Property valuations determine how much tax the owners pay. And when values don't go up, owners usually don't protest.
Jim Robinson is HCAD's Chief Appraiser. He says values went up on only about 10 percent of the one million residential properties in Harris County.
"We reduced 30 percent of the accounts, with about 60 percent remaining the same. And that's a pattern similar to last year. So, consequently, protests, particularly by homeowners, fell off dramatically last year, and that trend seems to be holding up this year, as well."
HCAD sets its values very much like a realtor would determine a listing price — by checking out recent sales of nearby, comparable properties. Chief Appraiser Robinson says with a million properties to put a value on, mistakes are possible. He encourages people who think their properties are overvalued to file a protest.
"The sole purpose of the appraisal is to allocate the tax burden, based on January 1st market value. And, if we're correct, and we've arrived at a good estimate of that value, then no property owner is going to pay more than his or her fair share."
The deadline for filing a property value protest is May 31st. HCAD is encouraging people to use its iFile system. The unique number required to use iFile can be found on the value notices, next to the property account number.