How to protest Spring Texas real estate taxes

Today is April 15th.  The day the majority of us associate with as the day our income tax returns are due.  I am not going to write about income taxes.  Although I do have an accounting degree, I am not qualified to give advice on the many changes in the income tax laws.  What I am qualified to write about is Spring Texas real estate and how you can protest your Spring Texas real estate taxes.

protest Spring Texas property taxesIf you haven’t received your 2015 property valuation from the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) yet, you will soon.  As HCAD is projecting to have them in the mail during the month of April.

If the value of your Spring Texas home decreased in 2015, don’t jump to the conclusion that you don’t need to protest the value.  The value HCAD placed on your home for real estate tax purposes may be more than market value or may be more than the assessed value of your neighbors.  If either one of these is the situation, you will want to protest your real estate taxes.

How to dispute your Spring Texas real estate taxes:

1.  Determine if your property’s tax valuation accurately reflects the market value of your home as of January 1, 2015.

How do you determine if your value is accurate?

Contact a Spring Texas Real Estate Agent and ask her to provide you with the sales price of homes in your neighborhood. If homes are selling for more than the market value of your home, don’t dispute your valuation based on market value.  But if

But before you decide not to dispute your valuation, determine if your property value is unequal compared with other properties.  According to O’Conner & Associates, a property tax advisor, the majority of successful property tax disputes are those based upon unequal assessment.

How do you determine if your property’s tax value has been unequaled assessed?  Go to HCAD and look up the tax assessed value of your neighbor’s home.  Is their home similar to yours but their home is being assessed at a lower property valuation?  If the answer is yes, then protest the valuation of your Spring Texas home based upon unequal assessment.

2.  Determine if you want to dispute the value yourself or if you want to solicit the help of a property tax advisor.

3.  If you decide to dispute the property valuation yourself, you can file your protest online at the Harris County Appraisal District’s website.  HCAD will notify you of the date and time your protest has been scheduled.  On the day of your appointment, you should arrive on time, be armed with data to present that supports your valuation, and be friendly to the assessor.

4.  If you decide to solicit the help of a property tax advisor, you can contact either O’Conner & Associates or Bettencourt Tax Advisors.  O’Conner & Associates and Bettencourt both require you to sign a service agreement.

If O’Conner & Associates (www.cutmytaxes.com)  is successful in reducing your property tax valuation, they charge you 50% of the tax savings.  For example, if your property’s tax valuation is $150,000 and O’Conner & Associates was successful in reducing your property’s tax valuation to $140,000 their fee is $10,000 * your tax rate.  If your tax rate is 3.0%, their fee would be $10,000 * 3.0% *50% equaling $150.00.

Bettencourt Tax Advisors (www.paulbettencourt.com) is a property tax consultant firm formed by Paul Bettencourt. Paul Bettencourt was the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector for many years before resigning in 2008.  Their firm’s fee is 40% of the tax savings.  If they are unsuccessful in reducing your real estate taxes, they will charge you their minimum fee of $75.00

You have until May 31st or 30 days after the date your property tax notice was mailed whichever was later to protest your property tax valuation.  If you decide to dispute your property tax valuation, Good Luck and remember you never get anything unless you try.

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