Spring in Travis County marks the start of property tax season. If you own property that has increased in market value by at least $1,000 in the last year, you should receive a Notice of Appraised Value from the Travis County Appraisal District. At the top of the notice are two numbers; assessed value and market value. Your annual property tax amount owed is based on these numbers.
If you did not receive a Notice of Appraised Value via mail, you can look yours up online by using the official TCAD Property Search tool.
What’s the Difference Between Tax-Assessed Value and Market Value?
Tax-assessed value is what the county determines your property to be worth. Market value is how much an average buyer would pay for your home if it were for sale.
TCAD will attempt to match tax-assessed value as close to market value as they can, but will typically base their number off a general area and will not use neighborhood comps like a Realtor would when marketing your home for sale. All this to say; the values could be much too high or much too low given the non-specific data used.
If you believe that the assessed value shown on your notice does not accurately reflect the market value of your home, you have the right to protest it.
Why Protest My Property Valuation?
When people don’t appeal, TCAD interprets the lack of response as confirmation that their assessed value is correct. This affects all homeowners in a given neighborhood for future years to come. By appealing too-high assessed values, you can help keep property taxes reasonable in congruence with the market value of homes in your neighborhood.
How Do I Protest My Property Taxes?
There are two ways to protest your property tax values.
1. By Mail
Download this form, fill it out, and mail it to the address below. Make sure you list facts and data as to why you believe the assessed value is incorrect.
Travis Central Appraisal District
PO Box 149012
Austin TX 78714
Visit the Travis County E-file page to file your protest online. To file online you will need your Owner ID and PIN number found on your notice. If you have misplaced your notice or don’t know your owner ID and PIN, contact TCAD by phone (512-834-9317) or email (CSInfo@tcadcentral.org) to request that info.
After you file, you should hear back from TCAD about an informal hearing date. The purpose of the hearing is to share your evidence as to why you think your home over-valued on your notice.
Keep in mind that it can take several weeks to several months to hear back about a hearing date after filing your protest. Also, please note that TCAD is in charge of assigning appraised values of homes; they have nothing to do with setting the tax rate itself.
Where Do I Get Evidence for the Market Value of My Home?
- Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Contact your Realtor to see if they’ll send you an updated CMA with an estimated market value of your home, or conduct your own research.
- List and take pictures of any deficiencies in your house. Foundation issues, plumbing failures, etc. can all affect the tax assessed value.
- If your home was recently purchased and you paid less than the tax assessed value, bring a copy of your settlement statement to the hearing.
The deadline to protest property valuations in Travis County for 2020 is May 15th.
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