WORKING WITH TEXAS PROTAX
Why should I hire an agent to fight my property taxes?
Hire Texas Protax for the same reason you hire an accountant or attorney.
When you hire Texas Protax, you get experts working on your behalf. In fact, you will be working with the top property tax firm in Central Texas. We have intimate knowledge of the tax laws and district procedures. Choosing us helps to ensure you maximize your tax savings as much as possible. Plus we make the whole process incredibly easy!
How do I become a client?
The easiest way to hire us is by providing your details on our website.
The link is: https://customerportal.texasprotax.com/Signup
The online process is easy. Going through the application helps determine ways to lower your property tax. Once submitted, your application will be sent to a staff member. If something suggests your case is complex, you will get a call or email.
Do you have specific questions? Our staff is available by email and phone to get your answers.
Please be patient during our busy season. Our call volume is especially high through the spring and summer months. If your agent is difficult to reach, do not worry. It may be because of the busy hearing schedules. We appreciate your patience during this time. We have additional staff to help you when your agent is not available. Please feel free to send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much does your service cost? (New for 2021!)
Texas Protax collects one fee at the end of year. The fee is based on our performance. For residential properties, our fee collected at the end of the year is the greater of three fee scenarios:
- The taxable reduction fee is based off of 40% of actual tax dollar savings.
- For properties with exemptions (EX: Homestead), there is a market value reduction fee calculated IF the market value is reduced but doesn’t beat the capped value ($2.50/$1k value reduction).
- The minimum fee is $50/parcel.
For commercial properties, our standard fee is a contingency 33.33% of actual tax dollar savings.
How does Texas Protax stack up to its competition?
You will find that we are not like other property tax firms. Texas Protax Austin is the most successful Property Tax Consultant firm in Central Texas. Property tax representation is our only focus. We are excellent at it and you reap the benefits.
You get the top experts. Our friendly staff draws experience from a variety of backgrounds. By choosing Texas Protax, you get attorneys, Senior Property Tax Consultants, and Licensed Real Estate Agents working on getting the most tax savings for you. We also have expert Fee Appraisers, and even ex-Appraisal District employees to make a team that can’t be beaten. Our experts contribute specialize knowledge to get you more savings.
There is another reason why we the best. We are in a higher league because we have a secret weapon. It is our custom software. It allows us to analyze everything that went into your original tax assessment. Your situation is compared to current real estate data points. It compares favorable sales and property equity in your area. Then we access Travis CAD and Williamson CAD’s live databases for more details. All of the information is considered. Then it identifies all the areas that will reduce your property taxes. It is thorough and delivers outstanding results.
When will I hear from Texas Protax?
We reach out to our clients at the beginning of each year. We send a “Request for Information” form. This allows you to update information that affects the value of the home. Some things to note are refinancing appraisals, incurred damages or new improvements. These are a few areas that influence your property tax protest.
Later in the year, we email clients with their completed hearing results. Usually, it is sent within 24 hours after the appeal. We do not telephone clients with hearing results.
Do you wish to discuss your case? We are here for you. Texas Protax employs full time licensed tax agents to serve as client communication specialists. These dedicated agents do not have an appeal docket. Their job is to remain available to answer your questions about the appeal content and results. They work with our other agents who are active in the field. The field agents focus on resolving a large daily appeal docket. Their busy schedules can make them a little difficult to reach. This is especially true during our busiest time of the year of May, June, July, and August. In the meantime, our client communications specialist will be happy to assist you.
In October the tax rates get set for the year. After that, in November, invoice and account summaries are mailed to you.
Current clients of Texas Protax can access their accounts online at any time. Our online client portal is here: https://customerportal.texasprotax.com. You’ll find all the current properties assigned to your account. You will also see the proposed values and the exemptions applied. Once the hearing has been resolved for the season, there is more information available. You’ll be able to see the before and after value results. After the tax rates are set for the year, you have access to the final invoices. This is when you learn the final tax savings result.
I believe my value is already conservative, why should I appeal?
If you like to save money, you should file an appeal. You might be surprised! When comparing it with similar properties it may not be equal. This inequality is often a basis for a reduction.
Property values can only go up so much each year, right?
No. The market value for every property has no limit to how much it can increase. Property values can go up as much as the Appraisal District dictates. However, you are in luck if you have a homestead exemption. For homestead properties, the amount is limited to no more than a 10% tax increase each year.
What if I want to sell my property – won’t lowering the appraised value mean that I can’t sell the property for as much?
Lowering your tax appraised value should not affect your sale price. Most buyers have an independent appraisal done for the property. The independent appraisal will consider all the qualities, as well as all the issues with the property. The Appraisal District may not have this in-depth information. A lower value at the Appraisal District is a positive selling point. It means the buyer pays less in taxes at closing. It does not mean you have to sell it for a lower amount.
I didn’t do anything to my property – why is the value going up?
Austin’s real estate market is hot. Statistics show over 100 people are moving to the area each day. All of these people need a place to live in and this drives a huge spike in property values. The demand for housing causes an increase in your property value.
What is a fee appraisal and how is it different from county appraisals?
A fee appraisal starts when you decide to purchase or refinance a home. It is a current estimate of the market value of your property. This helps inform lenders when making loan decisions. The results of a fee appraisal are based on comparing the sales of properties.
