Property Taxes in Texas and How to Protest Them

Property Taxes in Texas and How to Protest Them

All About Property Taxes in Texas

Property tax appraisals for the current year’s taxable values are issued in the spring in all counties. Following are a few tips to understanding your statement and for filing a protest if you disagree with the value assigned to your property.

When you receive your Notice of Appraised Value …

  • Verify that the appraisal is for the correct property and make sure that any exemption you are eligible for (i.e. homestead, over 65, etc.) is included.
  • If you believe the value assigned to your property is higher than what the market in your neighborhood would bear, you do have the  option of protesting that value and asking the appraisal district to lower it.
  • NOTE: Your local appraiser is required to appraise property at market value as of January 1st, so your appraisal should reflect the value of the property at that time. The appraiser has generally applied mass appraisal criteria based on the individual characteristics of your property, and in most cases has not done a physical inspection of your property.

How to Protest your Appraised Value:

 1.)  Protests must be filed in writing. The appraisal district has protest forms available, but you don’t have to use an official form. A written notice of protest is sufficient if it identifies the owner, the property, and states that the owner disagrees with the valuation made by the appraisal district.

 2.)  File your notice of protest by May 15th or no later than 30 days after the date of the Notice of Appraised Value, whichever date is later. Be aware that the deadline is 30 days after the date of the notice, not from the time you receive it. If you don’t file a notice of protest before the Appraisal Review Board approves the appraisal record, you lose your right to protest or file a lawsuit about the taxable value of your property.

 3.)  Information to support your protest: Provide your closing statement from your home purchase, a copy of the purchase contract, any appraisals, engineer’s reports, etc. to the board when protesting your value. Photos of defects on the property are also helpful. Your real estate agent can assist you in compiling a comparable market analysis for your property to show how it would be priced if you were to sell the property.

 4.)  Who decides? The Appraisal district board (ARB) is an independent board of citizens that hears property owner protests. It has the power to order the Appraisal District to make changes. If you file a written protest before the deadline, your case will be scheduled for a hearing where you will talk to one or more members of the ARB. The ARB has several options: grant your request, refer you to a hearing of the entire board, schedule a physical inspection of your property, or deny your request. If you are denied, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the Appraisal District.

Valuing Property

 Each county’s appraisal district determines the value of all taxable property within the county. Before the appraisals begin, the district compiles a list of taxable property. The listing for each property contains a description and the name and address of the owner. The appraised home value for a homeowner who qualifies his or her homestead for exemptions in the preceding and current year may not increase more than 10 percent per year. Property Tax Code Section 23.23(a) sets a limit on the appraised value of a residence homestead, stating that its appraised value for a tax year may not exceed the lesser of: (1) the market value of the property; or (2) the sum of: (A) 10 percent of the appraised value of the property for last year; (B) the appraised value of the property for last year; and (C) the market value of all new improvements to the property, excluding a replacement structure for one that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by mold or water damage. The appraisal limitation first applies in the year after the homeowner qualifies for the homestead exemption.

How is your property valued?

The appraisal district must repeat its appraisal process for property at least once every three years.

To save time and money, the appraisal district uses mass appraisal to appraise large numbers of properties. In a mass appraisal, the district first collects detailed descriptions of each taxable property in the district. It then classifies properties according to a variety of factors, such as size, use and construction type. Using data from recent property sales, the district appraises the value of typical properties in each class. Taking into account differences such as age or location, the district uses “typical” property values to appraise all the properties in each class. The appraisal district may use three common methods to value property: the market, income and cost approaches.

The market approach is most often used and simply asks, “What are properties similar to this property selling for?” The value of your home is an estimate of the price your home would sell for on Jan. 1. The appraisal district compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently and determines your home’s value. Other methods are used to appraise types of properties that don’t often sell, such as utility companies and oil leases. The income approach asks, “What would an investor pay in anticipation of future income from the property?” The cost approach asks, “How much would it cost to replace the property with one of equal utility?”


One of your most important rights as a taxpayer is your right to protest the property value that is proposed by the Central Appraisal District (CAD).  You may protest if you disagree with the appraisal district value or with any of the appraisal district's actions concerning your property. In most cases, you have until May 15 or 30 days from the date the appraisal district notice is delivered - whichever date is later.

  • Use sales data of properties comparable to yours in size, age, location and type of construction. A REALTOR® can help you find sales of nearby homes comparable to yours or consider using an independent appraisal by a real estate appraiser.
  • Review the appraisal district site information to make sure the property description and measurements of your property are correct.
  • Consider providing evidence as to why you believe the appraised value is too high, for example, location  related items such as locations near a railroad track or property related items such as a cracked foundation or roof that needs repair. 
  • Ask the appraisal district for all information it used to set the value of your property, to include copies of the data, schedules, formulas, and any other information that the appraisal district plans to introduce at the hearing.
  • Consider the costs of preparing a protest against the potential tax savings. Preparing a protest may not be worth the time and expense if it results in only a small tax savings.


After filing your protest, you will receive a written notice of the date, time, place, and subject matter for a formal hearing with the ARB. You may discuss your objections about your property value, exemptions and special appraisal in a hearing with the ARB. Most appraisal districts, however, will informally review your protest with you to try to resolve your concerns prior to a hearing. Check with your appraisal district for details and for the options for how to appear for the protest.  ARBs allow hearings by affidavit, phone, video conferences or in person meetings.


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County Appraisal Districts:


Burnet County

223 South Pierce Street Burnet, Texas 78611



Llano County

103 E Sandstone Street Llano, TX 78643



Williamson County

625 FM 1460 Georgetown, TX 78626



Travis County

8314 Cross Park Drive Austin, Texas 78754



Bastrop County

212 Jackson Street

Bastrop, Texas 78602



Caldwell County

610 San Jacinto Lockhart, TX 78644




Hays County

21001 North IH 35 Kyle, TX 78640



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