Advaloremtax.net answers commonly asked personal property tax and accounting questions. Click on a question below to reveal the answer.
When is the deadline to protest my property value?
In Texas, the deadline to protest property values is May 15 or 30 days after the appraisal district sends notice of the assessed value, whichever is later. The appraisal district is required to send notice if the assessed value is increased by more than $1,000 from the prior year’s value. In most cases, the deadline is May 15. If the 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is the following business day.
How can you reduce my property taxes?
Advaloremtax.net is a full service property tax consulting firm. The tax consultants at Advaloremtax.net. have a diverse body of knowledge and experience that enables us to prepare for and resolve almost any property tax situation. We understand the intricacies and complexities of the appraisal process and will use our knowledge and insight to aggressively challenge and resolve your tax assessment. Our goal is to obtain the lowest possible property tax assessment allowed by law.
Is there a fee if you don’t reduce my property value?
No. There are no hidden fees and absolutely no fees unless we reduce your property taxes. If we do not lower the appraised value, we will send you an invoice for zero due, to show we at least attended the hearing to reduce your property taxes.
Do you help me after the first year?
Yes. Our Agreement will remain in effect until you cancel it. We will continue protesting each year and send you a bill only if we reduce your property tax assessment for that year. Under a contingent fee Agreement there are no subsequent costs unless tax savings are generated in subsequent years. You may cancel the Agreement at any time with 30 days notice.
If I want to hire you, what do I need to do?
To get started, we will need a couple of forms signed by you. We will ask you to fill out a survey that provides us with relevant information about your property. Also, we will need an Appointment of Agent form. Before the appraisal district will allow us to represent you, we must file this signed form with them. Depending on the property type, we may ask you for some additional information. After that, we will prepare for and attend the protest hearing.
I did my own construction work to save money, but my assessment went up as much as if I’d hired a general contractor. Shouldn’t my assessment reflect the actual cost of the work?
Assessments are based on fair market value. Whether you did the work yourself or hired a general contractor, the value is in the end product. Any additional improvements to an existing structure adds, what is known as, “contributory value.” This value is not based on cost, but rather the added value it “contributes” to the overall worth of the property.
Why do assessments change from year to year?
Assessed values should generally follow the market trends. When the market is flat there should be little change in the overall assessments. It is also possible for some areas of a municipality to increase in value, while others may decrease. In fact, an across-the-board change for all parcels is the exception, rather than the rule. Properties in some areas or neighborhoods, such as around lakes or business districts, often increase in value faster than other areas. It is important to remember that the assessor does not create the value. The real estate marketplace establishes the values. It is the assessor’s duty and responsibility to understand these values and assess your property accordingly.
Should I hire you or should I do it myself?
The advantage of hiring us is you have a full-time professional armed with vast databases and an understanding of the property tax protest process.
Who is Advaloremtax.net – and how can you reduce my property taxes?
Advaloremtax.net was formed in December, 1999 to be the best real estate property tax consulting firm in Texas. We have developed an organized process for compiling and analyzing data for each property we represent. This includes researching the public records for the subject property, examining recent sales of similar properties in the vicinity of the subject and performing an assessment comparable analysis (Uniform and Equal analysis). Commercial and Multifamily properties are often inspected and photographed to help reduce the taxable value.
In 2009, Advaloremtax.net filed more than 7,000 protests, effectively reducing our client’s assessed values by over $3.44 billion, cutting their taxes by over $8.4 million. Our service area includes but is not limited to Harris and surrounding counties such as Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Montgomery and Waller. Our firm does represent properties outside of this area on a case by case basis depending on property type, value and location.
How are my tax savings calculated?
For the tax year in question, subtract the property’s final assessed value (after the protest hearing) from its initial noticed value. Then multiply the difference by the previous year’s total tax rate. The resulting number equals the amount of tax savings. For example, if the initial assessed value is $100,000 and the final assessed value achieved by Advaloremtax.net is $90,000 and your tax rate is 3%, property taxes saved are $300.
What if I have an appraisal cap?
If your house is assessed at $275,000, but you have an appraisal cap of $250,000, that places the taxable limit at $250,000. If Advaloremtax.net reduces the value to $245,000, the tax savings are estimated by multiplying the ad valorem tax rate in effect during the preceeding year by $5,000.
I know that my property is appraised for less than I can sell it for. Should I still consider an appeal?
Yes. The appraised value of the property must be equitable. If similar properties in the neighborhood are appraised for less, the appraised value of your property is too high.
What if the appraised value did not change from last year?
While the appraised value did not change, resale values continuously change and require ongoing review to insure that the appraised value conforms to the current market.
When is the property tax appeal fee due?
The property tax appeal fee is billed following the tax protest hearing, and it is due 30 days upon receipt.
If there was an over 65 exemption on my property when I took ownership can I keep the exemption?
The county has the right to back charge taxes plus interest for up to five years, if they discover that an over 65 exemption no longer applies to a property.
When and how do I claim my homestead exemption?
When you bought your house you probably signed or received a homestead exemption form when you were at the title company, signing documents for the closing. If for some reason a form was never sent to your local appraisal district, Advaloremtax.net can help you file your homestead exemption form.
Is there a deadline to file my homestead exemption?
You have until January 31st of the year after your taxes are due. (i.e. If your taxes were due in 2009 you have until January 31, 2011 to file your exemption.) Pay your taxes as billed and on time. The county will refund the difference once your homestead exemption is approved.
What do I do if the county has incorrect appraisal information on record for my property?
Contact us. We will work with the Appraisal District to rectify any incorrect information shown on your property record. This would be done while protesting your property value and could contribute to lowering the appraised value on your property. Pay your taxes as billed and on time.
What do I do if the county and/or tax jurisdictions have incorrect mailing address or ownership name wrong on my account?
Contact us. We will work with the Appraisal District to correct information shown on your property record. Many property owners will send a note with their tax payment. The appraisal district should be notified in writing on their prescribed form and they will in turn notify the tax jurisdictions. Pay your taxes as billed and on time.
What are the benefits of a homestead exemption?
For every year that you have a homestead exemption, your taxing jurisdiction allows a percentage reduction from your appraised value. Also, so long as you have a homestead exemption, the appraised value of your home can only increase 10% during a given year, plus any new building permit value for remodeling or additions.
What is the difference between my market value and my appraised value?
The market value of a property is the amount that the district believes your property could sell for if on the open market. The appraised value is often times known as your “cap,” if you have a homestead exemption. This means that even if your market value continues to increase, your appraised value can only increase 10%. In order to obtain any tax savings, property values must be cut below the appraised value.
If I am unsatisfied with the final value, do I have any other legal recourse?
Often times, this question depends on your situation. If you are unsatisfied with a value settled in an informal hearing, we can attempt to file a correction on your behalf. However, if your property was settled formally you have the legal option to request binding arbitration or appear before district court, depending on the value of your property. As of 2010, binding arbitration is available to all residential properties with Homestead Exemptions regardless of value. If the appraised value of your residential property is a million dollars or less, you have the right to file an appeal for binding arbitration; if the appraised value is over a million dollars you have the right to go before district court or binding arbitration. Also, commercial properties valued under $1,000,000 may also file for binding arbitration. Once you receive an ARB order, you have 45 days to request arbitration.
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If you need additional information, please call Advaloremtax.net at (281) 957-9600, or e-mail us.