Very young in my career, I used to be a pretty good real estate appraiser. During my senior year in college, I interned with a real estate appraisal company. The company did tax appraisals for different municipalities and counties. After school, I worked for them another five years. If it wasn't for them, I would have never met my wife. The appraisal company transfer me to Wichita, Kansas, and my wife was a nursing student there.
Anyhow, I became pretty good at a very young age. Good enough that the company sent me to the Statehouse, in Topeka to represent the company at the state level of tax appeals. I went to work every day at the Kansas Statehouse and set in front of three judges and defended appraisals made in Sedgwick County (Wichita). That was quite an experience. I could show off for my soon to be wife, and was probably the impetus for my remaining in the real estate business. I was fascinated with how real estate values worked and the facts that caused values to vacillate.
I'd like to share some of my knowledge with you. Perhaps it will help with your own personal tax analysis.
It is a very common double reaction when receiving a notice of a new real estate tax evaluation. First, you are delighted that the value of your house is more than you paid for it........but second, you are afraid your taxes will go up. In fact, the two reactions aren't necessarily automatically connected.
The state law is pretty clear. All property is to be appraised at their true market value. Then, the tax rate is determined by
dividing those values by the cash needs of the taxing district. The tax rate is set, and the result is the cash the taxing district has to pay bills with. The rare exception is the "roll back" taxes that are sometimes deferred for agricultural land.
It's a little simplistic, but if your house value goes up by 10%, and everyone else's real estate values go up by 10%, and the taxing district's cash needs remain the same, in theory the tax rate will go down by 10% and everybody's tax bill remains the same, even tho their values went up.
But, alas, it hardly ever works out that way. The important thing is what your values did in relation to everybody else. If your values went up by 10% and everyone else's went up by 5%, its a fair bet your taxes are going up. An increasing appraisal, standing alone, doesn't mean very much. Other comparable homes in the area, and the cash needs of the taxing authority, has far more influence on your tax bill.
The above is important to know when appealing your tax appraisals. To file an appeal, then appear and make the statement, "My appraisal and my taxes are too high" won't get you very far. When making an appeal, you must know that the appeal board can go up on your value as well as go down. It doesn't happen often, but it can happen. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with unsavory remarks about the appeal board's haircuts or IQ. In some very rare instances, the appraisals are blatantly wrong. This is usually due to some math or procedural error of some kind. Those are usually found and corrected quickly when brought to the board's attention.
To only complain about your value is a weak position to take in appeals. You must have better weapons to successfully reduce the tax appraisal. The very best weapon to have is comparable information. That is information of comparable homes or real estate around you. It's how you place in comparison to others that is the effective tool in appeals. Also, avoid all conversations about whether you would sell your house for the appraised amount. If you say "No," the appeal is over. Most appraisal districts will consciously try to hold appraisals at slightly below market. They know the same thing I mentioned above. That is, if everyone is treated the same, it makes no difference. It's a slight deviation from the language of the law, but if uniformly implemented, it is fair, and saves a lot of money during the appeal process. Fewer people appeal. You can get comparable information about neighborhood values online at the appraisal district's website. This information will be the most convincing evidence to present to the appeals court. Otherwise, you must raise cane about spending habits of the taxing district.
If you can't get the appraisal of your property lowered, your only other avenue to tax relief is to complain about the spending of the taxing authorities.
Hope the above helps. Go camp out on the appraisal district's website and learn what your neighbor's houses are appraised for.