The Assessment Notice:

The very first step to appealing your property taxes is getting your assessment. An official assessment notice by the county gives property owners the exact value in which their property will be taxed. Once you know this value, you or your property tax professional will have the most important piece of information necessary for building an appeal. In this tutorial we will cover what key information to look for when you receive your assessment notice, as well as what each value means in terms of your overall tax burden. 

Note: This assessment notice is from Harris County Texas. You assessment notice may differ in format or in the amount of information shared on assessment. This tutorial is intended to cover the basic information typically seen on assessment notices. For county specific questions about your assessment notice, please reach out to your local county appraisal district for clarification.  


Account Number/Property ID:

Every property and plot of land within county lines is assigned an account number or property ID by the CAD to identify the exact property for taxation purposes. This system helps the county keep track of all the properties in its taxing area and ensures that they make assessments on the correct property. For property owners, your account number is useful to have because you can use it to verify if the county properly ID'd your property when making its assessment, and it also allows for you to check your assessment and taxation information on the CADs website. 


Market Value:

The market value is the value in which the CAD believes your property would sell for on the open market based on market trends as of January 1st of the taxable year. Your market value will almost always be higher than your appraised value. If your appraised value is higher than your market value then you will have very strong case for receiving a reduction on your property taxes by appealing. 


Appraised Value:

The appraised value is the value that your property will be taxed on. While market value factors in pricing influxes and irrational purchasing behaviors within the housing market, the appraised value is based on the value in which a property would be expected to sell for within a reasonable amount of time to find a buyer, given both the seller and buyer are looking to maximize their gains in this transaction. The CAD typically uses one of three major approaches for assessing your property. These approaches are sales comparisons, income, or cost approach. 

Since fluctuating market pressures don't apply to appraised value, it frequently is lower than the market value. While this value is lower, it does not mean that your property's value on the open market is lower too. The appraised value also does not factor in any exemptions you have on your property taxes such as general homestead, age 65 or older, or disability exemptions. 


Appeal/Protest Deadline: 

This is an important date to make note of since it is highly rare for CADs to accept appeals after the deadline. Deadlines and submission windows differ from county to county so make sure that you pay special attention to this information to ensure you don't miss your chance to appeal. The standard timeframe to submit an appeal is typically within 30 days of the post marked date of the assessment notice. However, depending on your county or state this timeline can be anywhere from 25 to 60 days. If you intended to appeal your property taxes, it's better to file for an appeal as soon as possible. 



Taxing Jurisdiction: 

These are all the taxing units within your county that receive funding from your property taxes. Each unit has a specific percentage they take off your properties value for taxes. Depending on the state of your exemptions, they may only be able to base their taxes of a predetermined lower taxable value such as those put in place by a homestead exemption. That is why in this example Harris County can only base its taxes off a taxable value of $215,664 when this property's appraised value was $269,580.   


Taxing Units: 

While all the taxing units should be listed in the Taxing Jurisdiction or comparable section of your assessment notice, the rate in which you will be taxed by each unit is not always listed. This is typically due to the tax rates being approved after the appraised values have already been determined. Fortunately, these values can be found in your local CADs Truth in Taxation website. 


Exemption Amounts:

These are the amounts that can be subtracted from your appraised value prior to being taxed by the taxing unit. Exemptions are not always uniform across all units so it is important to factor this in when calculating your taxes. 

Note: These are only applicable for properties that have been granted some form of exemptions. 


Calculating your property taxes:

Much like this assessment notice, more often than not your assessment notice will not include the actual dollar amount you will owe in property taxes. Fortunately, calculating them can be relatively easy.  Using the information you have on your assessment, go on to the CADs website and look up your property. Under your account they should have the tax rate from each taxing unit, if they do not have these rates go to your CADs truth in taxation website to look them up. Once you have these values, convert them into percentages then multiply the taxable value after exemptions by this percentage for each taxing unit. Add up the total values for each taxing unit to get your property tax amount.

Note: In some instances the most recent years tax rate might not be posted online yet. In this situation just multiply last years tax rate by this years assessment values then add an extra 7-10% on to that value to get a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay in taxes for the current tax year. 


Taxing Jurisdiction This Years Value After Exemptions  Tax Rate Total
Alief ISD $244,580 1.204800 $2,946.70

Harris County

$215,664 0.376930 $812.90
Harris Co Flood Cntrl $215,664 0.033490 $72.23
Port of Houston Authy $215,664 0.008720 $18.81
Harris Co Hosp Dist $215,664 0.162210 $349.83
Harris Co Educ Dept $215,664 0.004990 $10.76
Hou Community College  $229,143 0.099092 $227.06
City of Houston $215,664 0.550830 $1,187.94

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