CLASSIFICATION CODES AND IMPROVEMENT CODES:
(Contributed by Alena Berlanga)
This information was obtained through an records request with Wilson County Appraisal District for the codes so taxpayers can better understand how to read the evidence package and comparables.
- Double check WCAD's “math” and codes for your property.
- Be sure the classification for each structure on your property is in the right category. Example: If you have a structure that is classified as a metal building, but it’s actually just a metal roof and open sides (like a carport), your price per square foot will be different and your overall appraised value will be different.
- Compare their square footage for each structure to what it actually is. If your square footage is less than the CAD data, your value will be different.
- Check to see if all the structures listed on your evidence package are actually yours. There have been instances where one property had a structure on their property according to CAD, however, it was the neighbors structure that was mistakenly added to their appraisal.
- Confirm that any changes to your structures (i.e. demolished, repurposed shed to chicken coop, etc.) are reflected in your evidence package
The more you know, the better prepared you will be for your hearing.
Download "class and improv codes.pdf"
Learn how to present your case at the ARB
How to Present Your Case at an ARB Hearing: Homeowner's Guide
This slideshow presentation is provided by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Property Tax Assistance Division to help homeowners shed a light on what to do, what to expect, how to prepare, preparing your evidence, valuing the evidence, being persuasive and not emotional, who has the burden of proof, and more.
Appraisal Review Boards
This document from the Comptroller's
website shows what
the ARB should entail.
YOUR HEARING WITH THE APPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD (ARB) IS SCHEDULED, NOW WHAT
Contributed by Alena Berlanga (Floresville)
When you receive your “notice of hearing” from the Appraisal District, respond to acknowledge you received the notice and will attend. Be sure that you have requested the “evidence package” from the Appraisal District. While waiting for your evidence package, gather all of your OWN evidence. Do not delay. It is up to you to have what you need to prove your case. You cannot go to the hearing and just say the appraisal district is wrong. You should gather all information about your property that may be relevant in considering the true value of your home/property such as:
-*Comparables (also called a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA) from a realtor
-*Photographs of property (yours and comparables), street, across the street
-Receipts or estimates for repairs
-Sales price documentation, such as listings, closing statements and other information
-Calculations of median level of appraisal, if equal and uniform appraisal is protested
-Affidavits, if needed
-Architectural drawings or blueprints
IS YOUR HEARING SCHEDULED WITHIN THE NEXT 14 DAYS
Your response to the “notice of hearing” may look like this:
“Thank you for confirming my ARB Hearing on May 26. As noted on the Protest Form I previously submitted, I have requested the evidence package the Appraisal District plans to use at this hearing. Per the “Rules of Order”, item 9, the Appraisal District shall provide the evidence package at least 14 days prior to my scheduled hearing. Failure to do so would make such evidence inadmissible as stated in the “Rules of Order”. This hearing is scheduled to take place in 14 days and I have not yet received the requested evidence package. Please advise.” (Item 9 is marked in red on the attached photo.)
Part of your hearing involves evidence and another part involves arguing your case. Arguing means presenting your case by a clear and concise presentation of your evidence. Do not get personal. You may feel that your taxes are too high, but neither the ARB nor the appraisal district set your taxes (the CAD estimates values). While the ARB can consider the effect of general economic and environmental factors may have on your property value, it cannot take into account your personal economic situation. Emotional arguments or wishful thinking will not get you anywhere with the ARB.
You, or your designated agent, and the appraisal district representative will both have an opportunity to present evidence, examine witnesses and state an opinion of the property value. You may elect whether to present evidence first or after the appraisal district representative presents evidence.
Your evidence (from the above list) may be submitted either in paper or on a small portable electronic device (such as a CD, USB flash drive or thumb drive) which will be kept by the ARB. Do NOT bring evidence on a smart phone.
WHAT IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE ARB RULING/DECISION
You have the right to appeal through binding ARBITRATION. Binding arbitration is available for market or appraised value determinations by ARBs. Unequal appraisal determinations may also be the subject of a request for binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is available only if your property is:
- a residential homestead, regardless of value; OR
- a property with an appraised value of $5 million or less
To appeal an ARB order to binding arbitration, you must file a request for binding arbitration with the appraisal district not later than the 60th day after receiving notice of the order. To apply for binding arbitration, you must complete the Comptroller's request form and submit it with your deposit in the required amount based on the ARB's determination of the property value and property type. You must make your deposit by money order or cashier's check, payable to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and delivered to your local CAD office. (See attached arbitration fee schedule.)
If the arbitrator's decision is closer to the value you claim to be correct, the appraisal district will pay the arbitrator's fee and the Comptroller's office will refund your deposit, less $50 that the law requires our office to retain to cover administrative costs.
If the arbitrator's decision is closer to the value determined by the ARB, or equal to half of the difference between your value and the ARB's value, then the arbitrator's fee is paid from your deposit.
If you need additional help, please reach out to one of us.
VIDEO POINTS OF DISCUSSION, TIMELINE
00:00- Welcome, introductions
03:00 How to get involved. Explanation of taxing districts/entities with governing boards and how these boards adopt tax rates.
09:39 Introducing guest speaker Michael Berlanga and his background
11:30 Michael Berlanga presents overview of the property appraisal protest process
15:10 This is a Texas issue. Property tax states. Biggest property tax burden.
17:00 Legislative authority. The Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
18:11 Schedule of Property Tax Process
20:49 42,000 property owners in Wilson County. Only 2400 protested in 2020... Percentage of property owners who protest.
21:49 Explanation of "mass appraisals" by the CAD...
23:05 Deadline to file protest: May 15
23:32 only 1 appraisal review board (ARB) panel... Explanation of "what we are up against but what we have a right to."
25:35 "How to File a Protest and Request"
31:06 some Q&A, discussions
33:01 "Wilson CAD official website" notices to taxpayers.
35:49 "County Appraisal District Residential Evidence Report explained in 3 parts"
38:50 Q&A, discussions...
38:50 slide appears "County Appraisal District Commercial Evidence Report Calculated in 3 ways" but questions, discussion continues.
44:35 How to get your message across: High feelers, Low Feelers, High Thinkers, Low Thinkers
46:21 "How to Manage Your Message"
47:04 Sample Taxpayer Evidence Package – Giving images and facts
52:30 "Formal Hearings are Heard by ARB"
53:04 "Manage Your Presence at Hearings" (keep your peace)
59:38 "Formal Process Dos and Don'ts"
01:01:03 "Sifuentes Protest Experience 2020"
01:04:30 "Managing The Myths of Property Tax Protests"
01:12:32 "Protest Process Step By Step"
01:14:42 "After the Formal Hearing Before the Lawsuit, Sifuentes"
01:17:43 "Request for Binding Arbitration Requirements"
01:18:55 "Arbitration Deposit & Fee Schedule"