How to Save Money on Your Mortgage!

Everyone knows that when mortgage rates fall you can save money on your monthly payment by refinancing your mortgage. But your monthly mortgage payment has three components to it – interest, principle, insurance, and taxes. One of these four items can be contested every year, and those are your property taxes!

You can either protest your taxes yourself or have a company protest them for you. Most large metropolitan areas will have one or more property-tax appraisal protest services. Usually there is no upfront fee, it is a contingency contract. The service gets one-half of any savings on your property taxes. If you don’t have the time or don’t want to fight your property’s valuation yourself we suggest taking this route.

On the other hand, if you want to do it yourself here is a quick guide to challenging your property taxes:

How to File a Protest

  1. File a written protest. The appraisal district has protest forms available, but you need not use one. A notice of protest is sufficient if it identifies the owner, the property that is the subject of the protest and indicates that you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the appraisal district.
  2. File your notice of protest by May 31 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed a notice of appraised value to you, whichever date is later. Note that it is 30 days after mailing the notice, not its receipt.

If the chief appraiser sends you a notice that your land is no longer in agricultural use, you must file your protest within 30 days of the date upon which the chief appraiser mailed the notice. The chief appraiser sends this notice by certified mail; the mailing date appears on the “green card” you will receive.

If you file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you are entitled to a hearing only if the board decides that you had good reason for failing to meet the deadline.

If you don’t file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you lose your right to protest. You also lose the right to file a lawsuit about the taxable value of your property.

If your protest is late because the chief appraiser or ARB failed to mail a required notice of appraised value or a denial of exemption or agricultural appraisal, you may file your protest any time before the taxes become delinquent. You must pay some current taxes before the delinquency date to be entitled to this type of hearing. A notice of appraised value is not always required.

In some cases, you may file with the ARB to correct an error even after these deadlines. Contact your appraisal district or the Comptroller’s office if you have questions about clerical errors, substantial value errors, double taxing or other possible errors.

Your most important right as a taxpayer is your right to protest to the appraisal review board (ARB). You may protest if you disagree with any of the appraisal district’s actions concerning your property. You may discuss your objections about your property value, exemptions and special appraisal in a hearing with the ARB, an impartial panel of your fellow citizens.

Most appraisal districts will informally review your protest with you to try to resolve your concerns. Check with your district for details.

If you lease property and are required by the lease contract to pay the owner’s property taxes, you may appeal the property’s value to the ARB. You may make this appeal only if the property owner does not, however. This appeal right applies to leased land, buildings and personal property. The appraisal district will send the notice of appraised value to the property owner, who is required to send a copy to you. If you appeal, the ARB will send any subsequent notices to you.

State law prohibits the Comptroller’s office from advising a taxpayer, appraisal district or appraisal review board about a protest. State law also prohibits the Comptroller from intervening in a protest.

Remember you can still protest even if your mortgage lender collects the taxes and insurance in your monthly mortgage payment.

Protest Information Provided by John H Carney & Associates

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