Free 2014 Property Tax Appeal for Most Over-Taxed Home Owners in Harris County

Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) has consistently over-taxed primarily African-American and other low-income areas of Harris County. Historically, most of the home owners have seldom protested their property taxes. Compounding the problem, many do not have a homestead exemption, which would completely exempt some of them from property taxes.

Home owners in the ten most over-taxed Zip Codes in Harris County will be provided a free 2014 property tax protest by O’Connor & Associates. If the house is a homestead, we will provide free assistance in completing a homestead exemption. The typical home owner in the ten most over-taxed Zip Codes is over-taxed by 11 to 87%. The same Zip Codes are primarily African-American, with 7 of the 10 most over-taxed Zip Codes being heavily African-American. The other three Zip Codes are primarily Anglo. Primarily African-American areas are seven times as likely to be over-taxed by at least 10%, compared to Anglo areas.

Zip Code 77028 it the most over-taxed area in Harris County, with the typical home being over-taxed by 87%. The residents in this area are 72% African-American. Recently sold homes had an average sales price of about $40,000, but were valued by HCAD for 2014 at about $68,000. About three-quarters of the sales were over-valued by at least 32% and two-thirds were over-valued by at least 75%!

There are serious consequences to systemic over-valuation. Both mortgage and property tax foreclosures are exacerbated by inappropriately high property taxes. For example, during the month of June, 28 properties in Zip Code 77028 are up for property tax foreclosure sales. Artificially high property taxes are causing a meaningful loss of wealth in the African-American areas of Harris County. Median household income is $30,807 in Zip Code 77028 versus $49,392 for Texas, based on the 2011 census data.

Over-taxation of homes in low-income areas is not a new phenomenon. The ten most over-taxed Zip Codes have been over-taxed in most of the past 5 years. Most of the over-valued areas have two characteristics: 1) low income and 2) primarily African-American. Since relatively few of the home owners appeal in low-income areas, there is little incentive for the appraisal district staff to look closely at the errors in their data causing systemic valuation.

O’Connor & Associates is offering a free 2014 property tax appeal to all home owners in the ten most over-valued areas of the Harris County. Most of the homes in these areas are valued at less than $100,000. However, there is no limit on the home to qualify to a free 2014 property tax appeal. We are hopeful this will level the playing field and encourage HCAD to more carefully value these areas in 2015.

The only qualification is to own a home in one of the Zip Codes in the following table:

Zip Code Median Assessment Ratio Anglo % of Population African-American and Hispanic:
77028 187% 21.7% 77.1%
77032 128% 46.2% 51.2%
77033 127% 16.4% 82.6%
77051 121% 4.5% 94.6%
77029 119% 55.1% 43.5%
77026 117% 31.5% 67.5%
77093 117% 66.3% 31.9%
77021 116% 15.8% 81.3%
77016 114% 22.7% 76.3%
77061 111% 60.8% 33.9%

Owners of homes in the ten listed Zip Codes simply need to call 713 290 9700 and use the promo code FREE 2014, or just tell the customer service representative that the owner is calling on the free 2014 tax appeal for the ten over-taxed Zip Codes. Home owners can also sign up at www.cutmytaxes.com and just note FREE 2014 in the questions / comments area. If a home owner forgets to use the promo code, they can simply call after receiving an invoice and we will waive the fee.

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