By now your Spring Texas property tax notice from the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) should have arrived in your mailbox. If you have not received your valuation yet the odds are in your favor that your property value will either decrease or remain the same as 2008.
According to HCAD, 45% of the residential properties in Harris County received a decrease in their property valuations for 2009. While 39% of the residential property values remained the same and a mere 16% of the homes received an increased in their valuation.
This year the property value of our Spring Texas home was apprasied for the same value as last year and even though the valuation remained the same it does not automatically mean that I won’t dispute the valuation.
How to dispute your Spring Texas property tax value:
1. Determine if your property’s tax valuation accurately reflects the market value of your home as of January 1, 2009. 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 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 your Spring Texas property valuation 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.
O’Conner & Associates (www.cutmytaxes.com) is currently offering a $50 Shell Gift Card if they are unsuccessful in reducing your property tax valuation. If O’Conner & Associates 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 June 1 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.
If you have individual tactics you have found to be useful in disputing your Spring Texas property tax values, please post a comment for all to learn from.