By Bev Carter
Pay attention now! May 31 is the deadline for protesting your assessed valuation with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (CAD). You can protest online at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-132.pdf or simply google Fort Bend CAD and click on “online protest.”
You should have received an assessment of the value of your property by April 1. If you congratulated yourself on the increase in your property, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. This assessment have ramifications for you in every taxing entity in which your property is located.
And in years when you know that your real estate has not increased in value because your neighbors sold their house and it didn’t fetch that much, I’ll bet your notice from the CAD didn’t show much of a decrease. That’s because as long as the CAD raises the value of your property, then your elected officials don’t have to vote to increase your taxes.
You are going to pay more in taxes because the value has increased, but there will be NO headlines in the newspapers about how your city councilman or county commissioner has raised your taxes. That’s the way they want it.
And guess who appointed the people on the board and the review board? Why your elected officials, that’s who.
So it’s the CAD’s job to keep increasing those values and it’s your job to keep pushing back against it.
You can research the historical value of your house on line at the CAD web site. You can also find out what your neighbors are valued and by clicking on your data sheet (and theirs too if you are looking to compare) and finding out what you are valued at per square foot.
Remember, there is a magical 10% increase cap which seems to magically happen on your CAD appraisal. Also remember that if there have been some foreclosures in your area, the CAD by law is required to use those figures also. Seems they used to not consider those when re-evaluating entire neighborhoods which they are prone to do (the entire neighborhood thing). Fort Bend has been sued about the foreclosure law.
As I understand it (and I certainly don’t understand all about the CAD) your online protest is your informal hearing as well. But if you don’t receive satisfaction there, you can request a hearing before the ARB board which is an in person hearing. It’s very easy for the online protest to be turned down but the in person hearing is harder to ignore.
You are entitled to one postponement of the hearing on your protest without showing cause.
So good and happy protesting.