If you wish to appeal the appraised value or classification of your real property, you will need to complete a Real Estate Informal Appeal Form. The form must be postmarked , faxed or emailed back to the Appraiser's Office on or before March 31st. The Real Estate Informal Appeal Forms are available from the Appraiser's Office. All informal meetings must be completed by May 15th. If the property owner is going to be represented by someone else at the informal meeting, the property owner must complete and file a “Declaration of Representation” form with the appraiser’s office prior to the date of the meeting. These are also available from the Appraiser's Office or with this link.
The county will send confirmation of the time and date of the scheduled informal meeting at least ten days prior to the meeting. After the informal meeting, you will receive a decision in the mail from the County Appraiser’s Office.
Prior to setting an appeal you should consider reviewing information used in setting your value. This can be accomplished in several ways, but a visit to our office or to our website is the first step. You can find out how your property was valued and what comparable sales were considered in setting your values. When property owners do this and see a picture of the comparables and what they sold for, generally no appeal is made. By doing this first you could save yourself and the county a great deal of time and expense.
If you do not appeal the valuation notice, you can still protest the appraised value or classification of your property when you pay your taxes or by January 31st if your taxes are paid out of an escrow account or by a tax service. By law, you cannot appeal both your valuation notice and then protest when you pay your taxes for the same property in the same year.
Payment under protest forms are available at the Treasurer’s Office or online. The protest should state the grounds for the protest, including the portion of the assessment protested and any portion admitted to be valid. Once the taxes are paid under protest, the County Treasurer will make a copy of the form and send it to the County Appraiser. Any supporting documentation can be filed with the protest form at the Treasurer’s Office and it will be forwarded to the appraiser with the protest form. Within 15 days of receiving the notice the appraiser will contact the property owner to make an appointment for an informal hearing or conduct the hearing over the phone. It is important to remember that at the informal hearing the appraiser is only at the value of the property and not at the amount of taxes.
At any informal hearing the taxpayer will have the opportunity to present documentation to the appraiser supporting the value the property owner considers correct. Types of documentation that can help support a property owner’s estimate of value are documents showing a recent sale of the property, recent sales of comparable properties, a recent fee appraisal of the property or pictures of the property showing any damage or problems that might not have been noticed by the appraiser. There may be situations that the appraiser will want to inspect the property to make sure they understand what the property owner has presented.
Anyone wishing to appeal an informal decision from the County Appraiser can file an appeal with the Small Claims and Expedited Hearings division of the State Court of Tax Appeals (COTA). The only properties that can be appealed directly to The Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) are:
- Property with an appraised value over $2,000,000
If the property owner or the County Appraiser is dissatisfied with the Small Claims decision, an appeal can be made to COTA. The Small Claims and COTA may be in Jefferson County but most likely will be in an adjacent county as set by COTA.