- The total property taxes owed are a function of the appraised value of your property multiplied by the tax rate set by the local taxing entities.
- You can only protest the appraised value by appealing it and getting a hearing in front of the appraisal review panel.
- If you do not get a good result from that panel, you can file a lawsuit but you have to do it quickly.
Well that is a catchy headline eh? What the heck is Bukowski talking about? The deadline for filing a property tax protest in Texas is May 15. That’s true – but the protest before the local appraisal review panel does not have to be the final step.
And that’s what we are going to talk about this week in the blog. There are a lot of deadlines for property tax protests – and certainly May 15 is a big one. But even if you did not have much success in front of your local panel, you still have an opportunity to lower your taxes. And by the end of this article, you will know exactly how to do that.
Counties Releasing Proposed Rates
We have discussed this before in the blog, but when we talk about lowering your property taxes, we specifically mean lowering the appraised value of your property. That’s because your taxes are a function of two different values – the appraised value of your commercial real estate multiplied by the tax rate set by the local taxing entities.
As a property owner, you have no control over the tax rate that the local entities set. You can only protest your appraised value. That’s how you lower the property taxes.
Under Texas law, the taxing entities are required to publish or notify taxpayers of their proposed tax rates before they finalize them. Some counties have an estimated tax calculator that you can use to determine what your taxes will likely be. Travis County, for example, has recently updated its tax calculator with the new proposed rates. You can, therefore, see your potential tax bill by entering your address at that site.
You May Still be able to Lower Your Taxes
For a property owner, therefore, all that is left is to fight the appraised value of your property. And if you are still reading this blog, you likely know that the deadline the protest those appraised values is May 15 (usually). That is generally a hard deadline and if you did not protest before it, its unlikely you will be able to lower the values this year.
But if you did protest and got a bad result at the formal hearing before the local appraisal board, you still have another option. A property owner has the right to appeal the panel result to a district court. But it must be done quickly.
Generally, a property owner has to file the lawsuit within 60 days of when you receive the Panel’s notice of award from the formal hearing. That means the property owner has to act quickly.
These lawsuits are quite common. There are many filed every year throughout the state. Once you file one, the appraisal district will hire a lawyer to represent it and then the negotiations begin. To get a good resolution, it is often necessary to hire an expert to do a full appraisal of the property. But when that is done, it is our experience that appraisal districts are frequently willing to negotiate and reach a settlement on what the appraised value of your property should be.
So bottom line – if you protested your property taxes and did not get a satisfactory result from the local panel, you can still file a lawsuit to appeal that result. But YOU MUST DO IT QUICKLY. There is a strict deadline to file the suit. So please do not delay. And if you need help, call us at Bukowski Law Firm at 512-614-0335. We are glad to help.