The 2022 Strategy to Win Your Property Tax Protest Without Going to a Hearing
My obsession with teaching Texas property owners how to protest your property taxes began in 2011 when my County Assessment District debuted online. On a Saturday night, within minutes, I entered my ideal home value and the computer accepted it.
I called it “The Price is Right” and I won.
The second phase started in 2017 when I launched my “Everyone File a Protest” campaign. I even created a flag to support my little revolution.
As I explained, “assessment districts will be overwhelmed with a workload like never before. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s your legal right as a Texan to file a protest every year, even if your taxes aren’t going up, and even if your school taxes are frozen because you’re elderly or disabled.
“Overloading the system like never before, and in return appraisers would have to settle more cases than ever before to clear their schedules before the state’s July deadline.”
I know it worked because Denton County Chief Assessor Rudy Durham blamed me in 2019 for his troubles.
“There’s a consumer watchdog encouraging people to file a protest,” he complained. “He wants to mess up the system and shut it down and prove a point.”
Here is now phase 3 of my Watchdog Nation revolution. With help from Glenn Goodrich of PropertyTax.io (who helps predict your chances of protest success), we’re unveiling a new plan.
Part of this is using open cases to ask the Assessment District what evidence they plan to use against you ahead of time.
The other party allows you to win your protest without showing up at the hearing. It sounds good ?
You can miss your hearing
Let’s start by manifesting yourself without introducing yourself. Many tax fighters are unable to attend court hearings due to work or family responsibilities. Owners sign up to protest but don’t show up. But if you fill out an affidavit, have it notarized and mail it, certified with an acknowledgment of receipt so you know they received it, they have to honor it. A hearing will be held, but you don’t need to be there.
You can find the form on the State Comptroller’s website by searching for “Owner’s Affidavit of Evidence.” But you don’t even have to send the form as long as you provide all the information it asks for in a letter, have it notarized, and send it to the Assessment Review Board.
Information requested includes: property address and owner, account number, property description, phone and email, date and time of scheduled hearing, and information indicating whether the owner will attend the hearing. You also state your case to lower your rating and submit evidence. This way, you can skip your hearing, but your testimony is still counted.
If you are using the form, check the top box on page 2 where it says: “I do not intend to appear at the hearing in person, by conference call or by videoconference. This affidavit and accompanying evidence and/or arguments may be used at the hearing if I do not appear in person at the hearing. »
You can also change your mind and let them know you plan to appear.
And make sure that when it asks you “Reasons for protesting”, you check “Other”.
Knock out their evidence against you
The second strategy takes advantage of the confusion and overwork that assessment districts experience, especially if everyone files a protest.
Under the rules of this process, no evidence can be presented at a hearing by the county assessor or by you unless that evidence is shown to the other party.
What kind of evidence? Photos, comparable properties, repair estimates. They are supposed to see what you have, and you should see what they have. They can see yours at a hearing or in the affidavit described above. (You produce five copies – three for WRA members, one for the assessor and one for you.)
Their evidence against you, on the other hand, cannot wait for the hearing. The district must produce your evidence before your hearing. It arrives by mail, e-mail or through the district’s website.
But they only have to give it to you if you ask for it.
Here is the important part. If they don’t provide the evidence in advance, they can’t use it in court. And assessment districts are often not set up to easily disseminate information in a timely manner. It’s a sensitive pressure point, and you take advantage of it.
As Goodrich explains, “I would advise anyone to make the 14-day evidence request almost as soon as you file the protest. That way you can say you’ve given the assessment district enough time to respond to Requirement. “
He adds, “Failure to provide evidence before the hearing would essentially be the same as the Assessment District saying they have no evidence at the ARB hearing.”
As O’Connor and Associates, the state’s largest tax challenge firm, explains on its website: “Unfortunately, most assessment districts do not comply with this section of the tax code and ARB committees do not apply this issue in property tax dispute hearings.”
Let’s change that.
You can only get your proof if you file a protest before the protest deadline, 30 days after you receive your blue-colored notice of assessment.
To request evidence, you write a letter to the Assessment District requesting any evidence they will present at your ARB hearing. Mail this certified letter so that you can prove that you requested the evidence at least 14 days before the date of your hearing before the ARB.
Producing evidence in advance takes time. Glenn says the reason ARB hearings sometimes take a long time and the wait time is long is because they don’t prepare the evidence in advance and just dodge it during the hearing.
So, in a nutshell, you fill out an “Owner’s Proof Affidavit” to replace yourself so you don’t have to attend your hearing. And you send a request for evidence to be used against you 14 days or sooner before your hearing.
Imagine hundreds of thousands of protesters following these two pieces of advice.
Your assessment district probably did not highlight them for you. The watchdog did.
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