Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Property Tax Protest Meeting

 

Property taxes

In Texas, it is that time of the year when all property owners have the constitutional right to contest the property tax assessment delivered by the county. The inspiration for this list was listening to the stories told by my dear wife after her return from her meeting with the tax assessor.  Yes, you read it right. She is the one who does all the research and then the one to confront the tax people. (I fear for their lives)  I hope you enjoy the list. (Oh, by the way, our assessment was reduced.)

10  If you are protesting your property taxes, do not think the personnel will not remember you from last year. If you do, at best they will keep you sitting in the waiting room as long as possible. At worst, they will have held a special boost morale meeting and take up the mantle of a football team taking the field. (You thought that different hair and fake mustache was going to help didn’t you?)

9 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not make jokes about the staff having to work on Saturday. If you do, at best you’ll get polite smiles and no action. At worst, your case worker will find an overlooked loophole and assess your property even higher. (That one joke about government drones finally having to work was the nail hey, Ferd?)

8 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not try to blame your case worker for the high assessment. If you do, at best they will become very defensive and no help. At worst, they will call in the county lawyer and threaten you with a defamation of character lawsuit. (You now see why the lawyer is standing by don’t you Bunkie?)

7 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not show up in your grubbiest clothes trying to look poor. If you do, at best the case worker knows the value of your home and think you a fool. At worst, the guard will stop your entrance into the building thinking you are homeless with no need for a property tax protest meeting. (With only one chance to protest you better hope you have time to run home and change.)

6 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not try to use last year’s photos of your home’s deplorable condition at this year’s meeting. If you do, at best the case worker will excuse you memory lapse since the file contains five years of documentation. At worst, the case worker will put you at a disadvantage by using phrases like “tax fraud,”deception,” and “felony.” (Makes you want to pretend to have a stroke doesn’t it?)

5 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not be outraged when the case worker says, “You should be grateful to pay taxes on such a lovely looking house.” If you do, at best you can kiss any further consideration goodbye. At worst, you’ll hurt some feelings that won’t ever heal. (Remember you’ll need to come back next year and a case worker never forgets)

4 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not think the case worker will be more impressed and influenced by more pages of documentation rather than less. If you do, at best you will have your case worker nodding off. At worst, you case worker will take offense thinking they are incapable of making a decision absent a hundred pages of facts. (This taking of offense will not serve you well in the future.)

3 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not ask to use the caseworkers’ calculator. If you do, at best it might be interpreted that you don’t trust either the calculator or the case worker or both. At worst, the case worker is a germaphobe and will break out in hives just at the thought of you using the calculator. (Now you need a new case worker and all are busy aren’t they Rube)

2 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not raise your voice. If you do, at best your case worker will ask to be replaced by another. At worst, that scared wide-eyed look on the face of the case worker will immediately precede the arrival of the sheriff’s officers. (In addition to hight taxes you now have a court date for assault, Tiger)

1 If you are protesting your property taxes, do not let a spouse say anything to try to help. If you do, at best the spouse will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and everyone will get confused. At worst, the spouse will add an unnecessary comment that will convince the case worker that your taxes ought to be higher for the next three years. (Gee all that was said is “Who do you think pays your salary?”

35 comments

  1. LOL. I knew this would be good when I saw the “location” of the what not to do.
    I’ve never lived in a place with a protest day. Here, the taxes aren’t rated as all that high… but they slipped in all sorts of nickle & diming that somehow aren’t included.
    I think your wife is probably wise to keep you out of those meetings, John. 😉 You seem to know a little too much about what not to do. 😀 Mega hugs

    1. Thanks, Teagan. Yes, she is the boss on tax reductions. Have a marvelous Monday. Hugs.

  2. Warren protests ours nearly every year. It always gets reduced. I would just pay it

    1. Yay, Warren. Thanks Pamela. 🙂

  3. “If you are protesting your property taxes, do not show up in your grubbiest clothes trying to look poor.” LOL! Loved this, John!

    1. Thanks, Jill. Have a marvy Monday. 🙂

  4. The last time someone told me that ‘they paid my salary!’ ( I was working for a Police Department) I replied “I need a raise”. Stopped them cold! Love this post.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks Pam. 😀

  5. I send someone who speaks Marathi to pay the property tax here as my husband is now an invalid. I don’t argue with those people. For one thing, I can’t as I don’t speak Marathi. The only thing I’m trying to do is get my deceased mother-in-law’s name off the bill. She died in 1985. My husband just never considered it important. Good piece, John. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. Oh my, Suzanne. Sounds complicated. I wish you the best and a prayer for your husband and you.

  6. #6 can be horribly undone by an updated Google Earth picture. Also, I fully agree with #1 on more than just this topic. Not everything is a team sport and sometimes the strongest member has to take the lead. Now, how exactly does this work because I’d never heard of arguing your property taxes? They don’t it around here.

    1. You go in and sit in front of a person and argue for lowering the assessment. This is the right of each resident of the Republic of Texas. Taxation without representation is not something the Texas (and US) constitution allows. In this case you are your own representative.

      1. Interesting. For some reason, I can see myself doing poorly at this. I demand a lower assessment because I want it. Giving me what I want is a way to keep me happy and stop the voices from taking over. I also demand a refund paid in frozen yogurt coupons.

      2. Yes. You would go far with that strategy if only to get you to move on.

      3. Or chucked out a window.

  7. I protested ours the year we moved to Idaho. It doesn’t hurt to have a current appraisal in hand.

    1. Yes, very true.

  8. Lucky you here in the US: you can at least protest your property taxes. I Germany we can’t. But then, our property taxes are way, way lower than yours. But don’t envy us. We have our Value Added Tax of 19% on any purchase or payment for services etc. And no way of protesting that. Not even voting for a different ruling party.

    1. I have had many a beer in Koln with my German co-workers discussing the differences between county taxation. A lot of fun hours.

      1. Hm – talking of taxes = fun hours??!!

      2. Well, other things as well.

  9. Good for your wife, John!! And you’re a smart man for marrying her, too! I’ve heard of folks actually getting their taxes reduced through polite protests, but I don’t think we’ve ever been among them — sigh.

    1. Yes. She is calm and collected and this year the head guy saw her sitting in the waiting area and took her right in.

  10. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
    We don’t get an opportunity to complain about taxes here unless you want to take your complaint to city hall. Even then, there’s not much good will happen with that visit.

    1. Good ole Texas. Thanks, Tess

      1. Sounds good to me. 😀

  11. LOL I will have to remembere thios when my time comes. Never had to do it yet. But I can relate to number 1 in other situations. Wife will no doubt stick her foot in her mouth and leave me out to dry.

    1. Ha ha ha. My wife fears the sam, that’s why I’m not allowed.

  12. We can protest any time we like. I’m not sure it will do us much good, but we don’t have to wait for a special invitation. I am sensing a bit of irony in that the man who writes novels where people are killed and property is destroyed on a wholesale basis, is afraid of an (presumably, although it is Texas) unarmed tax assessor. Another nice one John!

    1. Not a matter of fear. I’m not allowed to go there. (incompetent)

  13. Yes, it is that time of year. Good for your wife! Hear, hear! You should continue to stick by #1!

    1. She is the best!!!

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