The Grayson Central Appraisal District sent out residential property appraisals at the beginning of May. This year there have been a few changes in how residents can appeal those notices, if they desire. But there are still many steps to those appeals.
GCAD Chief Appraiser Shawn Coker, said taxpayers have 30 days from the date on their notice to file a protest if they have concerns or issues about their appraisal.
The GCAD scheduled informal meetings with property owners through Friday but residents still have until the end of May to formally appeal.
“Grayson Central Appraisal District takes a proactive approach in trying to help property owners resolve protests informally, time permitting, prior to the protest deadline,” Deputy Chief Appraiser Don Spencer said. “This year, like prior years, we set aside time for property owners to come in to our office and address these concerns with the appraisers directly up until the week before the deadline. This allows the appraisal staff the last week of May to prepare for upcoming protest hearings that will be presented to the ARB (Appraisal Review Board) beginning May 30, 2017.”
Spencer said encouraged property owners who have not had the opportunity to visit informally to file their notice of protest, either in person at the district’s office or by mail, to the ARB so they can present their concerns and have their case heard for a determination.
“While this time of year is always busier than normal at the appraisal district, we have seen fewer people this year so far than by this same time last year,” Spencer said. “The overall market value on the appraisal roll in Grayson County has seen an increase again in 2017, with values rising by nearly 11 percent from last year, which includes over $230 million in new construction. The average homestead value of about $142,500 is up roughly 8.25 percent from $130,000 last year.”
While Spencer explained how to go about getting to protest, some property owners might not know what they can protest. Information on the GCAD website says people can protest the following:
• Excessive value — if you believe the appraisal district’s value on your home is too high;
• Unequal appraisal — if you believe the appraisal district appraised your home at a higher proportion of its value, than most properties;
• Failure to grant exemptions — if the chief appraiser denied your exemption application;
• Failure to provide notice — if the appraisal district failed to provide notice that the value of your home changed.
The information on the website also says that property owners should make sure to file their protest by the deadline on the notice.
If the notice does not contain a deadline, property owners must file the protest by May 31 or no later than 30 days after the date on the notice, whichever is later.
The Appraisal Review Board shall provide for an evening or a weekend hearing. The ARB is a group of impartial people who listen to both the property owner and the appraiser. The ARB may adjust values based on the evidence presented during the hearing.
Fourteen days before the ARB hearing, the appraisal district should mail the appealing property owner a copy of the comptroller pamphlet explaining the appealing party’s remedies and a copy of the ARB procedures. It also sends a statement advising that the appealing party has the right to inspect and obtain a copy of any information the Appraisal District plans to introduce at the hearing.
Those who plan to appeal should plan to spend some time at the Appraisal District Office or to pay for copies of records. Those who are appealing have the right to inspect and obtain copies of all of the pertinent records. The costs for copies for homeowners may not, by law, exceed $15 per property appeal.
The information provided on GCAD’s site says those who are appealing their appraisal should make enough copies of their presentation so that every member of the ARB may have one.
“Be on time and be prepared for your hearing,” the information advised.
Property owners will be allowed to present evidence, examine witnesses and state his or her opinion of the property value. GCAD’s representative will be allowed to cross-examine the property owner, agent or representative and any witnesses. They will also present evidence, examine witnesses and state an opinion about the property values. The property owner may then cross-examine the GCAD’s witnesses. Neither side may question the ARB members. Both sides are allowed to present rebuttal evidence and closing arguments. After that, the ARB will deliberate and vote on each matter. The decision will then be announced.
The information said it is important to remember that the date of the appraisal is Jan. 1. Those appealing an appraisal should make sure to include in the appeal, changes made before Jan. 1 but not anything that happened after Jan. 1.
Be sure to bring evidence of anything that would detract from the value of the home, like a cracked slab, fire or repairs that need to be made. Also be sure, the GCAD site says, to check the measurements of your home to make sure that the ones the GCAD had match. Also make sure the GCAD has the right amenities, and review the home sales the GCAD used to calculate the value of the home in question.
If the GCAD fails to prove the value of a home by a preponderance of evidence, then the ARB must side with the appealing property owner. Property owners may present the ARB with an independent appraisal done on the home. If such an appraisal is presented, the GCAD must prove the value of the home’s value by clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher burden of proof.
If a homeowner is still unsatisfied after the ARB issues its decision, the homeowner can consider binding arbitration, sewing in district court or State Office of Administrative Hearings.
Property owners will have to make a partial payment of taxes before the delinquency date. The GCAD information said the amount due is generally the amount of the tax not in dispute.
For more information about appealing an appraised value, please see https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/video/homeowner-protest/presentation.html.