What Happens When I File a Property Tax Protest in Travis County?

The Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD) is responsible for assessing the taxable value of all properties in the county, including individual homes. And with property prices in the Austin area rapidly rising, many homeowners are shocked at TCAD’s proposed value of their house. 

Fortunately, every Travis County homeowner has the right to protest their property taxes before the local Appraisal Review Board (ARB). Filing a property tax protest can help you ensure that you aren’t paying more than your fair share of property taxes.  

The TCAD will mail a Notice of Appraised Value form to every property owner whose market value went up by $1,000 or more. These mailings go out in Spring. However, every property owner in Texas is legally allowed to file a property tax protest. This means you can protest even if you did not receive a Notice of Appraised Value.

How Do I File a Protest in Travis County?

According to the TCAD’s protest process, your Notice of Appraised Value should contain three critical values that will be used to determine your tax liability. These are:

  • The market value of your home as of January 1.
  • The assessed value of your home, which is the market value once any homestead caps are applied.
  • The taxable value, which is the assessed value minus any exemption amounts. 

The taxable value is multiplied by the rate of each taxing unit to calculate your property tax bills. If you believe that TCAD determined an incorrect market value for your home, you can file a protest. 

In 2021, the deadline to file a protest in Travis County was May 17. The date should be similar in years to come and will be listed in the mailed Notice of Appraised Value.

An online filing is the simplest option, and it will come with an instant confirmation that the county has received your protest request. However, you can also submit a protest form by mail to the following address:

Travis Central Appraisal District
PO Box 149012
Austin TX 78714

Or, if you prefer, you can drop off a protest form to the TCAD office during regular business hours at the address below:

850 East Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752

What Happens After I File?

In Travis County, the protest resolution process begins with an informal settlement discussion before advancing to a formal hearing. While informal settlements may be the best way to reach an amicable solution, you should never forget that you have a legal right to a hearing with the ARB.

The Informal Process

By filing online and offering a proposed reduced market value for your home, you begin the informal process. The TCAD will review your evidence and may choose to issue a settlement offer before any meeting. If the TCAD chooses to extend an offer, it will arrive via email, and you can accept it online.

However, you have the right to decline this offer and proceed to an informal meeting with a TCAD appraiser. Once again, the informal meeting may lead to a settlement offer that will lower your property tax bills. But if you still believe TCAD is incorrect in assessing your home’s market value, you can continue to the formal ARB hearing.

The Appraisal Review Board Hearing

The Travis County ARB will mail you a notice at least 15 days before your formal hearing with information regarding the scheduled time and process. Before the hearing, you can file evidence and a sworn affidavit containing information about your home.

You have the right to be represented by an agent at the hearing. Though not required, an experienced agent with deep knowledge of the property tax protest process can make a stronger case for why the TCAD reached an incorrect market value for your property. 

Once completed, the ARB will either rule for TCAD or instate a lower market value for your home. If you are successful, the ARB will issue a lower market value that will decrease your property tax liability to each and every taxing unit in your location.

How Watchtower Protest Can Help

From the time you receive a Notice of Appraised Value (or decide that last year’s value was incorrectly inflated), you can receive property tax protest assistance from experienced professionals. The team at Watchtower Protest can help you determine a correct market value, file your protest, and represent you in front of the ARB. 

And best of all, our services are risk-free! Sign up with Watchtower Protest is today by filling out a simple online form.

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