Property Tax Protest and Appeal Procedures
An estimated 24,000 real property appraisal notices were mailed on April 15th.
Texas law requires county appraisal districts to send appraisal notices to property owners when: (1) A change in the property’s value increases by $1,000 or more, (2) Any property receiving a homestead exemption, (3) Any property that does not have a homestead exemption on their current home where the situs address and mailing address match, (4) New property owners who did not receive a notice in 2018, (5) Any new accounts that have been created, (6) Any properties where an over 65 exemption was removed or prorated off and (7) A notice must be sent if the property owner rendered their property with the appraisal district.
Business Personal Property, all commercial properties and mineral appraisal notices are not part of April 15th mailing. They will be mailed in the coming weeks. It is important that you review the proposed value of your property, the date your notice was mailed and the deadline to file a protest. Since all notices are not mailed at the same time, there will be different filing deadlines. The filing deadline for the notices mailed April 15th will be May 15th.
The notice contains important information about the property’s location, ownership, and any tax exemptions that have been applied to the property. The mailing of appraisal notices is the early part of April and the deadline to file an agricultural use applicant is still April 30th It is important that you know that appraisers are still reviewing agricultural use applications that were received after the current notices were printed. If you received an appraisal notice that does not show your agricultural use on it you will either receive a letter telling you the application was approved or denied. If it is denied you have 30 days from the date of the denial letter to protest the denial.
If you are receiving an Over 65 or a Disability exemption and this is your first year to receive the exemption you will see the added exemptions on your notice but no ceiling information on the taxes. Starting in the second year the ceiling will appear. If you have made an addition to your home and you have an exemption with a ceiling, the value of the new addition will cause an increase in your taxes. Your ceiling shown on your appraisal notice does not reflect the additional taxes caused by the addition to your home. The new ceiling will be calculated once all of the 2019 tax rates are set. THE APPRAISAL DISTRICT DOES NOT SET THE TAX RATES. Your city, county, school district, and other local taxing units will set the 2019 tax rate.
If you have not filed for a homestead exemption and (1) you owned and lived in your house on January 1 of 2019 or (2) you owned and lived in your home on January 1 of 2018 and/or 2017 you may be able to file an exemption for the prior years.
The Appraisal District staff is available to answer any questions you may have and will do our best to resolve any disagreements in value or exemptions. We ask that you bring anything you feel will help the appraiser have a better understanding as to why you feel the proposed value is too high or why ag use should be granted.
Information that is helpful when discussing value would be: (1) Your settlement statement if purchased within the last 2 years, (2) An independent fee appraisal if the appraisal was completed within the last year, (3) Dated photographs of any damages to your home along with an estimate to repair, (4) Any sales within the last 2 years that you feel is comparable in size, age and condition to your property.
Most differences can be resolved with this information. The appraisal district also has information on sold properties that will be used as well; however, we do not have the sales prices of all properties that have sold.
The appraiser is only able to see the exterior of the property. The appraisal district’s appraisers are here to speak with you up until the date of your hearing with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB).
If your agricultural use has been denied examples of the type of documentation to bring for an informal or formal hearing would be: (1) livestock sales, or purchase receipts, (2) receipts showing the purchase or sale of agricultural products, (3) receipts for the purchase of fertilizer, feed, or veterinary services, (4) receipts for services such as baling hay, (5) dated photographs of ag use on the property.
Property owners who disagree with the appraised value of their property, exemptions, or any other action by the appraisal district have the right to appeal to the ARB. The ARB is an independent panel of citizens responsible for hearing and settling property protests. The notice of appraised value includes instructions on how and when to file a protest, a protest form and Property Taxpayer Remedies Published by the Texas Comptrollers’ office.
Our office is located at 201 N. Dixon St. Gainesville, Texas. Our hours are 8 am to 5 pm. The phone number is 940-665-7651 and fax number is 940-668-2587. You can also reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filing a protest using the Online Protest (E-File), US Mail and Other Means of Filing
Some accounts are available to file a protest online. There will be brief instructions on how to file online mailed with the appraisal notice to those properties that are eligible. You can file your protest by US mail, fax, email, or drop it off at our office. There is also a drive thru where you can drop off your protest.
Property Taxpayer Remedies is available at the Cooke County Appraisal District at 201 N. Dixon St. Gainesville, Texas or our website: www.cookecad.org. The publication is also available on the Comptrollers’ website: www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax. Also available on their website and the appraisal district’s website are two videos: “How to Present Your Case at an ARB Hearing: A Homeowners Guide” and “How to Present your Case at an ARB hearing: A Guide for Small Businesses. THE BEST WAY TO HELP YOU IS FOR YOU TO HELP US.
