How to Protest Your Texas Property Taxes and Win!

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Marc Moffitt, a former employee of a local appraisal district. Marc not only spent 20 years working in various positions up to senior analyst at the appraisal district, he is also a real estate broker mainly specializing in commercial real estate and is also a professor at the University of North Texas teaching real estate courses.

In our video below, Marc goes into detail about how to protest your property taxes and win. We’ll cover the highlights below the video.⬇️

(**We are a real estate brokerage and not associated with a tax appraisal district office or property tax protest company.)

Property Tax Q&A Highlights from the Video:

When should property owners be expecting their proposed property tax appraisal notice for the year?

The notices will be mailed out sometime in April.

How long do people have to protest the proposed appraisal?

You have 30 days from the date you receive the notice to let the appraisal district know that you disagree with their proposed amount.  

What are the different ways you can let the appraisal district know you disagree with their valuation?

By mail, online or in person. The easiest is to go to their website and create an account using the PIN that is mailed to you within your appraisal notice. This way you can easily send messages through the portal.  

What is the difference between the informal and formal protest processes?

The informal process of protesting can happen either in person or online through the portal. If you choose to go in person for the informal process, you will sit down with an appraiser and show them your evidence and discuss the value. Another option for the informal process is through the online portal. You will upload your evidence and communicate via the portal to come to an agreement. 

If you have a unique property or situation, or can’t come to an agreement through the informal process, you have the option of going to the ARB or Appraisal Review Board, which is the formal process. The ARB is a panel of citizens that do not work for the appraisal district. They are completely independent. They will listen to what the appraisal district has to say, then listen to what you have to say. Then they will make a decision right then. Unfortunately, they can and sometimes do decide on a value higher than what your current appraisal notice states, or even what you may have negotiated in an informal process. And whatever they decide stands. All previous offers are off the table for consideration once you go to the ARB. So, focusing on the informal process may get you better results, unless you have very compelling evidence stating otherwise.


What evidence is helpful to prove your case at a lower value?

You can get comparable home sales from your local Realtor®. Also, photos of any damage,  items in need of repair, or deferred maintenance. If you have items in need of repair, it’s very helpful to bring (or upload) estimates of what it will cost to make the repairs. 


Are there certain times of the year that the appraisal district puts more weight on the comparable sales than others?

The appraisal district is going to be looking at comparable sales that are closest to the January 1st date. So any comparable sales you can find closest to that date are better. However, there typically aren’t as many sales happening at the end of the year and beginning of the next. So if you have to go back further into the summer of the previous year to find enough comparable sales, that’s okay.  You can even use sales in the first quarter of the current year if needed.


Are there a certain number of comparable sales they like to see when determining value?

If you decide to bring in a long list of sales, be sure to let them know the 3-5 that you’d like to use as evidence for your proposed value. Typically 3-5 sales is plenty of information for them to determine value.


How do you need to present your case to the appraisal office for the best outcome?

Make sure to stay focused on the facts or evidence you bring to support your viewpoint.

Try to stay calm. Getting angry or being difficult doesn’t help you with getting your value lowered. 

Have a specific number in mind when you negotiate with the appraiser. This helps the negotiation go much smoother and faster as it gives the appraiser something to work with. Many times if the appraiser thinks they can work to meet your number, they will. If it’s too far off from what they can do, they’ll request you meet with the ARB. 


What is the difference between the equitable value and market value appeal?

With a market value appeal, you are stating that your house/property would not sell for the amount the appraisal district is showing. However, with equitable value, you are basing your appeal on the fact that other properties in your neighborhood are being valued differently than yours. You can pull information from the appraisal website (or request it from them) to compare property values and analyze all the data from other homes in your neighborhood. Many times you might have more success in lowering your value proving unfair equitable value than with the market value appeal. 


What about exemptions?

There are several exemptions you could potentially qualify for, so check with your local tax appraisal office. Just a few to note are the Residence Homestead exemption, Age 65 and Older exemption, and the Disabled Veteran exemption. 

If you own and occupy your home as your principal residence, you are eligible for the Residence Homestead exemption, which has two benefits. First, there is the reduction from market value to taxable value, which is on average a savings of around $300-$800 depending on the entities involved. For example, there is a reduction of $40,000 for school taxes. Secondly, there is a cap limit which keeps your taxable amount from going above 10% per year. So, even if your market value increases more than 10%, your taxable amount should not go above the 10% increase.

The Age 65 or Older exemption will lock in the dollar amount you pay on your property taxes. It doesn’t lock in the property value or the tax rate, only the amount. But it is a great benefit for those age 65 or older.

And the Disabled Veterans exemption varies based on the disabled veteran's disability rating. The surviving spouse who remains unmarried and surviving children of a disabled veteran may also qualify for an exemption.

To obtain the benefits of any property tax exemption, you will need to fill out paperwork and possibly show proof to qualify for specific exemptions.

For more information about property tax exemptions, go to or contact your local tax appraisal district office.


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