It is different from a mass appraisal which is also called a county appraisal. A mass appraisal has a heavy reliance on information about property replacement costs.
How does mass appraisal work?
Each year the County Appraisal District (CAD) sets the residential values for the mass appraisal. It is basing this index on the replacement cost of the property.
First, all the properties are grouped by things such as school districts and subdivisions. Then the homes sold from within a group receive analysis. They compare the relationship between the replacement estimate and the actual sale prices. From there, the mass appraisal adjusts according to the market. It is higher, lower, or it stays the same. The adjustment to mass appraisal applies to the whole group.
If the prices tend to be higher than the replacement estimates, it is a positive factor in the market. This influences all the replacement costs in the group. Which in turn, raises the value set for the mass appraisal of all the properties in the group. Likewise, a negative factor in the market lowers the mass appraisal. It is a correlation between the actual sales versus the CAD’s estimates.
I received a Notice of Appraised Value in the mail, what does this mean?
You will get one every year. In April the County Appraisal District (CAD) sends a Notice of Appraised Value to all property owners. This is the CAD’s opinion of the value of your property. The mass appraisal method finds that value and your property tax is based on it. It is important to be aware that the value may not be accurate.
You can contest it. The Texas Tax Code allows property owners to file a protest if they feel the value is not correct. Take advantage of this opportunity! Often a protest helps you get a lower value applied to your property and this will lower your taxes. However, if you do not file a protest, the value will remain final.
Texas Protax makes contesting easy to do every year. Start now. The results can save you a lot of money.
The Appraisal District says my house is bigger than it is! How can I correct it?
There are a couple of ways to determine the square footage. One is by measuring from the inside and the other looks at the entire footprint of the property.
Builder’s plans calculate the square footage by interior measurements. This will produce lower square footage. This may be the number you are familiar with.
However, it is the footprint that counts for tax purposes. The measurements taken from the outside of your property calculate the square footage. The County Appraisal District (CAD), as well as, the Fee Appraiser use this method. Be aware that the differences result because of how the measurements are rounded. The Fee Appraiser will measure to the inch, but CAD will round up to the nearest foot.
If there is a more than a 5% discrepancy, it is worth looking into! Check the blueprints, drawing plans, or a more recent appraisal sketch of the property. Look to see if you are taxed on more square footage than what actually exists. If you are, then have Texas Protax protest it on your behalf. We will get it corrected and you save money on your tax bill.
Why is my property valued higher than my neighbor’s?
Every property is different. Whether it is the square footage, additional details, condition and/or quality ratings, the Appraisal District calculates various factors which come into play when determining your property value. These details are not found on the internet, but Texas Protax has them!
PROPERTY TAX APPEALS AND DEADLINES
When is the deadline to file a protest?
The deadline to file a protest is May 15th or 30 days after the Notice of Appraised Value (NOAV) is printed – whichever is later. If the date on your NOAV is after April 15th, you have an extended deadline. Additionally, if May 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline falls on the next business day.
What are some important property tax deadlines I should know about?
Date of appraisal for the property for that tax year
Deadline to pay your tax bill (for tax bills received prior to January 10th)
Deadline to file for Homestead & Over 65 exemptions for the previous tax year
Last day to file Business Personal Property Renditions and property information reports
Deadline to file annual exemption applications
Deadline to file for 1-d and 1-d-1 agricultural land special appraisal
Deadline to file a protest (for Notices of Appraised Value sent out prior to April 15th)
My protest deadline already passed – is there anything that I can do?
There are options for filing a late protest.
Hopefully, you caught the missed deadline early in the season, like June and July. If so, try writing a letter to the Chairman of the Appraisal Review Board at your County Appraisal District (CAD). In the letter explain why you missed the deadline. It is the Chairman’s discretion whether to grant a hearing. The letter must be from the actual property owner.
If that doesn’t work, do not worry. You can file a late protest based on a substantial overvaluation of your property. This is referred to as a 25.25d protest. This can be tricky, but it is doable. You will need to prove that your property has been at least one-third over-appraised. For example, Mike’s property appraisal is $400,000. He will need to prove that the value is under $300,000 to get any reduction at all.
Another option for a late protest is to correct a mistake. You have 5 years to re-open the appraisal roll again to correct a clerical error.
Things to keep in mind to qualify for a late protest are:
The protest must be filed by the tax payment deadline which is January 31st.
Your taxes must be paid on-time.
If I appeal my taxes this year, will it affect me next year?
Do you have a Homestead Exemption? If yes, then appealing can protect your property value for years to come.
Example: Mary received her homestead exemption in 2019. The value reduces to $100,000 for tax purposes. In 2020, the market spikes and the sales value go to $200,000. Mary is protected. The taxable value is capped with a 10% increase each year. Instead of being taxed at $200,000, her taxable amount is $110,000. Getting the value as low as possible in 2019 cut the 2020 tax bill almost in half! This pattern continues for years to come. Let’s say in 2021, there is another market increase. The sales value of her property shoots up to $300,000. Mary’s taxes will only go up by 10% and that is based on the $110,000 from the year 2020.
Each tax year is separate from other years. New developments in the market happen and tax laws may change. These can affect data that the County Appraisal District (CAD) uses to evaluate your property’s value. It is best to work with Texas Protax because protesting property tax is our only focus. We are proactive to learn the changes and how they affect you.