How to File for Agricultural Appraisal
- Get an application form at your local appraisal district office. Fill out only one application. There is a separate application for the disabled veteran's exemption.
- Return the form to the appraisal district office after January 1, but no later than April 30. Making false statements on your exemption application is a criminal offense.
- Provide necessary information. For example, if your home is a mobile home, you must have a copy of the title to the home or a verified copy of the purchase contract.
- If your property is valued by more than one appraisal district, you must file an application in each appraisal district office. This occurs when your property is located in a taxing unit that is also in a neighboring county. Contact the appraisal district if you aren't sure.
- You may file for a homestead exemption up to one year after (a) the date you paid the taxes on the home or (b) the date the taxes became delinquent, whichever date is earlier. You will get a new tax bill with a lower amount or a refund if you already paid. Late filing does not apply to the disabled veteran's exemption.
- If you are 65 this year, you may file for the over-65 exemption up to one year from the date you turned 65.
- If the chief appraiser asks you for more information, you will have at least 30 days to reply.
- If the chief appraiser denies or modifies your exemption, he or she must tell you in writing within five days. This notice must explain how you can protest before the appraisal review board.
- Once you receive a homestead exemption or a disabled veteran's exemption, you don't have to apply again unless the chief appraiser asks you to apply or unless your qualifications change. If you move to a new home, you will have to fill out a new application. If you become disabled on or before January 1, you should file a new application.
- The chief appraiser may require a new application by sending you a written notice and an application form. If you don't return the new application, you can lose your exemptions.
How to File a Protest
- Get an application form at your local appraisal district office.
- Fill out the form completely and return it to the appraisal district office after January 1, but no later than April 30. Remember, making false statements on your application is a criminal offense.
- If your property is valued by more than one appraisal district, you must file an application in each appraisal district office. If you don't, you could end up paying taxes on your property's full market value to one or more taxing units. This occurs when your property is located in a taxing unit that is also in a neighboring county. Contact the appraisal district if you aren't sure.
- If you need more time to complete your application form, submit a written request to the chief appraiser before the April 30 deadline. The chief appraiser can grant up to 60 extra days if you have a good reason for needing extra time.
- If you miss the April 30 deadline, you may file an application any time before the ARB approves the appraisal records (usually about July 20). However, in such a case, you will be charged a penalty for filing late. The penalty is 10 percent of the tax saving you obtained by getting agricultural appraisal for your land. Once the ARB approves the records, you can't apply for agricultural appraisal for that year.
- If the chief appraiser asks you for more information, you will have at least 30 days to reply. You may ask for more time but you must have a good reason. If you don't reply, the chief appraiser must deny your application.
- If the chief appraiser denies or modifies your agricultural appraisal, he or she must tell you in writing within five days. This notice must explain how you can protest to the ARB.
- Once you receive agricultural appraisal, you don't have to apply again in the following years unless your qualifications change. However, the chief appraiser may request a new application to verify that you still meet the qualifications. If you get a notice to reapply, be sure to do so. If you don't, you will lose your eligibility. If you become the owner of land that is already qualified, you must reapply in your own name by April 30. If you don't, you will lose your eligibility. You must notify the appraisal district in writing by April 30 if your land's eligibility changes. Failure to do so results in a penalty charge.
- The agricultural appraisal is based on an estimate of the typical annual income during the five-year period preceding the year before the appraisal. The agricultural appraisal may change annually based on this income and the capitalization rate.
How to Calculate Your Taxes And Who to Call
- File a written protest. The appraisal district has protest forms available, but you need not use an official form. A notice of protest is sufficient if it identifies the owner, the property that is the subject of the protest, and indicates that you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the appraisal district.
- File your notice of protest by May 31 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district delivers a notice of appraised value to you, whichever date is later.
If the chief appraiser sends you a notice that your agricultural land is no longer in agricultural use, you must file your protest within 30 days of the date the chief appraiser mailed the notice.
If the ARB ordered a change in your property's records, you must file your notice of protest within 30 days of the date on which the ARB delivered you a notice of the change.
If you file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you are entitled to a hearing if the ARB decides that you had good reason for failing to meet the deadline.
If you don't file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you lose your right to protest. You also lose the right to file a lawsuit about the taxable value of your property. If your protest is late because the chief appraiser or ARB failed to mail your notice of appraised value or denial of exemption or agricultural appraisal, you may file your protest any time before the taxes become delinquent. You must pay some current taxes before the delinquency date to be entitled to this type of hearing.
In some cases, you may file with the ARB to correct an error even after these deadlines. Contact your appraisal district or the Comptroller's office if you have questions about clerical errors, substantial value errors, double taxing, or other areas.