Top Ten Things Not to Do at a Tax Protest Hearing

Tax assessor

The inspiration for this list was a visit to the tax assessor to protest a 20% rise in my assessed valuation which is the basis for the property tax amount. (This is allowed in the Republic of Texas) I must say the meeting was cordial and we kissed goodbye, (It’s an island don’t forget), yet I have to go to the next level since there was no change in my situation. So, I did not need this list but thought I would publish it anyway. I hope you enjoy.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at a Tax Protest Hearing

10 If you are protesting your assessment, do not enter the hearing with a frown on your face. If you do, at best you’ll get one back in return, At worst, the assessor will assume you are a tough customer and will guard her concessions like gold. (A smile would have put the assessor off guard, Ferd. It wouldn’t have cost you anything.)

9 If you are protesting your assessment, do not show signs of weakness at the hearing. If you do, at best the assessor will think you a push over. At worst, the assessor will discover a “mistake” in the county’s favor, and your tax bill will go up. (You see, Buster it is a zero sum game. One person’s rate goes down they must find a sapsucker (Guess who) who won’t fight an increase.)

8 If you are protesting your assessment, do not agree to anything without thinking it through. If you do, at best you might be missing further reductions. At worst, your quick agreement will come back in the form of a huge increase next year. (Thought it was too good to be true huh, Bunky? Hint: It was.)

7 If you are protesting your assessment, do not snow the assessor under with too many statistics. If you do, at best you’ll confuse the assessor. At worst, the assessor will believe you are trying to pull a fast one and shut down. (You now know property assessment is not a science right, Buford?)

6 If you are protesting your assessment, do not threaten the assessor with eternal damnation. If you do, at best your assessment will stand. At worst, Tiny the WWF champ who has just graduated from The Church of What’s Happening Now correspondence course will believe he needs to physically remove the hieratic from the facility. (That body slam to the concrete smarts doesn’t it, Roy?)

5 If you are protesting your assessment, do not bring in your pastrami sandwich with you. If you do, at best the meeting will end quickly with no resolution At worst, your assessor has not eaten since yesterday and can not function with you slowly eating your sandwich. (So you had a nice lunch, Putz. Higher taxes as your reward.)

4 If you are protesting your assessment, do not show up after building your courage attending happy hour at the Gaff. If you do, at best someone will have mercy, and you’ll be asked to leave. At worst, you’ll agree to an increased assessment as well as free cocktails to all assessor personal after the hearing. (Never knew what a soft touch you were after a few drinks did you, Bosco?)

3 If you are protesting your assessment, do not raise your voice. If you do, at best your assessor will walk away. At worst, the SWAT team will assume you are a person of interest and wrestle you into the transport waiting outside. (You can’t imagine what caused everyone to hit the floor can you, Slug?)

2 If you are protesting your assessment, do not threaten to burn your house down. If you do, at best the assessor will see no reason to reduce your assessment until after it is gone. At worst, you will be seen as a danger to society and helped to a quiet place to recover.(You can’t move your arms you say, Bunky? Must be that straight jacket that is hampering you.)

1 If you are protesting your assessment, do not insult your assessor. If you do, at best all you’ll get is a smile. At worst, your assessor has just completed a self-esteem retreat and is now in a regression mode and can’t help you. (Don’t worry, Tex. The assessor will be assigned to your case for the next ten years at which time your tax bill will closely match the amount paid for the most expensive property in the county.)


  1. So Tiny is now a minister of the Church of What’s Happening Now? I can see a togetherness there. The word’s Tiny, punishment, and hell seem to have a connection in my mind. Good list, John. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. There you go. Maybe there will be redemption someday for Tiny. Thanks, Suzanne.

  2. Great list. I’m glad you can keep a sense of humor. But Ugh — that’s terrible, John! The tax, I mean. The county where I lived right after my divorce did similar. My condo was so tiny that it had less of an impact on me (size figured into their method of extortion), but it drove a lot of retirees out of their homes. It was deplorable. I hope you can get it worked out.
    Loved the drawing — it’s so true! Mega hugs.

    1. Thanks, Teagan. I find the system almost not understandable. Maybe this year I can figure it out. (Optimist) . Have a great week. 🙂

  3. I could have used number 8 when I met with the IRS, John. I love the reference to The Church of What’s Happening Now, that put a smile on my face. Good old Tiny.

