to step 2.

Step 2: File a Notice of Protest with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB)

Okay, the first thing you’ll need to do is file a Notice of Protest with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB)

You’ll only have until May 15 to file your appeal, so you have to be sure to move fast. You can file by using the form on the back of the “Notice of Appraised Value” that you received, or you can file your protest online. Be sure to fill it out completely and carefully, making sure to include the appropriate information.

When you file your Austin Texas property tax appeal online, appraisal district staffers can review your information and decide whether to offer you a settlement, potentially without you having to attend a hearing in person.

Did you know that the number of protests initiated in Travis County in 2017 was 126,595?

Step 3: Meet with the appraiser

Once you’ve filed the “Notice of Protest,” you’ll receive information on a date and time for an informal meeting and a formal hearing before the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). During the informal meeting, you’ll meet with an appraisal staff member. Be prepared to show the appraiser any documented evidence to support your perspective regarding the value of your property. If your home’s value is reduced by a certain amount and you accept it, the protesting process ends there. If the appraiser at the informal meeting is unable to resolve the issue, you’ll appear before the ARB for a formal hearing.

Did you know that in 2017, $18,568 was the median amount of market valuation reduced from residential properties after protesting?

Step 4: Appear before the ARB

You’ll receive a copy of the Texas Comptroller’s Property Taxpayer Remedies pamphlet that offers advice on how to prepare for the formal hearing. In addition, you’ll receive a copy of the ARB Formal Hearing Procedures which will explain the procedures to be used in a hearing.

The hearing lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and the ARB will hear evidence presented by the property owner and the district appraiser.

Note: you have the right to view the information that the appraisal district plans to introduce as evidence in establishing your property value. To evaluate this information, you must put in a request for it in advance.

Following the presentation of evidence on both sides, the panel will make a decision relating to your protest.

For more detailed information on the entire process of protesting your appraised value, visit the Appraisal Review Board website.

Good News! Habitat Hunters can help.

Habitat Hunters offers free market data to our clients who have purchased homes through us. If you haven’t purchased a home through Habitat Hunters, we can still provide you with this data for a flat fee. This particular information can help you determine whether or not you should protest the property tax and the approach you should take.

Contact us today for advice on how to effectively protest your Austin Texas property tax.