All commercial and residential properties in Harris County are appraised Jan. 1 of each year, and property value notices had been mailed out to most residential property owners by late April, according 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.
For residents who believe an error was made in determining their property values, protesting is the go-to mechanism for getting that error corrected. In a news release, Chief Appraiser Roland Altinger encouraged those looking to protest to use the district’s online iFile program at www.hcad.org/iFile. However, a protest form is also included in the packet that is mailed along with the property value notice, which can be filled out and brought to HCAD’s office.
“Using iFile to submit your protest and then selecting iSettle is the quickest and easiest way to file and resolve your protest,” Altinger said in a statement. “With iSettle, you can submit electronic documentation to support your opinion of value, and an appraiser will review it. If the appraiser responds with a new value and you accept, your protest is done for the year.”
Each property owner receives a unique iFile number with their value notices that can be used to file a protest online. Protesters who use iSettle can upload evidence to support a change in value, such as a closing statement, repair estimates, comparable sales information, deeds or photos.
The number of people to file protests in Harris County has been increasing over the past decade, according to HCAD data, as home values have risen.
Altinger said high demand for residential properties along with a shrinking inventory of homes translated into a roughly 8%-10% increase in residential values on average across the county this year. The median sales price for homes sold in Harris County was $260,000 as of January, up from $245,000 in January 2020, according to HCAD data.
An estimated 84% of single-family homes saw value increase this year, with 6.3% of homes seeing decreases and 9.7% seeing no change. Around 74% of homes saw value increases last year, according to HCAD.
The deadline to protest property values typically falls on May 15, but the deadline is postponed when May 15 falls on a weekend. For property owners who received their value notices on April 17 or later, the deadline to file a protest is 30 days after they received the value notice.