Please send me your stories, complaints, tips, and tricks about the appraisal districts and property taxes, and I will post them.

Also, feel free to leave comments at the bottom of each post.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Few Common Ways To Reduce Your Property Taxes

Make sure you have filed for all the exemptions for which you qualify
Some of the potention exemptions are:
Homestead Exemption - If you live on the property, you get a discount.
Disability Exemption - If you're disabled, you can qualify for a discount (who's not disabled?).
Disabled Veteran's Exemption - If you're a disabled veteran, or the spouse of a disabled or killed veteran, you can get a discount.
Charitable/Religious Organization Exemption - If you figure out a way to qualify as a charitable organization or religious facility, you don't have to pay taxes. Again, aren't we all a charitable organization (nobody gets a salary in my house); and who's to say we are all not churches? I'm thinking about calling myself a can they prove I'm not? As an Appraiser (private sector), I come across people all the time who hold property as a religious organization and sell it for a ton of profit, without the carry costs of property taxes. ...Clever blokes.
Freeport Exemption - If you're holding property, which is about to be shipped, you can get an exemption.

Protest the physical characteristics of your property
Sometimes, they have the physical characteristics of your property dead wrong...what do they care if they're wrong...the burden of proof is on YOU, right? Sometimes they say you have more square footage, more bathroom, more bedrooms, more rooms, etc. Also, they give you an overall rating, and you need to make sure that your overall rating is not higher than it should be, compared to other properties in your neighborhood. All these characteristics are combined to determine the market value of your property; you need to make sure they are correct.

Protest the value of your property based on (real) Market Value
This is difficult. In the State of Texas, properties are supposed to be appraised by the Appraisal District at 100% of their (real) Market Value. Usually, the Appraisal District will intentionally appraise properties at around 80%-90% of their (real) Market Value, in order to avoid contention. To protest on this basis, you need to find out the sales price of other properties, similar to yours. The more similar the properties are, the better. This is especially easy if you live in a subdivision of tract homes; it's more difficult if you live in a custom home. The other way you could figure this out is to get an appraisal from an Appraiser in the private sector (like me).

Protest the Appraisal District's appraised Market Value of your property based on their "Equal and Uniform" law
The Appraisal District is not supposed to appraise your property at a higher rate than other similar properties. This seems like the easiest way to protest (their) Market Value. Here's the link to their law...

To do this, all you have to do is go online and pull up the tax records of other properties in your neighborhood which are similar to yours. Calculate the value (per square foot) of both the land value and the improvement value; you can argue either or, or both.

Hire a property tax fighting company
There are several companies which will argue your taxes on your behalf. All you have to do is give them some vital information, and they do all the work for you. They usually charge you half of whatever they save you. You don't have to pay them, if they don't save you anything. This is easy and convenient, but I don't like it because you can't be sure that they are actually going to try as hard as they possibly can to get your taxes reduced. They ARE a business.

Their objective is to make the most possible money with the least effort. This means that, if they go to a pre-hearing Hearing, and the Appraisal District rep gives them an offer, which will save you $300 on your taxes, and they've only had to spend a half an hour fighting it, then they're probably going to accept the offer, regardless of whether or not they could get your taxes reduced even more. They just made $150 in a half an hour!

Here are some of the more prominent tax-fighting companies in my area (in any area, I'm sure you could just check the Yellow Pages)...


Northwest Minuteman said...

Great blog, although I wouldn't consider this an un-patriotic response. Another one you might enjoy:

Anonymous said...

Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article
together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount
of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
My web page >

Anonymous said...

I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest
but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Cheers
Here is my web blog -

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I like to write a little comment
to support you.
Also visit my blog ; teens fucking

Anonymous said...

I like the helpful info you supply to your articles.
I will bookmark your weblog and check once more right here regularly.
I'm moderately certain I'll learn lots of new stuff proper here!
Good luck for the next!
Take a look at my website nude teens

Anonymous said...

We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.
Also visit my blog post nude girls