If you are a homeowner or property owner in Texas, then you may be dreading your yearly property tax payment. Property taxes in Texas are some of the highest in the country. The average property tax rate in the Lone Star State is 1.8%, but in some metropolitan areas such as Houston and Austin, it can be more than 2%. That means that the average homeowner in these areas could be paying upwards of $6,000 in taxes for their properties.
Every 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 the property in question. The mass appraisal method finds that value and your property tax is based on it. This value is not always accurate, which means that every year, property owners have a chance to appeal the tax amount they are being charged. Often a protest helps you get a lower value applied to your property and this will lower your taxes. However, if property owners do not file a protest in time, the value will remain final.
That’s why it is important for homeowners and property owners in Texas to know the deadlines for filing property taxes and appeals. If you own a home or commercial property in Texas, here are some dates to mark on your calendar:
- January 1: This is the date of appraisal for a property for that tax year.
- January 31: This is the deadline to pay your property tax bill (for tax bills received prior to January 10th). It is also the deadline to file for a Homestead Exemption or one of more than 65 property tax exemptions for the previous tax year.
- April: This is the month in which notices of appraised values will be mailed to property owners.
- April 15: This is the deadline to file Business Personal Property Renditions and property information reports.
- April 30: This is the deadline to file annual exemption applications as well as the deadline to file for 1-d and 1-d-1 agricultural land special appraisal
- May 15: This is the deadline to file a protest for Notices of Appraised Value (NOAV) sent prior to April 15. 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.
You have the right to appeal your property tax rate every year, even if your home value did not go up or if you believe the appraisal estimate was conservative. If you are not satisfied with the valuation of your property by your local appraisal district, you can submit a protest and attempt to lower your rate.
It is important to submit your paperwork and payments by the deadlines listed above. However, 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, don’t 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. Another option for a late protest is to correct a mistake. You have five years to re-open the appraisal roll again to correct a clerical error. To qualify for a late protest, the protest must be filed by the tax payment deadline which is January 31st, and your taxes must be paid on time.
Texas Protax is a property tax consulting firm serving Austin, Houston, and Central Texas. Contact us today to learn how we can help you appeal your property tax rate in Houston.