KGNS On Your Side: Tips to keep from overpaying on property taxes

Updated: Apr. 16, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Many Webb County residents started receiving appraised value notices in the mail during the first week of April.

These notices come every spring from the Webb County Appraisal District which is tasked with notifying taxpayers of how much their property is worth.

“Don’t ignore that envelope,” Bobby Peregoy, Chief Appraiser for the Webb County Appraisal District said. “Open it up and read the information.”

Many residents experienced sticker shock when they opened this year’s appraisal including Laredo veteran, Humberto Villarreal.

“Very high,” Villarreal said. “$51,000 and I only have 15 acres.”

He has property off of Mines Road and understands that the value of his property went up because businesses are buying land around his.

However, he’s one of the many residents who will protest the value.

“Where we live people don’t take care of anything, and there’s only two people that have houses, Villarreal said. “The other [properties] are all messed up.”

When it comes to the appraised value of your property, Peregoy told KGNS the price point they reach is based on the housing market demand, and what buyers and sellers are snatching up real estate for around your home.

“We’re executing a mass appraisal system,” Peregoy said. “Essentially that means analyzing market data, adjusting our values to reflect that market data, but we’re doing, so kind of in [a] very one big broad brush, so anytime that’s going to happen certainly there might be issues where a property might be over appraised or under appraised.”

What do you need to do if you feel you’ve been overassessed?

First, file your protest 30 days from the date you received your appraisal notice.

Next, start collecting all the evidence you believe will help your case like, photos of property damage, cost estimates for repairs, and hire an independent appraiser or realtor who can provide you data on what houses are selling for that are similar to yours or in your area.

The protest hearing period is between May and July of 2023.

“Last year was a record year for [the appraisal district],” Peregoy said. “We had just shy of 18,000 protests, and I will tell you that the vast majority, 85% to 90% of those protests will result in some form of an adjustment due to the various characteristics or issues that are going on with that particular property.”

Peregoy added that any failure on the appraisal district’s part to not capture the prices of the property accurately could have implications for our school districts through the loss of state funding.

Reminder, if you plan on protesting you must file within the allotted time because you will not be able to do so after the filing deadline.

For those wanting to skip a visit to the appraisal office, they have made it simple by opening up an online portal to handle your protest at the link.

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