The property tax appraisal logic in Texas is this:
- One entity will decide the appraised values of every taxable property in the county. These are called Central Appraisal Districts. There is a chief appraiser overseeing each district.
- Using computer models and site visits, every piece of taxable property is given a value by the CAD. Those values are then published as public record.
- A period of time is then allowed for taxpayers to compare the value that was assessed to their property with assessments of comparable properties.
- If the taxpayer can show that the value assigned to his property is not in line with the comparable properties, he can file a formal written protest with the CAD. That protest must be filed by May 31 of the tax year.
- An informal meeting is then scheduled between a CAD appraiser and the property owner. At that meeting the property owner shows his evidence of value to the appraiser and the appraiser shows his evidence of value to the property owner. A compromise is offered.
- If the property owner is not satisfied with the offer made by the appraiser, he may request a hearing before the Appraisal Review Board.
- The Appraisal Review Board is made of up of other taxpayers in the county; taxpayers who are not employees of the CAD, and whose determinations cannot be overturned by the CAD.
- The ARB committee listens to the evidence presented it by the property owner and the evidence presented by the appraiser. The ARB members ask questions of both, then they determine what the value will be. The CAD must accept that value.
- Home owners who remain unsatisfied with the assigned value have one more option outside of filing suit against the district. They can request binding arbitration. There are several hundred real estate professionals who have been certified by the Texas Comptroller to act as arbitrators. They can hear cases for homes worth less than $1 million. The cost of the arbitration cannot exceed $500, and the loser pays the fee.
The question you must ask is this: How does the CAD's appraised value of my home compare with their appraised values of other like homes?
It has nothing to do with what homes are selling for or have sold for, It has nothing to do with whether or not you think the value is too high or that you can't afford the amount of your taxes. And if you've lived in your home for a few years, it has nothing to do with what you paid for it when you bought it.
Again, the question is this: How does the CAD's appraised value of my home compare with their appraised values of other like homes? If yours is higher, then you protest. And let me again emphasize, this is the only question.
The CAD mentality is this: We'll do our best to appraise and assign accurate values. If the property owners do not file protest, then they must agree. If they agree, then we can conclude that our appraisal is correct.
All of this research information is available at the CAD office in your country and they are required to give it to you. It is also available at the web sites of each CAD. You can Google search by putting in the name of your country followed by CAD. For an example, "Dallas CAD."
If you have further questions, I am a former Appraisal Review Board member and committee chairman, and I am an state appointed arbitrator. Email me at email@example.com.
BILL CHERRY, REAL ESTATE
OUR 43RD YEAR SELLING TEXAS
Copyright 2008 - William S. Cherry