Challenging Property Tax Assessments

The assessment placed on a piece of property is the value that will be used to determine how much property tax will be owed.”

Many times the assessment is placed on the property in the first part of the year and statements are mailed to property owners with bold printing that says “This is not a bill.” Unfortunately, since it doesn’t require action, many property owners don’t give it the attention it deserves.

Usually, there is a deadline for the assessment to be challenged. After that time, the property taxes are set for the year.

Correcting an assessment is a simple matter and doesn’t require the services of a specialist. The first step is to discuss it with the assessor’s office. Many times clarifications can be made on this initial phone call.

The next step is to make an appeal to the local board that is set up to hear disagreements. The board is made up of local citizens. Both the taxpayer and the assessor’s office will get to tell their reasons for the valuation.

The property owner should have as much evidence to support the claim as possible. An independent appraisal is an excellent piece of data to have. However, if you have comparables of recent sales with documented facts, it will usually carry as much weight.

If the property has deteriorated, pictures can be valuable to show its present condition.

If the house has deteriorated significantly, or there has been a general drop in prices, this could adversely affect the value.

Simply saying the property is too high and you couldn’t sell it for that will generally not have much consideration. Neither will saying that it hasn’t been revalued lately or that an unfair comparison was made.

If you need help getting comparable sales or other information to make an appeal, contact me. I’d like to help.

Jane S. Idzi Jane Idzi specializes in the Park Cities and areas south of LBJ/635 including Lake Forest, Devonshire, Preston Hollow, and the historical districts of M-Streets and Munger Place. She has earned the coveted e-Pro Certification in addition to CCRC and Historic Home Specialist and is a member of the Texas Association of Realtors, the MetroTex Association of Realtors, Dallas Chamber of Commerce and Dallas Network Connection.She was voted a DMagazine’s Dallas Top Realtor for 2005.Her website,, boasts over 12,900 individual visitors a month and over 467,000 hits a month. She can be reached at 214-522-7997.