March 17, 2021

Can a tax assessor enter my property in Texas?

Do county property tax officials have the right to enter private property for appraisal purposes? Find the answer to this question frequently asked by homeowners here!

Let us get straight to the point - Your property, your rules!
A tax assessor, who is usually a county official, can enter your property in order to complete his duties unless you explicitly deny the assessor entry. The property owner or a legal occupant can verbally object to the assessor's entry. The objection can also be in writing or be expressed through a "no trespassing" signboard attached to a private property's entry point. A tax assessor does not have the legal authority to enter private property either privately owned or legally occupied unless he has consent from you. It is unlawful for a tax assessor to remain on private property after the owner or legal occupant asks him to leave. Such actions can result in trespassing prosecution charges. However, a tax assessor is allowed free access to the public portions of commercial property for assessment purposes.

How is property assessed when a tax assessor isn't let inside?

If the owner of a private property denies entry, a tax assessor must make the most accurate appraisal possible from the street. This could result in a higher appraisal value of the property. If so, the burden of proof must be borne by the property owner if the appraisal is appealed.

Why it is a good idea to let tax assessors in

If you don't let a tax assessor in, they are forced to make an assumption from the street. Assumptions made about new refurbishments or expensive fixtures may result in higher tax bills. Many counties authorize assessors to assign the highest possible value to any property that doesn't allow full access.
In case your property is over assessed, and you protest your property's valuation, an assessor must enter your property to fulfil reassessment requirements. Moreover, the burden to prove that your property has been reassessed falls on you, since you never let the tax assessor in.

Advantages of letting a tax assessor in

Letting your tax assessor in gives you an added advantage of being a part of your property assessment process. Tax assessors tend to notice things that can increase your property's value, such as a fancy curb appeal, a swimming pool, expensive fixtures, a fancy fireplace or a shiny new marble counter top. But interacting with a property owner can also bring to his notice a fading old appliance, wear and tear to the seemingly perfect swimming pool and other such small but significant details. When a tax assessor looks at the property himself, there is no scope to assume anything that could increase the property's value. Getting on a tax assessor's good side can help you by shaving dollars off your property tax bill!

You are more likely to get a higher appraisal when you don't let tax assessors in. As long as you have obtained permits for all improvements, it is no problem for the tax assessor to take a look inside.

Can assessor come on my property without permission?

Nope, they cannot! If you deny them permission orally when they arrive, or if you put up a "No Trespassing" sign on your property, then the assessor cannot enter your property. In such cases, they will have to make an assessment from the outside.

Do tax assessors take pictures of your house?

Yes, they can, and they do often take pictures of your house when they visit. It helps the assessor to record the proper condition of your property.

Why would the county take pictures of my house?

Photos of your house help your county's appraisal district to get an accurate picture of the condition and quality of your house. In addition to photos, your appraisal district may also rely on satellite/drone imagery to arrive at a fair appraised value of your house.

Why would a county appraiser/assessor come to your house?

Texas property tax code requires that all real property be re-assessed annually by the county appraisal districts(CAD). With hundreds of thousands of real properties in a county, it is practically impossible for county appraisers to visit each and every property in the county. However, here are some situations that may trigger a visit:

  • If your property is a new construction this year or it had a partially completed improvement the past year.
  • If your property had a building permit issued the past year.
  • If a land account was created new by subdivision or split/merge activity.
  • If the CAD is notified of a condition change in the property.
  • If your neighborhood was targeted for re-appraisal based on neighborhood sales ratio analysis.
  • If your property was flagged for re-inspection.

Can a tax assessor enter my property in Texas?

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Articles presented here are for general information and education only. It is provided as a courtesy to the general public. SQD Taxtech LLC does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates or projections given are those of the authors or persons quoted as of the date of the article with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change. This article may not be reproduced, distributed or further published by any person without the written consent of SQD Taxtech LLC. Please cite source when quoting.

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