No one likes to pay any more in taxes than they absolutely must. That includes property taxes, which are taxed based on an appraisal by a local appraisal district. What if the district has placed too high of a value on your commercial property?
If a Texas appraisal district has overvalued your commercial property for tax purposes, you have the right to appeal to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). This is a group of citizens who have been authorized to resolve disputes between appraisal districts and taxpayers, including taxpayer protests.
How do I know my property is over-valued?
It can be difficult to know for sure, but there are some clues:
- There was a large jump in your property value over the previous year
- Your property is valued significantly more highly than similar properties in the area
- A property tax exemption was denied
- The chief appraiser determined that you took your land out of agricultural use, if applicable
- The appraisal records contain errors, such as the wrong tax district
- Personal property was taxed at more than one location
Building a case for a revised appraisal
Before you go to the ARB, you should ask the appraisal district to explain their decision. Your appraisal is based in part upon the sale prices of recent, similar properties. Ask the appraiser to show you the sales that it used to develop your valuation.
The ARB requires more than your opinion before it will revise a district’s appraisal. Therefore, you should gather basic information about your property and any evidence that the appraisal is too high. For example, in order to verify that the appraisal actually reflects the correct property description, you should verify that description. To get started, begin gathering:
- Measurements of the building and lot
- Any defects on the property
- Deed records
- Statements from builders
- Surveys of the property
- Independent appraisals
These items will help you independently build a valuation for your property. Next, gather evidence on any recent sales of similar properties. You may also wish to gather appraisals of similar properties in the area for a sense of how your tax valuation stacks up against others’.
The deadline to protest your taxes is May 15 of the tax year
In order to protest your tax appraisal, you need to file your notice of protest by May 15 or, if applicable, no more than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed you your notice of appraised value.
An attorney can be extremely helpful in a property tax protest. The deadlines are short, and there is a steep learning curve. An experienced lawyer can put your protest in order quickly and ensure it is filed correctly and on time.