Residents have 30 days from receipt of the notice to dispute their assessments.
SMITH COUNTY, Texas — Emiley Brown of Kilgore received her assessment in the mail last week.
“I was shocked because it was $60,000 more than last year,” Brown said.
Her 2,600 square foot home has gone up in value.
“It’s crazy,” Brown said. “I called and spoke to an assessor from the Gregg County Assessment District today and he told me he has 1,500 protests ahead of him to go through.”
The Smith County Assessment Office is also overwhelmed. Chief Assessor Carol Dixon said her phone kept ringing.
“The owners say, ‘Hey, how did you come up with this value? “Dixon said.
She also said there are a lot of things that go into your assessment, including neighborhood sales, real estate trends, and any changes you’ve made to your home. They are required to assess 100% market value in a market that is exploding to the max.
“So for the seller, of course, they want to take advantage, right? Everybody likes money. And if everybody hears ‘houses are going to cost 30, 40,000 more, you should sell, they’re going to sell,” Brown said.
There are some options for homeowners. Within the next three weeks, property owners with recent appraisals or any documentation proving why their property should be worth less than how it was appraised should bring it to their appraisal district.
If there is nothing they can do for you, you can also protest to the Ratings Review Board. Complete the protest form on the back of your notice or online at your assessment district’s website.
East Texans may also have wondered how these assessments would affect their taxes.
Smith County Tax Collector Gary Barber said you need to contact your assessment district now because once the assessments come to his office as the tax office, it’s too late to dispute them. He said the owners wanted it done within a month of receiving their notice.
In the same valuation vein, Barber wants every homeowner to take advantage of homestead exemptions. It’s basically tax relief for homeowners. They’re usually $25,000 in school taxes, but this year an even bigger break is on the ballot. If passed, the break would increase to $40,000.
“If you want to lower your taxes on your home, you’ll support it. And the elderly or the disabled get another 10,000 on top,” Barber said.
Homeowners in Texas can only claim one property exemption. Barber said if more than one turns out, the owner could owe back taxes.
The deadline to apply for a homestead exemption is April 30.
Homeowners who purchased their property after January 1, 2022 no longer have to wait until next January to apply for a Homestead Exemption. Dixon said you can apply the same day you move in.
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