Most property owners in Harris County have until May 15 to protest the values assigned by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD), which is encouraging online protests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HCAD said in a Monday news release that some property owners have not yet received value notices and will have 30 days to file protests once their value notice is received. There also could be later protest deadlines for owners of business personal property and some real property, which are reflected in value notices sent by HCAD.
“HCAD must operate under the guidelines and deadlines set out in the state Tax Code, so we do not have the flexibility to change the protest deadline despite the closures and social distancing caused by the pandemic,” chief appraiser Roland Altinger said.
Notice of Protest forms are included in value notices from HCAD and can be downloaded at www.hcad.org. Protests may be brought to HCAD’s office at 13013 Northwest Fwy. or mailed to P.O. Box 922004, Houston, TX 77292-2004. Mailed protests must be postmarked by May 15.
Property owners also can protest their appraised values electronically by using HCAD’s iFile and iSettle programs. Unique iFile numbers needed to file a protest can be found near the property account number in the upper-right corner of the value notice or retrieved from HCAD’s mobile app by scanning the property owner’s Texas driver’s license, assuming the name and address on the ID match the information in HCAD’s system.
Within five days of filing a protest through iFile, those who choose to use iSettle can upload supporting documents such as deeds, photos, closing statements, repair estimates or comparable sales information. If a settlement through the online system isn’t possible once HCAD makes an offer, the property owner will be scheduled for a hearing with the Appraisal Review Board.
A video explaining how to file an online protest and use the residential iSettle system is available at www.hcad.org under the “help” heading. Questions about iSettle can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Using iFile to submit your protest and then selecting iSettle is the quickest and easiest way to file and resolve your protest without having to appear at HCAD’s offices, especially this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Altinger said. “With iSettle, you can submit electronic documentation to support your opinion of value, and an appraiser will review it. If the appraiser responds with a new value and you accept, your protest is done for the year.”