February is already here and that means it’s time to prepare for tax season. Today I’ll go over a couple ways to protest your property taxes if you need to.
There are two ways to protest your property taxes: hiring a company or doing it yourself. If you hire a company, they will take a percentage, so I’m going to give you a few tips on doing it yourself.
When you get the letter in the mail, you will send it back after checking to make sure you feel your property is over market value and that it’s not equivalent to other properties. If you only check one box, you can only protest under that pretense.
You also want to get a package from the county that shows what they will use against you. Do your research and find out what properties they will use to hold up their argument that your property is worth what was stated in the letter. They may use properties that are in a better location or that you know are worth more because of the age or updates. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
If there is anything wrong with your property, take pictures. Some issues may be an old A/C unit, old roof, or anything that will help you determine that your home value is a little bit less. Make sure you take film photos instead of digital photos so you can physically present the pictures.
“THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE BETTER PREPARED YOU’LL BE.”
If you go to a formal hearing, bring five copies of your package with you. You’ll need three for the people representing the county, one to submit to the Harris County Appraisal District, and one for yourself.
You also want to bring a satellite photo. If your property is on a busy street or backs up to a commercial property, the satellite photo will show that it’s in a worse location.
Make sure you research the tax value of a home in your neighborhood and on your street. Are they of equal value? Are they being assessed the same? If they’re not, why not?
Additionally, wait until closer to the end of your protest time to submit your papers. If you submit your papers too early, you won’t have the chance to go and see if other properties similar to yours in your neighborhood have been reduced in value.
This is a great year to protest taxes, so if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to help.