It’s a letter no Texas property owner wants to receive: a notice that the district appraised your property at a higher value than before. That means your property taxes just went up. Fortunately, there are avenues for disputing this determination through procedures such as an informal review or appraisal review board hearing.

How does a property owner successfully convince officials to change the assessment? It starts with having the right type of evidence.

Gathering all the evidence

Part of the appeal process includes a formal hearing with the appraisal review board. At this hearing, you have an opportunity to explain why the value placed on your property was too high. Do not go into this unprepared. As the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts says: “You cannot go to the hearing and just say the appraisal district is wrong.”

What this means is you need clear, all-encompassing evidence. That might include records or documents such as:

  • Blueprints and architectural drawings
  • Engineering reports
  • The deed
  • Surveys of the property
  • Photos
  • The estimated cost of any needed repairs
  • A history of the property’s previous sales
  • Information about comparable properties
  • Median level of appraisal calculations

Taken together, this evidence provides a solid foundation for your appeal.

Making your case

A folder of evidence isn’t enough to win an appeal however. You also need a well-presented case, one the comptroller says should be done in a “clear and concise” manner. For an individual homeowner this might be fairly straightforward, but for someone who owns commercial property, this task requires much more time and effort.

Of course, if things do not go as you’d hoped in the hearing, don’t immediately worry. There are further options, including arbitration, litigation or, depending on the property value, an appeal with the State Office of Administrative Hearing.

Nobody wants to pay a higher property tax. Nor does anyone want to go through the appeals process. When you’re facing an appraisal that’s far too high however, sometimes you have no choice but to fight back. Being as prepared as possible can give you the best chance to come out successful.