    1. Ha ha ha. I’m beginning to become fond of Tiny. He has a lot of issues but deep down he is….wait! What am I saying? Thanks, Dan 😀

      1. I have developed a soft spot for Tiny. Wouldn’t necessarily want to hang out with him, but…

      2. I like when you bring Tiny into the conversation.

  4. Great advice, John! I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I love the drawing!

    1. One of life’s sure things. We’ll leave the other alone. :-D. Thanks, Jill.

  5. Gwen Plano · ·

    This was hilarious – as always. The Church of What’s Happening Now??? I suspect even the celestial beings were laughing at that one! 🙂

    1. I’m sure they are. Flip Wilson owns that line. He’s up there I’m sure. Thanks, Gwen.

  6. A great list with lots of laughs, though I’m sure you’re not laughing over your situation. I hope it all works out in your favor. The illustration is spot on.

    1. Thanks Michelle. This covers one half of the sure thing items. I’ll leave the other for another day. 😀

  7. Sounds like a minefield situation. The list still seems necessary though. A good guide for those who need it. 🙂

    1. A very good description. Minefield is perfect. 😀

      1. So many things fall into that category. Happy birthday.

      2. Speaking of minefield. Thank you, Charles 😀

  8. We have the same situation in Idaho. Those guys are tough cookies, because it involves admitting they were wrong. Tough to do for most people. Loved the Flip Wilson reference. I still remember Reverend Leroy and his church.

    1. Thank you, Craig. He was one of the funniest. 😀

  9. Ugh! So sorry the tax assessor has taken aim at your property. The cartoon at the top is often shared in real estate circles. Always makes me chuckle.

    I love that you can take a frustrating situation and put a humorous spin on it with your Top 10.
    And, oh–wishing you a happy, happy! You need to check out John F’s blog 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mae. It is funny in a way. Yes, I did see John’s post. Thank you. 🙂

  10. The #1 rule of “Do this at a tax assessment protest” is to bring three hyper-caffeinated two years olds who have not had their nap. Guaranteed, the meeting will be short and end in your favor. It also works at the car dealership.

    1. I like this method.

  11. I’ve never even tried to take the tax protest route, so good for you, John! I’ve heard from others that it’s not for the faint-hearted. I hope everything turns out well for you — a 20 percent hike doesn’t sound very reasonable to me!

    1. It is not. Thanks, Debbie.

  12. Really like #6 – did that do our previous cable provider.

    1. Good for you. 🙂

  13. Ugh – well done for keeping your dignity! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jan. 🙂

  14. Funny stuff, John. Even as it’s totally frustrating!

    And, although this post makes it seem unlikely, try to have a happy birthday!

    1. Thank you, Staci. 🙂

  15. Another superb list, John. I’m sorry you became targeted with a preposterous 20% hike in your property taxes. Good grief. Happy birthday, good sir!

    1. Thank you, John. Me too.

  16. Good morning, John!
    Now tha’s a great cartoon you have there at the beginning. I like it a lot.
    Have a wonderful week,

    1. Thanks, Pit. 🙂

  17. Sigh … Tax Assessors. Sigh. Yeah, down here in Oz, a visit to the Tax Assessor is simple, providing of course you live on the streets, with no visible means of support … BUT … you knew there would be a BUT didn’t you. BUT, then you get taxed for sleeping on council land, and fined as well for loitering. Ah, yes, 😈 Tax Assessors.

    1. A good description of their methods. Thanks, Soooz. 🙂

  18. 20%!! Wow, I wish you all the best with this protest!

    1. I know right? On to the board.

  19. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Another great Top Ten list from John Howell’s blog

  20. If you are protesting your assessment, remember that your odds of success are 1% … which is much better odds that 0%. Good luck at the next step! … Hi John!

    1. It is like the odds of winning the Lotto are the same weather or not you have a ticket. Yes we need to get a ticket to the assessment Lotto. Thanks, Frank.

      1. Nobody winning Powerball last night also means I didn’t win. ;(

      2. Worse yet … didn’t even have one winning number out of three lines.

  21. Ha ha, John, this is actually totally believable. At least you get to protest, we just have to suck it up.

    1. Thank you, Traci

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