The history of property taxes dates back at least as far as ancient Egypt. Thousands of years later, property taxes were enacted in Texas in order to support the new republic. The property tax system that Texans know today is vastly different from what it was even a few decades ago. The modern Texas Property Tax Code is full of complex details, most of which have little bearing on the average homeowner. However, there are a few key details that every property owner should know.
The Travis Central Appraisal District will be sending out Notices of Appraised Value in mid to late April. This notice contains important information worthy of review. Perhaps most significant is the property’s appraised value for 2014. This figure is the appraisal district’s opinion of property value as of January 1, 2014.
The appraisal district arrives at the appraised value using mass appraisal techniques, which is why it is unlikely that you have ever seen an employee of the district physically inspecting your house. These mass appraisal techniques, while widely accepted, often result in values that do not represent true market value, or values that are higher than those of similar properties. Homeowners can successfully protest and lower their appraised values in either of the aforementioned scenarios.
Property owners should be keenly aware of the protest deadline. This deadline is generally May 31, but can vary based on the timing of weekends and the date that the appraisal district sends out notices. The protest deadline should be clearly stated within the Noticed of Appraised Value. If this deadline is missed, the opportunity to lower your 2014 tax burden is greatly reduced.
One of your most important rights as a taxpayer and landowner is the right to protest your property’s appraised value every year. The early Texans that founded our great state would be astonished to learn that today, less than 20% of property owners protest their appraised values. If you fall in the 80% of individuals that do not protest, you owe it to yourself and the fighting spirit of Texas’ founding fathers to reevaluate that decision this year when you receive your 2014 Notice of Appraised Value in the mail.