Bexar County property owners are suffering because the 2017 valuations are arriving in the mail now.
On Wednesday, KENS 5’s Sue Calberg talked to Bexar County’s chief appraiser, who said that the protest process is easy, and many people see great success if they come prepared. The deadline to file a protest is right around the corner: May 31.
Sue Calberg: We are at the Bexar County Appraisal District. I am with the Chief Appraiser Michael Amezquita. It's appeal season.
Micheal Amezquita: It is.
SC: What do Bexar County property owners need to know to successfully navigate the appeals process?
MA: The appeals process, particularly for homeowners, is pretty simple. The appeal deadline is going to be May 31 for all taxpayers or 30 days after the date of your notice. When you file your appeal, it's important to check the box letting us know that you want your evidence packet. That will give you all the evidence we use to formulate our opinion of your value. And it also limits the information we can introduce at the review board, should you choose to go to the board.
Once you analyze that data, you can decide, if you're a residential homeowner and it's your homestead, whether or not you want to file an online appeal or come in and make an appeal in person. If you file your protest and simply drop it off or mail it in, we'll schedule you two hearing dates and times. One for an informal, and one for a formal hearing. Eighty percent of taxpayers settle with my staff, so very few end up going to the review board.
SC: So it's pretty simple? Make the May 31 deadline, and ask for the packet?
MA: Absolutely. There will be some nuances for different areas in terms of land and improvement values. The main thing taxpayers need to remember is while the legislature requires us to separate land and improvement values, the sum total still has to equal market value. And sometimes we make changes to land to try to adjust for locational factors.
Oftentimes, we don't adjust the land every year. So sometimes that number can lag behind. But in any case, the total value has to be representative of market value. If not, you may have grounds for an appeal.
SC: And the process is simple, and there's plenty of help to walk people through it?
MA: Absolutely. We schedule a relatively high number of people simply because, generally, there's a 50 percent no-show rate. Unlike the airlines, we don't throw people out and we don't make people give up their seat. We'll get the next person in line. It doesn't matter if we run into lunch time or five o’clock or whatever the case may be.
I can tell you that for the last three years, we've been experiencing about a 15- to 20-minute wait time at our peak season for an informal meeting. So it's a really quick process.
SC: And somebody who wants to get involved in the process can start with BCAD.org?
MA: That's correct. That's our online website. You can go up and down your street and look and look and see what everybody else's value is relative to yours. And that evidence packet, you simply ask for it and we'll tell you what all the other homes in your neighborhood that look like your house are valued at and we'll give you all the sales information which, incidentally, up until a few years ago, we could give you sales information. Now, I can only give it to you if you file an appeal. So, just keep that in mind.