Advice | Economy | Real Estate

When and How to Protest your Central Texas Property Taxes


Read time: 3 minutes

Why Protest Property Taxes?

You should make it a yearly effort to protest your property value taxes. Protesting your taxes could save you several hundred to several thousand dollars over time.

In 2020, the Travis County appraisal roll increased 5% to $287.2 billion, led by more than $6 billion in new construction and value increases in office, industrial and multifamily properties, as indicated in Austin American-Statesman.

Why Is Tax-assessed Value Different Than Market Value?

The tax-assessed value is what your county believes your property is worth. The county attempts to set their values at a market value. However, they do not evaluate comparables nor do they perform an individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the house. Meaning, the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities, and condition of the specific home.

How Do you Determine your Market Value to Protest Property Taxes?

You can determine your home’s market by unlocking home sale prices by registering on RealtyAustin.com  and assessing comparables in your neighborhood. You can also use our Property Valuation Tool to determine a rough estimate of your home’s market value. Contact your Realty Austin agent if you need help understanding market information, collecting information from neighbors who have recently purchased their homes, or contracting a company that specializes in assisting with tax assessor valuation protests.

Should you Appeal your Property Valuation?

If the market value on your home is lower than your tax assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value is higher, then you should not appeal.

When Should you Receive your Property Valuation and How Long Do you Have to Appeal?

The County Appraisal Districts began mailing property valuations in early April. Most homeowners should have received their valuation on or before May 15th. Homeowners have until 30 days from the date they receive their valuation to appeal.

How to Protest Property Taxes

If you believe your property valuation is higher than the current market value, you should appeal your taxes. When people don’t appeal, the taxing authority accepts that their value is correct which affects all homeowners in a given area. By appealing the assessed value, we all help keep our real estate taxing authority valuations in line with market value.

  1. File your protest using the protest form available from the County Appraisal District. After you have filed, it can take several months for the Travis County Appraisal District to schedule your informal hearing.
  2. At the hearing: The purpose of the informal hearing is for you to present your evidence and facts to support your claim that they have over-valued your Austin home or condo.

Present Your Evidence

The following information can be helpful to present at the hearing:

  • Comparable Market Analysis: A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar to yours in size, age, location and type of construction. Use our website to unlock home sale prices and find comparables in your neighborhood.
  • Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Condition: Do you have foundation issues? Plumbing problems? Anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home should be documented. Take photographs and bring them with you to your hearing.
  • Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Location: Once again, anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home is evidence that you can use in your appeal. (ie: if home backs up to a busy street – consider printing off a Google map to document your location.)
  • Recently Purchased Homes: If you purchased your home in the last several months, and the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a copy of your settlement statement.

Things to Keep in Mind for the Day of your Hearing

  1. The Appraisal District is responsible for setting the appraised value, they have nothing to do with the tax rate.
  2. You are not going to the hearing to protest your tax rate or how much you are paying in taxes, you are only appealing the county’s assessed value of your home.
  3. Be polite and courteous.
  4. Bring an extra copy of your supporting documentation to leave with the county.

Find Out More About How to Protest Property Taxes

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