It's HOT in Houston - Property Taxes

 

 

April 9, 2014

 

 

It’s a beautiful spring, and Houston’s economy is HOT!  Harris and surrounding counties are enjoying a booming real estate market.  Home values are up and are predicted to rise further.   That’s great – Right?

 

 

Rapid economic development in Houston gives us reason to celebrate. Houston is growing, but there’s one piece of this puzzle we also need to consider – rising property taxes!  How much more will you owe this year?

 

 

 WOW!  If your home’s property taxes went up, what can you do?  Below are steps you can take to reduce the amount of property taxes you owe each year. 

 

Property taxes are based on:

  • Applicable tax rate – the rate at which your property is taxed
  • Tax appraised value – the dollar value assigned to a property

 

File for Exemption(s)! 

Exemptions can potentially lower your applicable tax rate.

 

A homestead exemption is the most effective method of minimizing property taxes.  If you own your home as of January 1st and haven’t filed a Homestead Exemption on another property, you qualify.  This exemption reduces your applicable tax rate, and limits the amount your tax appraised value may increase each year to 10%.

 

Are you 65 or will you turn 65 anytime during 2014?  If yes, you also qualify for an Over 65 Exemption.  This exemption combined with the homestead exemption locks your applicable tax rate for as long as you own your home.  The deadline for filing exemptions in Harris County is April 30th.

 

Protest!  Protest!  Protest!

Filing a protest can potentially lower your tax appraised value.   

 

In most counties, protests of tax appraised values can be filed once annually.  The deadline to file protests in Harris County is May 31st.  You may either:

  • File and protest your tax appraised value yourself or
  • Hire a Property Tax Consultant to protest on your behalf. 

Property tax consultants, typically work on a contingent basis.  In other words, if they can’t lower your tax appraised value, you pay nothing.  If they successfully lower your tax appraised value, your cost is a percentage of how much you save in annual property taxes.  Typical contingent fees are approximately 40%-50% of the amount saved. 

 

We are Here to Help! 

Visit the Harris County website (www.hcad.org) or your county website for filing deadlines and more information.

 

If you would like further financial guidance on how to reduce your property taxes or for a referral to a reputable property tax consultant, please contact Jim Waters, CFP®, at PARTNERSINWEALTH 713.964.4028 or jrw@partnersinwealth.com.