Each May the Appraisal District sends the Notice of Appraised Value for all properties listed on the appraisal records to the owner of record as of January 1st. This year, the notices will be mailed on May 2. These notices are perhaps the most important piece of mail you will receive from the Appraisal District and it is important that property owners read and understand its contents. The notices also usher in the phase of the tax calendar known as equalization—the time set aside in law for property owners or their authorized agents to address concerns related to the information on the notices. If you are one of those folks that likes to stockpile your mail and wait till the end of the week or month to sift through and finally read it, you may want to slightly adjust that habit when it comes to this piece of mail. If you wait too long, you just may have procrastinated away your right to dispute the notice. Although you have the right to protest, the law is very clear on the deadline to exercise that right. So please take a little time, open the mail and raise whatever issue you may have in a timely manner or early if possible. Most issues are easily resolved provided there is sufficient evidence to allow a change. The real estate market has experienced significant changes in our county over the last year or so and the impact of that change is indicated on each notice of value. Areas of special concern are properties that transferred ownership in 2017 that were granted agricultural special valuation or certain exemptions. New applications were sent to all new owners of those properties but not all have reapplied. Please pay special attention to the notice and make certain it is what you are expecting. If you do not receive your notice by May 7th, please call our office at 903-583-8701 to make sure we are reflecting the correct mailing address for the current property owner. It is the property owner’s responsibility to update the Appraisal District in writing of their current mailing address.
Agricultural special valuation was not applied this year. If you purchased property in 2017 and that property was receiving agricultural special valuation and you think it still is, OPEN THE NOTICE! Make sure you know what we are granting, or not granting. If everything is like you expect, it’s all good. If it is not, you will need to follow some instructions included with the notice to protest. A word of caution here, if you blow it off and wait until October when the tax bill comes and are shell shocked at what you owe, you will find the law is very strict regarding agriculture and find yourself owing a lot more money than you may have budgeted for. Once the appraisal roll is certified to the taxing units in July, Agriculture cannot be applied that year.
Exemptions were not applied this year. If you purchased a property in 2017, any exemptions that were awarded on that property in 2017 were removed for 2018. The new owners were sent new applications and had until April 30th to return the completed application to us. If you submitted an application timely then check and make sure the exemption is being applied.
I did not get my notice. Each year we get mail returned to us for a variety of reasons. We make every attempt to get this notice into the right hands but that effort is often hindered when property owners do not update us in writing with their current mailing address. The notice goes to the most recent address indicated on the appraisal records. If you assumed the change of address card you filled out for the post office took care of it, think again. You need to notify the appraisal district in writing of the address you would like our correspondence to go. So, if you did not receive your notice in the mail by the May 10th, please call us so we can verify your information and keep you informed. Let’s work together on this and avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration.
Property owner options:
Inquire. If you have concerns with the information on your notice you can call the number indicated on the notice and ask to speak to someone regarding the issue. This is an informal way to raise an issue, have it evaluated and possibly resolved. Inquiries are an efficient way to resolve matters and the owner still retains the right to protest if they are not satisfied. (So long as the owner files a protest by the deadline).
Protesting online: Certain Residential Homesteaded properties are permitted to e-file their protest. Qualified properties will have an E-File PIN on the notice of value and instructions. This is another efficient way to raise an issue, provide evidence for consideration and settle the issue. Property owners still retain the right to appear before the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) to have their dispute heard.
Protest by mail or hand deliver the protest. Protests submitted by Fax or Email are not accepted by the ARB according to their policy. Please make sure you drop your protest off or place it in the mail by the deadline indicated on the notice.
Take Away Message: Notices of appraised value were mailed on May 2nd to owners of all property in Fannin County (some exclusions for BPP with extensions). Open and read the notice when you receive it. It contains important information about your property, its value for taxation, exemptions and more. Follow the instructions and engage the system in a timely manner.
Michael R. Jones, RPA, CTA, CCA