SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Dozens of property owners crowded into the Tom Green County Appraisal District Review Board meeting Thursday, May 11, 2023, and dozens more waited outside. Almost all of them were looking for answers about why their property appraisals had increased so much.
Ryan Newlin, the owner of ERA Newlin and Company real estate in San Angelo, said that the State Comptroller’s office sets property values.
“The State of Texas mandates what the tax office does,” said Newlin. “It comes out of the Comptroller’s office.”
Newlin said one reason for the sudden increase in appraisal values might be that the state is trying to make up for a history of property values in the district that were not in line with the market.
“For years and years and years, our tax values in Tom Green County were way under what market was,” said Newlin. “So, for the last couple of years, they’ve tried to get those corrected.
“Last year, it seems they raised the structure value on most properties in town quite a bit to try to get them in line. What it seems like they’re doing this year is trying to get the land values more in line.”
Property owners who believe their appraisal is inaccurate should file a Notice of Protest with the Tom Green County Appraisal District. These are the steps for property owners who believe their appraisal is inaccurate:
File a Notice of Protest
A property owner should first file a Notice of Protest if they believe their property received an inaccurate appraisal. According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, notices of protest must be filed by May 15th or within 30 days of the notice of appraised value being mailed.
Form 50-132, Notice of Protest, can be filed at the Tom Green County Appraisal District at 2302 Pullium Street in San Angelo.
Once the notice of protest has been filed, property owners will be informed of the date for their hearing with the Appraisal Review Board. The board will hear evidence from the property owner and the district appraiser who appraised the property’s value. Property owners can hire an independent appraiser to determine whether their property’s value is lower than the district’s number.
Hire an Appraiser
Property owners can hire independent appraisers to help them determine the value of their property and represent them during the Appraisal Review Board hearing. In order to have representation at the hearing, a property owner will first need to file an Appointment of Agent for Property Tax Matters with the Appraisal District.
The San Angelo Association of Realtors website lists appraisers in Tom Green and surrounding counties.
Prepare the Evidence
The Texas Comptroller’s office warns property owners not to show up to the ARB hearing without evidence. Telling the review board that the assessment is wrong without supporting evidence will not be convincing. The Comptroller’s office suggests property owners gather any evidence they believe will support their case. Suggestions from the Comptroller include the following:
- Photographs of the property (yours and comparable properties)
- Receipts or estimates for repairs
- Sales price documentation, such as listings, closing statements and other information
- Calculations of median level of appraisal, if equal and uniform appraisal is protested
- Affidavits, if needed
- Newspaper articles
- Architectural drawings or blueprints
- Engineering reports
- Property surveys
- Deed records
Attend the Hearing
According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, property owners can attend their ARB hearing in person, by phone, videoconference, or by filing a written affidavit. The Comptroller’s office encourages property owners to confirm the date and time of their hearing with the district and to show up on time or even early.
During the hearing, property owners can choose whether they want to present their evidence first or whether they wish to let the appraisal district representative present first. While presenting evidence, the Comptroller’s office suggests that property owners remain respectful and avoid letting their emotions run high.
A video on the Comptroller’s website guides property owners through the best practices to stick to for ARB hearings.
What if your protest fails?
There is always a chance the Appraisal Review Board will decide not to change a property’s appraisal. If that happens, a few options are available to property owners who want to appeal the decision.
- Within 60 days of receiving the Board’s decision, property owners can file a petition for review with the district court. The Comptroller’s office suggests consulting with an attorney before taking this step.
- If the property is valued at over $1 million, the owner can appeal through the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
- If the property is a homestead or if it is valued at less than $5 million, the owner can appeal through binding arbitration.