Protesting Your Harris County Property Taxes
Information On How to Reduce Your Property Taxes
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Preparing for your Harris County Appraisal District property tax protest hearing.: 01-Jan-06 
By :  

Texas taxpayers are often uncertain how to prepare for their property tax protest hearing. This posting provides basic tips.

  1. File a protest on both market value and unequal appraisal.
  2. Request the "House Bill 201" or 41.461 package. This is the appraisal district's evidence for the hearing.
  3. Review the appraisal district's description of your property. They refer to it as a "record card".
  4. Review the appraisal district's comparable sales data in the House Bill 201 package.
  5. Even though the appraisal district is not lawfully allowed to present evidence not provided to the taxpayer 14 days before the hearing (if they request it), appraisal districts often ignore this law. It can be very frustrating to be ambushed by illegal evidence at the appraisal review board hearing. However, there is effectively no penalty to punish the appraisal district for this unlawful behavior.
  6. Select several sales which are similar to your home and support a lower value.
  7. In many cases, the appraisal district's House Bill 201 package will contain comparable sale information which supports a reduction. You don't need 10 or 20 sales to support a reduction. In most case, 2 or 3 sales which are comparable to your home (which support a reduction) are adequate.
  8. Review the appraisal district's evidence on unequal appraisal.
  9. Some counties do not provide House Bill 201 evidence for market value or for unequal appraisal. Based upon the Texas Property Tax Code, the taxpayer should automatically prevail if the property owner presents some evidence and the appraisal district does not (or is not lawfully allowed to) present evidence at the hearing. Unfortunately, some appraisal districts and appraisal review boards ignore the law when conducting property tax protest hearings.
  10. Research assessment comparables
  11. Gather information regarding deferred maintenance or repairs needed for your house.
  12. Determine whether market value or unequal appraisal is your best option for protesting.
  13. Prepare a summary of your analysis and make 4 copies (in addition to the original).

Suggested comments - What else have you found helpful in preparing for your property tax protest?

 

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