BY STATE REP. R.D. ‘BOBBY’ GUERRA
If your property taxes are increasing, you are not alone. The deadline to appeal your home and commercial appraisal has been moved to May 15, which is earlier than previous years.
Commercial and residential protest deadlines used to be due on different dates, however, this year if you want to appeal your tax bill for your residential or commercial property, you must submit your protest to the appraisal board no later than May 15.
This last legislative session, House Bill 2228 did a few things, but most importantly it created a uniform date to protest both commercial and residential tax appraisals. Throughout the Property Tax Code, there are numerous deadlines that have caused confusion to taxpayers. Confusion and inconsistency in deadlines disrupts the budget and tax rate adoption process, which is why we, in the Texas Legislature, took action. While this will bring consistency moving forward by having the same deadline every year, note that you will need to submit your protest earlier than previous years. This new deadline may come as a surprise to taxpayers, so my hope is that with some outreach we will all be better informed on when and how to protest our tax appraisals, if we choose to do so.
Do you feel your property was appraised properly? If not, you should file a protest. A uniform date to pro-test commercial and residential appraisals should make this process less complicated. Like many of you, I am a homeowner and have seen the steady rise of property taxes over the years and this has been very unsettling. That is why I felt compelled to support legislation that will bring more transparency to how we as taxpayers can have better input into the process.
Do you feel your property was assessed unfairly and at a higher rate or assessed based on bad information? As a life long resident of Hidalgo County, I am happy to pay my fair share to support necessary services, like fire, safety and emergency services, as well as infrastructure and our local schools. However, like many of you I find that year to year, for what appears to be no apparent reason, I see my property taxes rising. We need a clear pathway to protest if we feel we are being overly taxed.
When assessing your tax bill, it is also important to ensure that any exemptions to which you are entitled are granted. For example, if you are over the age of 65 years old or a disabled veteran, there are certain exemptions that you are eligible to receive. Check to make sure you received the full benefit of these exemptions. It is also important to confirm that the assessor’s description of your property is accurate. For example, if you have a home with two bathrooms but the records improperly show you have three bathrooms, you will want to get this changed so it accurately reflects your property valuation.
If you decide to protest, there are a few different ways to do so. First, there is a form that property owners receive that you can fill out your protest. This form can be mailed, faxed or delivered in person to the appraisal district. However, for your convenience, the Hidalgo County Appraisal District also offers an easy way to submit your protest electronically on its website.
With this new deadline approaching, I am hopeful that you, the taxpayer, will be better informed and take the time to ensure that you understand your tax bill and know how to move forward with questions or concerns that you may have. This year do not be caught off guard and have your appeals submitted by May 15.
For more information visit Hidalgo County Appraisal District’s website at www.hidalgoad.org.