Appraisal districts see increase in property assessment appeals

With property assessments higher this year, both Bell and McLennan County have seen an increase in owners appealing their appraisals.

BELL COUNTY, Texas – The average increase in home appraisals across Texas rose a staggering 25%, that’s according to the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts. With property assessments higher this year, a lot of owners are appealing their appraisals.

The chief appraisers in both Bell and McLennan County saw an increase in property owners appealing their assessments.

“Right now we’ve processed the majority of our protests and we’re a little over 19,000 protests, which is about 1,000 over where we were last year,” said Bell County’s Chief Appraiser Billy White.

White said he expects the number to climb a bit.

The McLennan County Appraisal District is seeing a 20% increase over historical protest numbers, according to Joe Bobbitt, the chief appraiser.

McLennan County has nearly 18,800 protests so far, which is 4,000 more than last year.

The county appraisal districts are on a time crunch. They have to have all appeals complete by mid-July, even though there is more to deal with.

“We’re sending out notices at least two weeks in advance, if not sooner, to tell them when their time and date for a hearing will be to show ups,” White added. “We’re still scheduling a lot of the protests, but I would say within the next two to three weeks, we’ll have them all scheduled.”

Bobbitt says an additional hearing panel has been filled in McLennan County to get more cases closed each day.

In Bell County, White says they will see about 150 to 300 residential property appeals a day when hearings are underway.

“The staff has definitely worked in some extra time at this point, trying to get through the protests right now,” White said. “We’re still trying to prep a lot of protests to send out the evidence.”

White says if you filed an appeal, the office will send you their information about their assessment to see if you want to further prove them otherwise. If you don’t agree with their assessment yet, you can show up to a scheduled hearing.

He says be prepared to show why your appraisal should be lower.

“Please come prepared; bring any extra evidence.” White added. “If there’s actual damage to your property and such – you should bring estimates, current estimates. Current estimates are going to help most property owners anyway because with inflation such things cost more than they did two to three years ago.

“It is common for people to get a reduction in their value, may not be as much as they requested though,” Bobbitt said in a written statement to 6 News. “Most people that have structural issues or deferred maintenance and bring current photos will have the best results.”

White says there is still a lot of work, and outside elements to bring in, to be done to see how the higher appraisals impact tax rates.

In the end it will be up to taxing entities like the city, county or school districts; not the appraisal districts.

But, White does think tax rates could maybe drop.

“For a lot of them, their tax rates or effective tax rate is actually going to have to come down just because there’s so much increased value.” White explained. “But, until we get to the point where we turn over those appraisal rolls with the actual value on it, we’ll be able to know how much the values ​​tax rates come down if they do.”

The majority of appeals can no longer be filed as they were due within 30 days of the original notice from the appraisal district.

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