This month, appraisal districts across the state began notifying Texans of their home’s updated yearly appraisal value. Now, in addition to battling rising grocery costs and high gas prices, Texas residents face continually skyrocketing property tax bills.

Every year, each county’s appraisal district releases an updated appraisal value for homeowners’ property. Local governments (such as cities, counties, and school districts) use that value to calculate each property owner’s property tax bill.

As thousands of citizens flee Democrat-led states and move to Texas, the state’s housing market is becoming increasingly competitive. According to the Texas Real Estate Research Center, average housing prices in the DFW area saw an increase of more than 18 percent from 2020 to 2021.

This housing market is leading to higher than expected property appraisal values for Texans. Williamson County estimates a 40 percent increase in property values, while Bastrop County reports that citizens should expect a 60 percent increase.

To fight against rising property tax bills, Texans have two steps to follow. First, compel local officials to adopt a tax rate that offsets increases in appraised value (the no-new-revenue rate), which Colleyville City Council in North Texas has done for a number of years.

The second step is to protest property appraisal values. While each county has a different deadline for submitting appraisal protest paperwork, the process is the same across the state.

Collin County grassroots organization Collin Strong recommended citizens review information about their home on the appraisal district’s website and verify that all details are correct. This includes ensuring that any property features and improvements, like swimming pools, are accurately listed.

The organization also implored Texans to compare the value of their homes to similar properties in their neighborhood. In a step-by-step guide released to help homeowners with the appraisal protest process, Collin Strong advised having a licensed real estate agent run an official comparison in the form of either a Broker Price Opinion or Comparable Market Analysis.

Next in the process is requesting the comparable sales data used by the appraisal district to generate the property value estimate. If the homeowner finds any discrepancies between their research and the county appraisal district’s value, they can submit a “notice of protest” form to the appraisal office.

According to Collin Strong, the next step is an informal hearing held at the appraisal district’s office. At this hearing, the homeowner and an appraisal district representative present and compare their collected data. After negotiations, either the property appraisal is lowered or the estimate stays the same. If the estimate remains the same, the homeowner can appeal their protest to the Appraisal Review Board.

At this more formal hearing, both parties present their case before a board consisting of four to five citizens. Each board member is a real estate professional or an appraiser; none of them are employees of the county appraisal district. The board hears both sides before voting to decide if they will lower the property value.

If the Appraisal Review Board again denies the homeowner’s appraisal protest, Collin Strong explains that Texans can appeal their case to the state district court located in their county or the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

However, if the homeowner’s protest is successful, their property’s appraisal value will be lowered, which would also prevent their property taxes from rising as much as they would without appealing.

Although Texans face increasing financial pressure from climbing inflation rates and skyrocketing housing prices, they have the right to push back against rising property taxes. A more permanent solution, supported by an overwhelming majority in the March Republican primary, is the outright elimination of property taxes, which is also supported by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.