Bid not Bill

Your Property Tax Bill is Really a Bid

In a few weeks, property tax bills will begin showing up in the mail. If current trends are any indication, homeowners can once again expect double-digit percentage increases in the assessed value of their property, with little regard to the state of the home itself.

One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is to accept the government’s figure as is.

A property tax bill should be considered an initial bid. Homeowners have the right to make a counter-proposal. Oftentimes, the final number agreed to resides somewhere in the middle.

There is no incentive for a homeowner to not at least try to lower their bill. The government’s number is its best-case scenario. The amount owed will only go down if contested. Additionally, there is no penalty for filing an appeal online.

According to a 2015 Dallas Morning News report, only five percent of Dallas County property owners use the Appraisal District’s online tools to contest taxes. It’s truly amazing that this number is so low. Again, there is no cost to file an online appeal. The worst thing that can happen is nothing. However, the potential to recapture thousands of dollars is real.

Of course filing an appeal is one thing. Wining it is another matter. The do-it-yourself approach may net a few dollars. However, getting a professional to assist with the appeal is the best course of action in most cases.

Fighting an overstated appraisal value involves explaining to the county why its figure is wrong. The homeowner is essentially guilty until proven innocent. Competent tax professionals know how to employ effective strategies that are proven to work every year. From sending pictures of structural flaws, to comparing neighboring home values, to questioning projected development, that are countless tactics that can be used to convince the government to lower its bill.

Having someone on your side with experience and expertise can be invaluable.

The key for homeowners is to prepare now. Once tax bills are received, there are only a few weeks to contest their assigned figure. If not addressed, next year’s taxable value will start at an already overstated baseline. With property values showing no signs of going down soon, that is a risk that few can afford to take.

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Sentry Real Estate Advisors protests tax bills on behalf of local homeowners as a complimentary service. Inquire below and find out if you're being over taxed.