Appealing Business Personal Property Tax Assessments In Texas

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“Collecting more taxes than is necessary is legalized robbery.” These words of wisdom, spoken by the 13th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, still ring true in today’s society for homeowners and business owners. Robbery may seem like a harsh word, but what would you say if someone tried to sell you one-year-old motel sheets for 90% of the original cost? Based on the appraisal district’s depreciation schedule, this is a fair deal.

Most people would not consider this a fair deal and either reject the offer or request a lower price. This should be the same thought process when the appraisal district overassesses your business personal property (BPP). Texas law requires business owners to report BPP, personal property used for the production of income, to the appraisal district for assessment and taxation. Although there are no criminal penalties for not complying with the law, there is a penalty of 10% of the taxes. For example, if you have a BPP account assessed for $100,000, your annual BPP taxes are $3,000, based on a 3% tax rate. The 10% penalty for this BPP account would be $300 ($3,000 times 10% equals $300).

The huge range of assessed value for business personal property (BPP) makes obtaining substantial property tax reductions highly probable. It is not unusual for the range of assessed value for BPP accounts for similar properties to vary by 5,000%! For example, furniture and computers for companies within the same office building sometimes vary from $1 to $50 per square foot. Market value and unequal appraisal are two options for appealing BPP assessments. Given the inequity in BPP assessments and the subjectivity of valuing BPP, property owners have a high probability of success when properly prepared for a BPP assessment appeal. Protest both market value and unequal appraisal.

How to appeal?

To appeal your BPP, you can either use the Comptroller’s form, or send a letter to the appraisal review board (ARB) on or before May 31st of each year. The protest letter to the ARB should identify the property and the reason for your protest (section 41.44d of the Texas Property Tax Code).

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