AUSTIN (KXAN) — In May homeowners across Travis County got an appraisal notice in their mailboxes. It was sticker shock for some, seeing how much their home value increased this year.
Because of it, residents throughout the city are seeing an increase in their taxes. Some say they owe thousands more than they did last year, and they have one more day to bring their concerns before county officials.
The chief appraiser with the Travis Central Appraiser District says the increased appraisals are reflective of the market.
“In Austin we have a very strong real estate market,” said Marya Crigler, the Chief Appraiser. “Sales prices are indicating an increase in market value and appraisals are reflecting that in the real estate market.”
The rising property values have adverse effects on some residents in particular Austin neighborhoods. Alex Martinez has watched the value of his home at Comal Street and Cesar Chavez Street climb each year.
“I was born and raised here, and lived here on this side of town all my life,” said Martinez.
The east Austin resident says the neighborhood has changed shape over the last 30 years: new houses, two-story houses, and condos are going up, he says. Martinez says he’s making enough money to stay above water on his taxes, but worries that could change.
“It’s enough to get by, but I’m afraid that one year it’s not going to be like that,” said Martinez.
Martinez says he’s protested his appraisal for years now, but the reduction is usually insignificant. Still, the effort is a small price to pay to hopefully avoid the biggest cost: leaving the neighborhood.
“I think about wanting to sell, and I say, ‘Pretty soon, it’s going to get to that point, that I’m going to have to just go and sell,'” Martinez said.
You have legal options to help lower your tax bill. The most important one for most families is a homestead exemption. It caps how much your tax bill can go up each year but only on your primary residence.
But, it is too late to submit the form for this year. What you can do is protest an overvalued appraisal. The deadline is Monday, June 2nd.
You are able to protest the property value of your home by filling out the back of the form and mailing it back to the appraiser’s office.
Depending on how many appeals they get, the county may extend the deadline.
Here are some options for you if you’re looking for private law firms and other agencies that specialize in tax appraisal protests.