What Harris County homeowners need to know as the appraisal protest deadline approaches

What Harris County homeowners need to know as the appraisal protest deadline approaches

Harris County property taxpayers face a May 16 deadline to file appraisal protests with HCAD. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Residents of Harris County face a May 16 deadline to file property appraisal protests with the Harris County Appraisal District and can do so with a paper notice or by utilizing HCAD’s online filing system iFile and iSettle.

All commercial and residential properties in Harris County are appraised Jan. 1 of each year, and property value notices were mailed out to most residential property owners by late April, according to HCAD. In these notices, property owners can find a form that can be filled out and submitted to HCAD. Property value, along with the tax rate, is one of the main factors that go into determining how much a property owner owes in taxes each year.

In a March 17 news release, HCAD Chief Appraiser Roland Altinger said his office is seeing a continued increase in the appraised value of property around the county.

“We are seeing most residential and commercial properties in Harris County increasing in value this year,” Altinger said. “Value increases this year have been unprecedented. In my almost 40 years in the real estate business, I have never, ever seen such large increases in market values.”

Market values reflect the dollar amount for which a property would currently sell, according to the release. Increases in value have been attributed to population growth, low interest rates, supply chain issues and remote work, bringing in higher demand for residential properties.

“Residential properties have gone up about 15%-30% in value, depending on where they are located,” Altinger said. “Over 59% of residential properties will increase an overall average of more than 20% in value.”

Appraisal protests typically face a May 15 deadline, but when that date falls on a weekend, the deadline is moved to the next business day. Those who received notice of appraisal late have 30 days to file protests.

Residents can visit the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s website for more details on how to file protests using iFile and iSettle.

Property taxpayers should refer to the two unique numbers printed on their value notice. One of the numbers represents the property account number, the other is the iFile code number assigned to the property for this year.

Should the property owners lose their value notice, they can recover the relevant information by scanning their driver’s license using HCAD’s free mobile app, according to an April 28 news release. Taxpayers must be sure they select the proper tax year and fill out the online form and submit their request. A video explaining how to file an online protest and use the residential iSettle system is available on the district’s website at www.hcad.org under the “Help” heading.

Homeowners can use iSettle to file their protests in a similar fashion. According to the tax assessor-collector’s office, homeowners can use this system to file their protests online and provide an opinion on the market value of their property. In response, HCAD will provide the homeowner with an iSettle value that can be accepted or rejected. Should the value be rejected, the homeowner will be scheduled to go into an Appraisal Review Board protest hearing.

Protests can also be submitted through a written filing using the form included in their mailed property value notice or by requesting form number 50-132 online. Form requests can be made at www.hcad.org, by phone at 713-957-7800 or in person at the HCAD offices at 13013 Hwy. 290, Houston, or at any Harris County Tax Office. For a visual guide on how to file an online protest and use the iSettle system, go to the “Help” heading on the HCAD webpage.

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