Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tax Appraisal

Well, what would be better for a first blog post in Houston than a diatribe on the outrageous tax appraisals we get here?

I moved into my near-Houston house about two years ago. When I moved in, my appraisal was about $66,000. That's not too bad, until one realizes that a person gets taxed at a rate of about $3 per $100 valuation, once all taxes are considered. That means that upon moving in, my taxes were about $2000 per year, or about $166.00 per month. No problem.

I got that year's tax appraisal three days after I moved in, and two days too late to file a protest. I have since learned I could have filed a protest since I was notified late, but that doesn't do me much good now.

The following "year," my taxes went to $111,000. That's a $45K per annum increase, at $3 per $100, an increase of $1350 per year on my taxes. That's right. Within two days of moving in, I got an increase of over $110 per month on my homestead, due to appraisal increases.

The following year, my appraisal was $149K. That's a lot more than 10%, once again, because I didn't yet have my homestead exemption. Without that, you're fair game in the eye of the tax man. Anyway, I protested this one, and got it lowered to $131K, but that's still too high. My taxes increased by another $600 per year. Another $50 per month. For those of you keeping score, my taxes started at $2000 per year, and are now at $3400 per year. I get an exemption, so what I actually pay goes down a little, from the "real" level shown above.

Along comes this year. This year, I went up by the maximum allowable by law, to $144K. That's quite a coincidence! I went up exactly by the legal maximum! I wish my luck was as good on the lottery. My present taxes, until I either win in arbitration, win in court, or lose, now stand at $4320, more or less. Ain't government great? They did all this without a tax increase.

I'm going to protest again, aiming for the original quotation, or at least something reasonable. I advise everyone to protest, even if your appraisal didn't change or went down (if that is possible). You are protesting paying the unrealized increase in value in an asset. You have no income to show for your value changes. It is a theoretical gain, with no basis in reality, until you sell. That is the time the value should be determined. Any future valuation is conjecture and opinion.


Blogger Lee said...

Do protest...and then protest again and again until somebody listens...not only listens but does something positive! What really annoys, grates and angers is you're not getting anything more...for the more money the government is stealing from you! Your property is the same...but the weight of your wallet is less! Don't hold back...silence never gets you anywhere!

Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 5:55:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Don said...

I just hope they lower my appraisal. Last year was a learning experience. I hope to benefit from that experience this time.

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 3:53:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Matt said...

Don, shoot me an email and I can help you out with your protest. I've done well over 2,000 of them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 12:15:00 AM CDT  

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