Commercial Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about commercial property tax protest and what Lane Property Tax Advocates can do for you? The frequently asked questions below cover aspects of the protest process and how we can best assist you in reducing your tax bills. Browse these questions to help better understand how Lane can help unburden their business.

TEXAS COUNTIES REPRESENTED BY LANE
Anderson
Angelina
Aransas
Austin
Bastrop
Bell
Bexar
Bowie
Brazoria
Brazos
Brown
Burleson
Burnet
Cameron
Chambers
Collin
Colorado
Comal
Coryell
Dallas
Dewitt
Ector
Ellis
El Paso
Fayette
Fort Bend
Freestone
Galveston
Gillespie
Goliad
Grimes
Guadalupe
Harris
Henderson
Hidalgo
Jefferson
Jim Wells
Johnson
Kendall
Leon
Llano
Lubbock
Matagorda
McLennan
Medina
Midland
Montgomery
Nueces
Orange
Polk
San Jacinto
San Patricio
Scurry
Smith
Starr
Tarrant
Taylor
Tom Green
Travis
Trinity
Tyler
Victoria
Walker
Waller
Washington
Webb
Wharton
Wichita
Williamson
Wilson

Which counties do you cover?

We are currently licensed to cover all counties in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma.

Can you cover counties elsewhere? 
Reach out to one of our agents and we will let you know if we can expand to your area (we most likely can!).

What are your fees, and how are they structured?

Based on the portfolio, Lane will likely charge a competitive contingency fee. Please send us a list of your properties for a quote. You are being charged on a contingency basis, so you don't pay Lane unless we reduce your property value and save you money. Flat fees may apply in some cases and different fees may apply if your property is recommended for arbitration or litigation.

Can you handle both commercial and residential properties?

Lane is well-versed in both commercial and residential parcels. All Lane team members handle both commercial and residential protests. Please note that we only accept residential accounts if they are in a portfolio of commercial accounts or a portfolio of multiple residential accounts.

When disputing commercial properties, what valuation methodologies do you employ?

We will identify the best possible approach(es) to value the subject property by assessing the income, cost, sales comparison, uniform and equity, land equity and rent equity. Our sister firm MBLane and Associates is a full-service commercial appraisal company that has been in business for over 20 years.

Does Lane handle the filing of miscellaneous forms and correspondence with the county appraisal district? (Ex: agriculture exemption, historical exemption, homestead exemption, etc.)

If notified, Lane will handle all correspondence and file forms such as name changes, exemptions and all other necessary paperwork to save you time. Please note that there may be an extra fee for filing exemptions.

What does Lane need from me to help reduce my property taxes?

  1. Letter of Agreement & Exhibit A
    • By signing this, you agree to the discussed contingency fee for all tax savings
  2. Appointment of Agent
    • By signing this, you allow Lane to be your agent, representing you at hearings and negotiating your property value on your behalf.
  3. Property Information Request
    • Provide Lane with the most up-to-date property information throughout the year. Examples include property photos, estimates of any necessary repairs, damages to the property, completed appraisals, rent rolls and profit and loss statements. We've made the exchange of documents easy through our client portal.
    • This information is not required for Lane to protest and represent you at a hearing but it does help us achieve a maximum savings. 

Are you licensed to do qualified appraisals?

MBLane and Associates, our affiliated sister firm, has been preparing commercial appraisals for over 20 years for properties throughout the state of Texas. Michael Lane, the founder, holds the MAI designation through the Appraisal Institute and is also a state-certified general appraiser. He has appraised commercial real estate in Texas for over 30 years. 

Can the county raise the value of my residential or commercial property by more than 10%?

Yes, the value of a residential or commercial property can increase by more than 10%. The only time the value cannot exceed a maximum increase of 10%, or 30% over a three-year period, is on a residential property with a homestead exemption.

What are the important dates to know for protesting my property taxes?

  • January 31st
    • Property taxes are due for the previous year
    • Deadline to file a correction
  • May 15th
    • Deadline to protest for the current year (or 30 days after being notified by the county)

What is the process for protesting my property taxes?

Please note that this process changes from state to state.

  • Once Lane is assigned as the agent, we will file your property tax protest.
  • The county appraisal district (CAD) will create an evidence package for the subject property.
  • Lane will obtain the CAD’s evidence and create our own evidence package.
  • Hearings will be scheduled after May 15th.
    • Informal Hearing – Lane will meet with a CAD appraiser over the phone or in person to discuss the value before a scheduled formal Appraisal Review Board (ARB) hearing.
    • Formal ARB Hearing – Evidence is presented by Lane and the county appraisal district. The ARB board members announce their decision after each case is presented. If this sounds like a standard court proceeding, that is exactly how it works – with the ARB acting as the jury handing down a verdict on whether your commercial property taxes will be corrected for that tax year.
    • Arbitration or Litigation Filing – If Lane does not believe the best value was reached in a formal ARB hearing, we will file for arbitration or litigation.

Please Note: Your property value will be changed after a hearing is finished. Your value may not be certified for multiple months after the property was protested. 

What is the arbitration and/or litigation process?

  • Arbitration Process
    • Lane files protest
    • Informal hearing
    • Board hearing
      • If the informal hearing value was not agreed upon
    • Arbitration filing
      • If the board hearing value was not the best outcome
    • 45-day negotiation period -Open negotiation with appraisal district after the arbitration is accepted by the Comptroller
    • Arbitration hearing
      • If the property was not settled during the 45 day negotiation period

 

  • Litigation Process
    • Lane files protest
    • Informal hearing
    • Board hearing
      • If the informal hearing value was not agreed upon
    • Litigation filing
      • If the board hearing value was not the best outcome
    • Settlement conference/open negotiations
    • Court trial
      • If the property was not settled in the settlement conference

How do I add or remove accounts from my portfolio?

Call Lane and speak to an agent, or add/remove accounts through the client portal on our website.

When is it best to notify Lane of any changes?

As soon as possible, year-round.

What is market value vs. appraised value?

Market Value – The value a property could be sold for in a competitive and open market.

Appraised Value – The taxable value is the market value with exemptions applied.

Do you have any helpful resources?

Follow the links below for some helpful resources regarding protesting your property taxes.

Texas Comptroller's Guide to Understanding the Property Tax Process

Lane Blog

Ready to Unburden Your Business?

Lane Property Tax Advocates has been serving the greater Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas areas and beyond for over 10 years - and we can help you, too.
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