In a few short days, the 2020 Notice of Appraised Value for all real properties in Fannin County will appear in mail boxes. The notices will be mailed on April 29th to the owner of record at the address listed on the appraisal records. 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 the 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.
The real estate market has experienced significant changes in our county over the last year. The date of appraisal, as required by law, is January 1, 2020 (Pre-COVID-19), meaning the trends and market forces leading up to and existing at that time were used to establish the values for 2020. Any impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on the real estate market during 2020 will be reflected next year. For this year, we have included a letter which outlines the process we will follow for this upcoming protest season. It is imperative that we balance public safety and the safety of our staff as we work to resolve issues you may have with the notice of appraised value. Currently, our lobby remains closed to the public until further notice. Although COVID-19 has impacted how we conduct business, it has not diminished your right to due process. Please follow the instructions indicated on the letter included with your notice. Changes to the process: Impromptu walk-in or call-in conversations with an appraiser will not be available this year. Property owners with a dispute will need to first file a protest and indicate the nature of their dispute. This action secures your right to a hearing before the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). Appraisers will review and, if possible, work to resolve the issue informally. Most issues are easily resolved provided there is sufficient evidence to allow a change. To expedite this process, owners/agents are encouraged to utilize the on-line portal indicated on the appraisal notice. Otherwise, owners/agents can complete the protest form included with their notice and either mail it in or place in the door slots at the main entrance of the Appraisal District office. Please pay attention to the deadline to protest. 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.
If you do not receive your notice by May 6th, please call our office at 903-583-8701 to make sure we are reflecting the correct mailing address for the current property owner. Updating your mailing address is easy, simply contact the Appraisal District to obtain a change of address form or go online at www.fannincad.org and click the “Contact Us” tab to submit the address change online. Changes of address must be submitted in writing. It is the property owner’s responsibility to update the Appraisal District in writing of their current mailing address. For a more detailed outline of property owner options and additional information regarding this topic, please go to our webpage at www.fannincad.org and review the news release as well as links to the comptroller’s page.
Agricultural special valuation was not applied this year. If you purchased property in 2019 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. Please do NOT disregard your notice and wait until October when the tax bill comes and the amount of tax is higher than you assumed it would be. 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 2019, any exemptions that were awarded on that property were removed for 2020. The new owners were sent new applications and have 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. Filing a change of address card for the post office does not update the appraisal district. Property owners must 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 May 6th, please call us so we can verify some information and keep you informed. Let’s work together on this and avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration.
Property owner options:
COVID-19 has influenced the way most companies conduct business. The Fannin Central Appraisal District is no exception. We have instituted practices and procedures this year to keep our public and our staff safe while at the same time achieve the goal of ensuring property owner rights are preserved. To that end, if a property owner has an issue with the notice of value, their right is to submit a protest and secure their right to be heard. Submitting the protest communicates what the issue is and provides our staff an opportunity to research the issue and possibly resolve it with the property owner informally. Most protests can be resolved in this manner. Our recommendation for property owners that need to address an issue regarding their notice—follow the guidance we provided with your notice of value and submit a protest as soon as possible so that we can work the issue. Impromptu or face-to-face informal conversations with appraisers will not be available this year. Property owners must first submit their protest before the deadline indicated on the bottom of the notice.
Protesting online: This year, the e-file protest option is available for all properties. The E-File PIN is on the notice of value. This is an efficient way to raise an issue, provide evidence for consideration and possibly 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 are in the mail and being sent to owners of all real 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
Fannin Central Appraisal District