Ask Amy: How to get your property tax lowered even if you lose your property tax appraisal case

Property appraisals in Texas shot way up this year and that means the amount we pay in property taxes will likely increase too. Did you know, that if you don’t win your case, there is still a chance to get your value lowered?

Fighting your property taxes

We get a lot of e-mails about protesting your property tax. If you do go to a formal hearing you get just 15 minutes to plead your case to the county appraisal district on why your property tax should be lowered. Let’s say it didn’t go your way and you don’t win.

Question: Can you still get your property’s appraisal lowered?
Answer: Yes, you can still get your appraisal lowered by going to arbitration.

Here’s how it works - First, you put in a request for arbitration with the county where you live. You’ll pay a $450 to $500 dollar fee, depending on the value of your home, but if you win you will get all but $50 of that back. CPA and real estate expert Michael Berlanga says then you have to be patient. It could take four to six months to hear back about your arbitration meeting.

“Only 200 people are on the comptroller’s registry to be an arbitrator. So the standard is high,” explains Berlanga. “They’re not going to rush through this, you’re not gonna get that 15 minutes of drive through justice, generally speaking, they’ll say, take half an hour to make your case.”

But wait!! Here’s some good news: The county might just take your side

The arbitrator has 14 days to get a ruling back to you. If you win, the county where you live has to pay back most of that arbitrator fee you paid. That’s one reason Berlanga says in some cases when the county first gets the paperwork that you filed for arbitration, they may just go ahead and lower the rate so they don’t have to go through the process.

The Texas Comptroller’s office has everything you need for this process.

We have a lot more information on protesting your property taxes in episode 3 of the “Ask Amy” podcast. You’ll hear tips for how to prepare your case, who will be hearing your case, why going in person is crucial, and more.

If you have a question, email and I’ll work to get answers.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.