Each year, Texan homeowners must pay property taxes to the local taxing units. If you own a home in San Antonio, you have probably grown accustomed to receiving a tax bill in the mail sometime around October. Imagine your surprise to open your mail and find out that your tax bill is significantly higher than previous years. There are a number of factors that go into determining your property taxes, but if your taxes are much higher than they were before, it is not unlikely that you are the victim of an over assessment.
Tax Protest Signs
It’s a proven fact that those who protest their property taxes end up paying less than those who don’t do anything about it.
Although there is a science behind determining property values, it is important to know that assessors make a lot of assumptions about properties, which can in turn lead to errors down the road in tax assessments. Even basic errors like the wrong square footage or number of units can have an influence on the assessed amounts. Another common mistake made by assessors is attaching a property’s real estate value to the sale price.
The truth of the matter is there is that you should protest your taxes every single year, whether you believe that the assessment is correct or incorrect. By protesting on a yearly basis, you could end up saving yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time.
How to Protest
The first step to protesting is, you guessed it, filing a protest. A universal form can be found here for ease of reference, or you can send in a letter indicating that you are protesting your taxes. Either way, be sure to include that the basis is both assessed value over market value and equal appraisal.
The next step is to research your property. Request a copy of your property record card from the assessing unit or you may even be able to find the information online. The record card gives you an overview of your property, including square footage, lot size, construction information, as well as many other important details that play into the property’s value. Any discrepancies on the property record card is a basis for a protest.
Last step is to prepare for your hearing. This means planning out your argument and gathering evidence.
What is most important is to not go to the hearing with a sad story of how you cannot afford to pay your taxes. The Board does not have any control over lowering your taxes per se. The Board can only determine property values, which in turn can result in lowering of your taxes.
One of the most useful pieces of information you can gather is to request House Bill 201 evidence. If you request this information, the assessing unit must send you all of the evidence they plan to use at the hearing within 14 days of the hearing. This gives you an inside scoop on how they arrived at your final assessment for the year. This also gives you the opportunity to discount their evidence and plan for your rebuttal. Other important documentation you can utilize at your hearing may include recent sales of properties in the area that are comparable to yours, or pictures of any repair problems on your property, as well as any other negative things that surround your property. The more information you can provide to support your case, the better your outcome will be.
Although you can protest all on your own, you’re likely to get a better outcome with a professional by your side. At O Connor tax protest, we’ve been helping property owners lower their taxes since 1974. We do San Antonio protests as well as protests in many other areas around the state of Texas. What’s even better is that you will pay nothing unless your taxes are reduced.