Still time to protest property tax appraisal

May 2, 2008 4:35:34 PM PDT
Home owners, listen up. One deadline has passed if you want to file a protest to your property tax appraisal, but you still have time to file and for some protesting may be crucial. Some areas of Harris County are seeing double digit increases in appraised value.

About two dozen zip codes are seeing the highest increases.

Broken down by zip code, you can begin to see who is facing the highest property tax increases in Harris County. In a red areas, the average appraisal is going up double digits.

Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor says, "If your home is up ten percent then your tax bill could easily be up 10% and that's why you need to take a serious look at protesting your value this year."

In Northwest Harris County, zip code 77484, is seeing 26% increases in appraisals. The Kingwood zip code of 77365 is seeing appraisals up by 15%.

Four Clearlake zip codes are seeing an average 14% increase.

Inside the loop and the spring branch area are seeing increases from 10 to 14%. This information can help guide your protest case.

"For example, my neighborhood, almost every home is up 15 percent, so if you are going to protest there it's probably easier to look at is my market value the right thing to protest," said Bettencourt.

The fastest way to lower your tax burden is to file a protest, that's what Baron Allami is doing. He lives right in the middle of a "red" zone.

"They say the value is going more than 1,000,000,20% actually, but that is not true every where," said Allami.

Allami adds his inner loop zip code may be seeing increases in value, but not his home.

"In my unit where I live, I believe there are 17 foreclosures," explained Allami.

You still have time to file a protest and you don't have to come appraisal district offices to do it. The district's web site accepts on line filing and even on line settling of your case. Thousands have already chosen the electronic option.

Roland Altinger with Harris County Appraisal District says, "We have seen 61 thousand folks file a protest on line, of those 49,000 have elected to participate in the iSettle system."

For those who have chosen the "I settle" option, the first offers should begin arriving next week. That's about a month ahead of the in person protests. Property owners have until June 2nd this year to file a protest.

To file a protest and see the zip code break down of appraisal increases, click here.

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