Know Your Property Tax Rights
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
August 24, 2000
If as a property owner, you have had an increase in value, you received a Notice of Appraisal from the Bexar Appraisal District. If you find the appraised value unacceptable, you have the right to protest the value. The first thing for you to do is to act upon your Notice of Appraisal within thirty days of your receipt of it. Along with the Notice sent to you is a form for you to return to the Bexar Appraisal District, indicating your view of the value.
Once your Protest has been sent to Bexar Appraisal District, you will receive notification of the date, time and place of the informal meeting where you will have an opportunity to discuss your view of the value of your property in question, with an appraiser of the District. This can be done over the phone or in person at the District.
If you are not able to reach an agreement as to the value, you will be scheduled for a formal hearing before a three-person panel of the Appraisal Review Board. The Review Board's role is similar to a jury in a court of law. The Review Board is independent of the Bexar Appraisal District and is charged with the duty to listen to the taxpayer and any evidence submitted by the taxpayer to support his or her contention that there should be a lower value. Experience of the Appraisal Review Board shows that when solid evidence is presented, the opportunity to achieve a reduction in value is granted. The Appraisal District and Review Board will treat all citizens protesting with absolute courtesy.
The kind of evidence that is credible is proof such as photographs and testimony of the taxpayer. Estimates of repairs, the condition of the roof, the painting, fencing, foundation, plumbing and virtually anything deemed to be of value or not of much value should be provided to the Board. Additionally, the taxpayer has the opportunity to ask the Bexar Appraisal District for information on the comparable values of adjoining properties in the immediate neighborhood upon which District is basing their contention that an increase is justified.
One thing many taxpayers fail to take advantage of is a protest based upon things happening to property that diminish the value irrespective and outside of the Bexar Appraisal District appraisals and its process. If the repair from say the Flood of October 1998 is still to be made, evidence of the repairs needed helps reduce the value of a property for appraisal purposes. Even wear and tear can conceivably be a basis for reduction. While we are speaking of the Flood of 1998, it is worthy of noting that if you have flood-like conditions such as pooling and ponding of water on your property, that too should be proven by photos or testimony from the taxpayer or his or her own expert. Last but not least, do not forget to check with the District to see to it that you are receiving all the property tax exemptions to which you are entitled. Remember, you must request these exemptions.
While this brief overview has been short, there is much information available to you through the Bexar Appraisal District. By calling 224-8511, you can ask for the Appraisal Review Board staff and request a copy of the information you seek to answer your questions. Finally, you need only keep the faith in yourself, then get to work understanding the system and working it to your advantage. I am not suggesting anything other than what you as a Texan and an American are entitled to under State and Federal law.