Austin Resources

How to Protest Your Property Value for Property Taxes
Property taxes are local taxes.
Your local officials:

  1. Value your property
  2. Set your tax rates
  3. Collect your taxes

Your most important right as a taxpayer is your right to protest to the appraisal review board (ARB).

What is an Appraisal Review Board (ARB)?
An ARB is a group of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district.  In taxpayer protests, it listens to both the taxpayer and the chief appraiser. The ARB determines if the appraisal district has acted properly.
Should You Protest?
The Appraisal Review Board must base its decisions on evidence. It hears evidence from both the taxpayer and the chief appraiser, and the chief appraiser has the burden of proof in protest hearings. Protest issues that an ARB can consider include:

  1. Is the proposed value of your property too high?
    • Ask one of the district’s appraisers to explain the appraisal. Be sure the property description is correct. Are the measurements for your home or business and lot accurate?

Gather blueprints, deed records, photographs, a survey or your own measurements to contest the appraiser’s decision.

    • Are there any defects not noted in the district’s survey, such as a cracked foundation or inadequate plumbing?

Obtain photographs, statements from builders or independent appraisers.

    • Ask the appraisal district for appraisal records on similar properties in your area. Is there a big difference in their values?

This comparison may show that your property wasn’t treated equally.

    • Ask the appraisal district for the sales that it used.

Collect evidence on recent sales of properties similar to yours from Gentry Group. A real estate agent will:
Use sales of properties similar to yours in size, location and type of construction, use recent sales(sales occurring close to January1 are best), and weigh the costs of preparing a protest against the potential tax savings. Preparing a protest may not be worth the time and expense if it results in only a small tax savings.

  1. Is your property valued unequally compared with other property in the appraisal district?
    • Determine whether the value of your property is closer to market value than other, similar properties.

For example, your property may be appraised at 100 percent of market value, while your neighbors’ properties may be appraised at 90 percent. A protest based on the level of appraisal requires more evidence based on samples and value adjustments.

  1. Did the chief appraiser deny an exemption?

First, find out why the chief appraiser did so. If the chief appraiser denied your homestead exemption, obtain evidence that you owned your home on January 1 and used it as your principal residence on that date.

    • If the chief appraiser denied a homestead exemption for part of the land around your home, show how much land is used as part of your residence.
    • If the chief appraiser denied an age -65 or older or disabled homestead exemption, or a disabled veteran’s exemption, gather evidence to prove you qualify for those exemptions. 
  1. Do the appraisal records show an incorrect owner?

    • Provide records of deeds or deed transfers to prove ownership.

If you acquired the property after January 1, you may protest its value until the ARB approves the appraisal records. The law recognizes both the old and new owners as having an interest in the property’s taxes.

  1. Is your property being taxed by the wrong taxing units?

An error of this sort often is simply a clerical error.

For example, the appraisal records may show your property as located in one school district when it actually is in another.
REMEMBER, The Gentry Group is here to help if you believe your property has been appraised incorrectly.