Property Tax Protest and Appeal Procedures
The law gives property owners the right to protest actions concerning their property tax appraisals. You may follow these appeal procedures if you have a concern about:
The Comptroller’s publication, Property Taxpayers’ Remedies, explains in detail how to protest your property appraisal, what issues the ARB can consider and what to expect during a protest hearing. The publication also discusses your options if you disagree with the decision of the ARB; such as filing in district court, binding arbitration, or filing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
Contact An Appraiser at Cooke County Appraisal District to discuss any value issues you may have with your property at Cooke County Appraisal District, 201 N. Dixon, Gainesville, TX 76240 or call 940-665-7651.
Review by the ARB
If you cannot resolve your problem informally with the county appraisal district (CAD) staff, you may have your case heard by the ARB.
The ARB is an independent board of citizens that reviews problems with appraisals or other concerns listed above. It has the power to order the CAD to make the necessary changes to solve problems. If you file a written request for an ARB hearing (called a notice of protest) before the deadline, the ARB will set your case for a hearing. You will receive written notice of the time, date and place of the hearing. If necessary, you may request a hearing in the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday. Prior to your hearing, you may ask to review the evidence the CAD plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue. The law provides that before a hearing on a protest or immediately after the hearing begins, you or your agent and the CAD shall each provide the other with a copy of any written material intended to be offered or submitted to the ARB at the hearing. To the greatest extent practicable, the hearing will be informal. You or a designated agent may appear in person to present evidence or you may send notarized evidence for the ARB to review at your hearing. The CAD representative will present evidence about your case. You may cross-examine the CAD representative. The ARB will make its decision based on the evidence presented. In most cases, the CAD has the burden of establishing the property’s value by a preponderance of the evidence presented.
In certain protests, the chief appraiser has the burden of proving the property’s value by clear and convincing evidence. You should review ARB hearing procedures to learn more about evidence and related matters. You will find a protest form on the back of your appraisal notice. You can get a copy of a protest form from the appraisal district office, our website www.cookecad.org or from the Comptroller of Public Accounts at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-132.pdf.
You should not try to contact ARB members outside of the hearing. The law requires ARB members to sign an affidavit saying that they have not talked about your case before the ARB hears it.
*The deadline is postponed to the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday.
Review by the District Court, an Arbitrator or SOAH
After it decides your case, the ARB must send you a copy of its order by certified mail. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you have the right to appeal. If you choose to go to court, you must start the process by filing a petition within 60 days of the date you receive the ARB’s order. In certain cases, as an alternative to filing an appeal in district court, you may file, not later than the 45th day after you receive notice of the ARB order, a request for binding arbitration with the county appraisal district. In certain cases, you may appeal to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). An appeal to SOAH is initiated by, not later than the 30th day after you receive notice of the ARB’s order, filing with the chief appraiser of the county appraisal district a notice of appeal. Appeals to district court, binding arbitration, or SOAH all require payment of certain fees or deposits.
You must pay either the amount of taxes due on the portion of the taxable value not in dispute or the amount of taxes due on the property under the order from which the appeal is taken.
You can get more information by contacting your appraisal district at Cooke County Appraisal District, 201 N. Dixon Gainesville, TX 76240 Phone: 940-665-7651.
You can get additional information on how to prepare a protest from the Comptroller’s publication, Property Tax Basics, available on the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/basics/96-1425.pdf.
Deadline for Filing Protests with the ARB*
On or before May 15 (or 30 days after a notice of appraised value was mailed to you, whichever is later).
Late protests are allowed if you miss the usual deadline for good cause. Good cause is some reason beyond your control, like a medical emergency. The ARB decides whether you have good cause.
Late protests are due the day before the ARB approves records for the year. Contact your appraisal district for more information.
For change of use (the appraisal district informed you that you are losing agricultural appraisal because you changed the use of your land), the deadline is not later than the 30th day after the notice of the determination was mailed to you.
For ARB changes (the ARB has informed you of a change that increases your tax liability and the change did not result from a protest you filed), the deadline is not later than the 30th day after the notice of the determination was mailed to you.
If you believe the appraisal district or ARB should have sent you a notice and did not, you may file a protest until the day before taxes become delinquent (usually Feb. 1).
* The deadline is postponed to the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday.
DELINQUENT TAXES STATEMENT MAILING
Delinquent tax notices for the current tax year (2018) are mailed each year at least 30 days but not more than 60 days before July 1st, per the Texas Property Tax Code, Section 33.07(d). Delinquent notices for the tax year 2018 will be mailed on May 1 or as soon as possible thereafter. If you receive a delinquent notice and you believe it is in error, please call the Cooke County Appraisal District’s Collection Department at 940-665-7651.
Full or partial payments are always accepted. In order to better serve and offer assistance to the taxpayer, various payment options are available. Taxes can be paid with a credit/debit card or by e-check through our website: www.cookecad.org. We also offer an installment payment plan option. Please feel free to call or come by the Cooke County Appraisal district at your convenience to discuss any and all payment plan options.
PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT INFORMATION
The Cooke County Appraisal District is available to answer your questions. Our office is located at 201 N. Dixon St. Gainesville Texas. We are open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm. We can be reached by phone at 940-665-7651, fax number 940-668-2587, or email address email@example.com