Junior Staff Reporter (2018 – 2019)
When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2018, property owners in Texas gained more protection and protest power to appeal their assessed property value.1 The Texas legislature agreed the current system was biased against property owners.2 So, they implemented changes that favor property owners and give them a stronger voice in the process.3
In Texas, taxable property is appraised at market value on January 1.4 Market value is the price the property is worth in the current market.5 There are several appraisal districts in Texas that determine the taxable property value within its jurisdiction.6 Each appraisal district uses three approaches to determine the value for taxable property: (1) the market approach; (2) the income approach; and (3) the cost approach.7 The market approach compares similar properties that recently sold and then adjusts for differences between the comparable properties and the one being appraised.8 The income approach is based on what an investor would pay now for the property based on anticipated revenue for the property.9 The cost approach is based on what it would cost to replace the property, including any decrease in value based on age and use.10 These factors help determine the assessed value that is sent to property owners each year. Once the property owner receives a notice of appraised value from their appraisal district, the property owner has the right to protest the value.11
The old system discouraged property owners from protesting their assessed property value by using complicated codes that were difficult for individuals to understand.12 Property owners feared that if they went before the appraisal board in protest, the board would in turn increase the assessed value of the appraisal.13 In short, the process was tedious, and property owners had an unfair chance at successfully protesting their appraisals.
Thus, S.B. 1767 was introduced to reform this process and provide property owners with a fair chance in the protesting process.14 Notable changes are:
(1) any additional increases in assessment values will not occur without consent, and the property owner will have the opportunity to respond to the evidence used to determine the new appraisal value; and
(2) the property owner has the option to present evidence to the board before, after, or between the cases presented by the appraising groups in order to remedy the appraisal district’s advantage.15
Many Texas property owners are unaware of S.B. 1767. This bill went into effect on January 1, 2018; therefore, when Texas property owners receive assessment values with which they disagree, they can confidently appeal the assessment without fear of retaliation. Due to these changes, Texas property owners will no longer need to fear unfair increases as a result of protesting, and should therefore feel at ease if they choose to dispute the county’s appraisal value.
Depending on your county, Texas property owners should receive a property value assessment in early April.16 If the property owner chooses to protest the assessement, they have until May 15th or 30 days from the time they receive the assessment (whichever is later) to file a notice of protest form (Form 50-132).17 A notice of protest form is located on your county’s website.18 Texas property owners should file this form with the county in which they live. After the county receives the notice of protest form, they will schedule an informal hearing and determine the result of the property owner’s increased property taxes.19 As a result of S.B.1767, Texas property owners can participate in this appeal process without fear that they will face repercussions from the Board.
1 Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 41.66 (West 2017).
2 The Senate Research Center, Bill Analysis, (June 12, 2017), http://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/85R/analysis/pdf/SB01767F.pdf#navpanes=0
4 Glen Hegar, Valuing Property, (2017), https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/valuing-property.php
11 Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 41.66 (West 2017).
12 Buckingham, Bill Analysis, (June 12, 2017), http://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/85R/analysis/pdf/SB01767F.pdf#navpanes=0
13 Buckingham, Bill Analysis, (June 12, 2017), http://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/85R/analysis/pdf/SB01767F.pdf#navpanes=0
14 Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 41.66 (West 2017).
16 Taxes Property Tax Assistance: Appraisal Protest and Appeals, (Feb 2019, https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/protests/index.php