Documentation & Hearings
If you wish to appeal the appraised value or classification of your real property, contact the appraiser's office within 30 days of the mailing date of the valuation notice to schedule an informal meeting. You will then be mailed an appeal form to return documenting your concerns about the property. This form must be returned before the end of the 30 days to appeal. After the appeal form is returned the county will send confirmation of the date and time of the informal meeting. These hearings may be done over the phone if necessary. We typically wish to have all informal hearings completed within 60 days from the mailing date of the valuation notice.
Property Owner Representation
If the property owner is going to be represented by someone else at the information meeting, the property owner must complete and file a Declaration of Representative form with the appraiser's office prior to the date of the meeting. This may be requested at the same time as the appeal form. Within a few days after the informal meeting, you will receive a decision in the mail from the County Appraiser's Office.
Setting Your Values
Prior to setting an appeal you should consider reviewing information used in setting your value. This can be accomplished in several ways, but a visit to our office is the first step. You can find out how your property was valued and what comparable sales were considered in setting your values. Once property owners see information and a picture of the comparable sales, generally no appeal is made. By doing the first you may be able to save yourself a great deal of time and expense.
Protesting Appraiser Value or Classification
If you do not appeal the valuation notice, you can still protest the appraised value or classification of your property when you pay all or half of your taxes, or by January 31 if your taxes are paid out of an escrow account or by a tax service. By law, you cannot appeal both your valuation notice and then protest when you pay your taxes for the same property in the same year.
Payment Under Protest
Payment under protest forms are available at the treasurer's office. The protest should state the grounds for the protest, including the portion of the assessment protested and any portion admitted to be valid. Once the taxes are paid under protest, the county treasurer will make a copy of the form and send it to the county appraiser. Any supporting documentation can be filed with the protest form at the treasurer's office and it will be forwarded to the appraiser with the protest form.
Within 15 days of receiving the notice the appraiser will contact the property owner to make an appointment for an informal hearing or conduct the hearing over the phone. It is important to remember that at the informal hearing the appraiser is only concerned with the value of the property and not the amount of taxes.
Preparing For An Informal Hearing
At any informal hearing the taxpayer will have the opportunity to present documentation to the appraiser supporting the value the property owner considers correct. Types of documentation that can help support a property owner's estimate of value are:
- Documents showing a recent sale of the property
- Recent sales of comparable properties
- Recent fee appraisal of the property or pictures of the property showing any damage of problems that might not have been noticed by the appraiser
There may be situations that the appraiser will want to inspect the property to make sure they understand what the property owner has presented.
Appealing An Informal Decision
Anyone wishing to appeal an informal decision from the county appraiser can file an appeal with the Small Claims Division of the State Court of Tax Appeals (COTA). Appeals must first be made to the Small Claims Division. The only properties that can be appealed directly to COTA are:
- Property with an appraised value over $2,000,000
If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with the Small Claims decision, an appeal can be made to COTA. The Small Claims and COTA may be in Harper County or in an adjacent county as set by COTA. For Small Claims you may request a phone hearing.