The Austin Chronicle

The Common Law

By Luke Ellis, May 6, 2011, Columns

Protest High Property Taxes

I'm looking for work, and money is tight. I just got my property taxes, and they are ridiculously high. I've never challenged my property taxes, but I want to this year. How do I do it?

File a written protest. A written notice of protest will be considered valid if it identifies the owner, the property being protested, and clearly indicates that you disagree with the appraisal district's decision. An easy way to file a written protest is to download and submit the "Protest Form" (Form 50-132) provided by the Travis County Appraisal District (

As a general rule, the deadline to file a protest of your property's value will be May 31, however, multiple exceptions exist that could alter your deadline. If you are uncertain, contact the appraisal review board to confirm the specific deadline to file your protest form. There are a handful of exceptions that would allow people to file a late protest (full-time military, off-shore workers, etc.).

Factors the Texas Comptroller's Office suggests a property owner should consider to determine whether a protest would be appropriate include:

• Is the property valued unequally when compared to other properties in the appraisal district?

• Did the appraisal district deny a relevant exemption (homestead exemption, disabled veteran exemption, etc.)?

• Do the appraisal records show an incorrect owner or identify the wrong property?

• Is the property being taxed by the wrong taxing units (i.e., the tax records show the property in the incorrect school district)?

Check out previous "Common Law" columns for tips on how to prepare a good argument for a tax value protest.

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