The inner workings of property tax appraisals.

Property tax appraisals are soon to arrive in your mailbox. If you are like me, then you went to your counties appraisal district website and searched for the appraisal they determined on your property. Also, if you are in Travis County, Texas, then you probably choked on seeing the value of your house going up by 50-60%. Well, a few of you know that I have been a research detective on deconstructing the appraisals and also figuring out a way to reduce my Market Value appraisal so I can protest and have a judgement in my favor. I will share with you some of my methodology… but first let me help determine whether you have a chance to significantly reduce your appraisal value…

  • If you added onto your house, then you will have a more difficult situation devaluing a new addition. It’s not impossible, but the rest of your house will have to be in shambles in order to balance out the improvement value you brought to your property with new square footage.
  • If you built a new house on the property that was not the result of a natural disaster, like tornado, flood, hurricane, wild fire, then you have what they call a single family R2 or R1 class AND a condition rating of New EYOC = Not great chance to reduce your value on something in excellent and/or brand new shape – depreciation is not on your side:

R1: Dwellings with this rating are usually unique structures featuring a high level of workmanship and high- grade materials throughout the interior and exterior of the structure. The design features exceptionally high- quality refinements and ornamentation. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout are of exceptionally high quality.

R2: Dwellings with this rating are often custom designed for construction on property owner’s site. Dwellings in this rating can also be found in high-quality tract developments featuring residences constructed from individual plans or highly modified plans. The design features detailed, high-quality interior refinements, exterior ornamentation and detail. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout are typically of high quality.

New EYOC – Improvement has been razed to the foundation and rebuilt, it is effectively a new house, or the changes to the improvement meet the “scoring” requirement in the Residential Procedure Manual. Set EYOC to current year and leave AYOC to year of original imp construction.

  • If you have previously protested your taxes successfully with an adjustment in your appraisal value last year, then you do have a very good chance to keep your adjustment in place this year, if the appraisal district CANNOTsatisfy the requirement to reasonably support by clear and convincing evidence an increase in the appraised value of the property in the next tax year in which the property is appraised by presenting evidence showing that the inequality in the appraisal of property has been corrected with regard to the properties that were considered in determining the value of the subject property.‘ Sec. 23.01(e) of Texas Tax Code. The key here is inequality that was present last year and it being corrected. It is unclear if the appraiser presenting market value data as a correction is enough, but I protested last year, got my tax appraisal reduced by 40k, ~60% of what was the original appraisal, and it was due to incorrect quality grading of my house and the lack of an appraiser physically visiting my property.

These are just a few things to consider when protesting your taxes and going full force into reducing your taxes. Stay tuned for more information on how to best reduce your property appraisal.

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