May 11, 2016
In a world of near constant change it is sometimes said that only two things are certain…death and taxes. If you own a home in Texas, you are all too familiar with the latter. This time of year you find that annual bill for property taxes in the mail yet again and for some reason it seems to keep growing year by year.
Central Texas in particular has been blessed with stable and rising home prices in many neighborhoods, which is leading in part of those higher assessed values, but who wants to pay more in property taxes than you have to? Also if you have done an addition or made another significant investment in your home (particularly exterior), then you will also likely see a spike in your assessed value (either this year or the next depending on the timing of the remodel).
In order to keep your property taxes in check, there are a few key things you need to make sure you do.
1) Ensure you have filed a homestead exemption on your primary residence. This will limit the amount of increase the taxing office can apply in any given year (once the exemption has taken effect) when assessing your property taxes.
2) The value of your home for the purpose of assessing property taxes is always made as of January 1st of each calendar year. Therefore it is wise to take a photo (or a few) on or about that date to show what it looked like at that time. This is particularly important if you are doing an exterior remodeling or renovation project. If its a gray rainy day when the trash is at the curb and you haven’t mowed the lawn when you take the photo all the better! This can be used as evidence in your case to have your assessment appealed.
3) Make sure you review your tax bill as soon as it comes and ALWAYS have it protested! You can do this yourself by following the instructions that come with the assessment statement, or you can hire a company, such as Texas ProTax, to do this automatically on your behalf each year. As with many things, hiring an expert is often more effective than trying to do it yourself. Many companies will only charge you a portion of the savings they are able to get you if they successfully decrease your bill so its a win-win unless you have the time, knowledge and determination to fight it yourself. I’d much rather pay a portion of that to the company fighting it than to pay that or more to the tax office and then give them a higher basis to jump from the next year! Note that the deadline to file a protest against your property taxes is May 31st!
4) Stockpile that savings and invest in your next remodeling project by hiring RRS Design + Build!
Note: RRS Design + Build, LLC does not offer legal or financial advice. You should always consult professionals in that area for the most current and accurate guidance. This post is designed to highlight awareness around the topic and prompt homeowners to seek additional information specific to their situation and property.