Protesting or Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment in Texas
Texas has one of the highest effective property tax rates in the country, at 1.69% it's well above the national average of 1.07% and could be the reason your most recent Property Tax Assessment has skyrocketed. As the Real Estate market continues to flourish in Texas, the potential for even higher tax assessments continue to grow. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimates that between 30 to 60% of taxable properties in the United States are over-assessed and less than 5% of owners protest or appeal these assessments, leaving you footing the bill!
RealManage has recently partnered with Home Tax Shield, an online service that can help Texans save hundreds of dollar per year all by automating the complicated and time consuming protest/appeal process.
How Your Property Taxes Are Calculated
Property tax rates in Texas are recalculated each year after appraisers have evaluated all the property in the county. They are calculated based on the total property value and total revenue need.
The process starts when a local public official—known as the county tax appraiser—determines your home’s taxable value. In Texas, the taxable value of a residential property is 100% of its “market value” essentially, what it would sell for on the open market. The 100% figure is also known as the assessment ratio. The taxing authorities multiply the taxable value of your property by the current county tax rate to arrive at the amount that you’ll owe.
Local officials set the tax rate, so it varies depending on where you live. There are 254 counties in Texas, each with its own tax rate. You can view each of those counties, and find information about local assessment policies online. While you can't really change the county's tax rate, you can protest the valuation that your home has been assigned if you believe that it is too high.
Determining If Your Property Valuation Is Too High
If you've recently received your tax assessment in the mail and think that the valuation might be too high there are a couple of steps you should take to ensure that the information is not only accurate but being assessed correctly.
- Check the Data - It's possible that the tax record for your home contains incorrect or incomplete information leading to a higher assessment. Request a copy of the tax record for your property from your county tax appraiser's office. Check for errors in the documentation like those listed below:
- Is your home correctly classified as residential property?
- Is the size of your home and the lot size correctly stated?
- Does the record accurately list the number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Does the record list improvements that were not made?
- Is the age of your home accurately stated?
- Is the purchase price accurate?
- Check the County's Tax Value of Similar Homes - Just like when purchasing or selling a home, it's important to know what the homes around you are being valued at so you can get a better idea of your homes current value. Focus on homes that have approximately the same square footage as yours and are located in the same neighborhood. If similar homes have a taxable value lower than yours, this is strong evidence that you’re over-assessed. These records can be obtained through your county tax appraiser's office.
- Check Sales Prices for Similar Homes That Sold Last Year - If there are homes in your neighborhood that sold in the previous calendar year, it can help determine the value of your property in comparison. Try to avoid gathering data from transactions in which the buyer has purchased a home from a relative, or at a foreclosure or property tax sale. The sales prices in such transactions may be artificially low and won’t be convincing evidence of true market value. These records can be obtained through your trusted Real Estate agent.
The Effects Of Lowering Your Assessment
You may know that the property taxes you pay go toward your local entities and fund things like roads, schools and other infrastructure but paying more than your fair share can result in long term issues for you and your neighbors! Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and how our expert partners at Home Tax Shield responded.
- Will lowering my property tax assessment affect my home's resale price or endanger my equity? Tax assessments and home appraisals are not the same thing similar to asking price and fair market value. Having your property tax assessment be overly high can actually be an issue when selling your home in cases where the market asking price may be lower than your assessment, Mortgage Lenders will not underwrite a mortgage so if your looking to sell there's no reason to continue paying higher than tax bills. Equity is also not associated to your tax assessment but rather an appraisal value and determined by your mortgage payments.
- How does my tax assessment affect my neighbors? Tax assessments often rely on the assessor evaluating neighboring homes and often, especially in subdivisions, the prices are raised and lowered based on other similar properties but they can't always account for things like a smaller total square footage or private exemptions. By working together as a community, you can ensure that the assessment valuations are kept lower across the board so that no one is overpaying.
- How much can I save? There are various factors that can affect your savings from the price of your home to new developments in your county. Every year will be different and every owner will get different results but the average savings in the State of Texas is around 5.2%.
- When do I need to file an appeal? Depending on when you got your tax assessment letter, you may only have a total of 30 days to appeal. Assessment letters are being sent out as we speak in Texas or may have already been delivered in some counties. Each county may have a different time table but you can check the status of your county by selecting it from the Texas Comptrollers website.
- How much will appealing cost? Right now Home Tax Shield in partnership with RealManage is offering a special discounted price to all RealManage communities. You'll pay just $15 to start the process and only 30% of whatever savings we are able to secure for your home.
- Can I appeal without a service? You can appeal your tax assessment on your own but it can take hours, may require inconvenient trips during working hours to the local county assessor's office and you may not be able to get the most savings. That's where the experts at Home Tax Shield come in - They make filing an appeal easy, with a simple online platform and local experts that will make sure you pay the lowest assessment possible.
File Your Appeal Today with Home Tax Shield
The partnership between Home Tax Shield and RealManage means a guaranteed savings when you sign up online via our partners page. It's really simple and will only take a few minutes to sign up and some basic information about your home. Start by checking out your potential savings by entering your address and see what you could be saving. Remember that you only have 30 days to appeal after receiving your assessment letter so get started today!