Monday AM May 28th, 2007

Property tax protest deadline looms this week; protest workshop planned for this morning...

The public is invited to a free workshop this morning on tips to successfully appeal property taxes and prepare for a hearing. May 31st—this Thursday—is the last day most Texas homeowners can submit an appeal to protest their property taxes. The how-to workshop is being presented by Pat O'Connor of O'Connor and Associates.

"What we want to help people understand, that they can protest their taxes—their property taxes—how to file a property tax protest, how to prepare for and attend the property tax hearing. Average savings are $450 for people who do protest, but only 70 percent of homeowners protest. Seventy-five percent of homeowners who appeal are successful, and the average savings are successful—about $450." Ed: "How do you help people?" "Well, at this function, we're going to show people how they can file their appeal, on market value and unequal appraisal, how to prepare for the hearing, and then what to say at the hearing itself, how to conduct themselves at the hearing. People will walk away with handouts. We're going to have articles on how to handle your property tax appeal, and people will walk away with knowledge on how to file their appeal, when to file it, how to prepare for the hearing and how to conduct themselves at the hearing." Ed: "Okay, are you going to be talking about any legislative stuff that's been going on, the discussion of property taxes?" "We will give an update of some of the changes that have occurred or been propose. Not much is going to happen this legislative session, but the focus will be on how to file a property tax appeal and how to prepare for and attend a hearing."

The workshop is for people considering an appeal of their property taxes, but worry about possible implications, or who don't know how to appeal. O'Connor has created a Web site to address property tax appeals.

"I'm very proud with what we've done with We have a wealth of free articles and forms that people can access. And it explains, you know, how you file your protest, how to prepare for the hearing and how to attend a hearing. And all the information is free, both the forms and all the articles. We're a property tax consulting firm, and we'll do over a 100,000 property tax appeals this year, so we do appeals for a number of people. But I'm passionate about helping people reduce their property taxes and I feel it's a great service for the community to put information out there—how people can do their own property tax appeal if there's an opportunity to protest your property taxes and reduce your property taxes, that you should. It's your money, not the government's money." Ed: "Okay do you have any idea how many people you're expecting to shop up for this this?" "We expect about a hundred to 200 people, based on what happened last year. A number of people attend and they really appreciate having the insights in terms of how they can file their appeal and prepare for the hearing."

The property tax workshop is at the Sheraton Suites on West Loop South just north of Westheimer. It begins at nine this morning.

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