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On last day to protest home appraisals in Travis County, office reporting long wait times

The chief appraiser for Travis County encourages homeowners to not panic and to focus on filing for exemptions.

AUSTIN, Texas — Monday, May 16, is the last day to protest your home appraisal in Travis County. And as residents rush to make the deadline, the office that handles the protests is reporting long wait times.

In Travis County, the value of residential properties increased 56% compared to last year, leading many residents to protest this year.

One resident, Alfonso Pena, called KVUE to report that he called multiple times, and was put on hold for 20 minutes before the call dropped. The Travis Central Appraisal District said homeowners should expect "significant wait times" on Monday. 

The office urged property owners who need assistance with TCAD-related matters to check the office's "frequently asked questions" page online before attempting to reach out. Toward the bottom of that page, questions surrounding protests are laid out, including "what should I bring to my formal hearing?", "when will I receive the evidence related to my protest?" and "how do I submit an affidavit before my hearing?"

The chief appraiser for Travis County, Marya Crigler, said the figures are shocking but they were expected. Crigler said this shouldn't be a cause for panic about future tax bills. Instead, she encourages homeowners to focus on filing for exemptions. The homestead exemption prevents your taxes from rising more than 10% per year.

One homeowner KVUE spoke to earlier in May said she protests her Lake Travis home appraisal every year.

"Every year has been completely different," Laura Gatannah previously told KVUE. "The first year when I filed, I asked for a reduction. They offered somewhere in the middle. It was fine. And the second year, I actually had to physically go to the appraisal district with my pouch full of papers and meet with a gentleman and chat with him. Last year, I had asked for their evidence packet. They sent it to me. I spent probably 6 hours going through their comps, and, before I had a chance to finish my report back to them, they'd already given me another offer and I was super offended. But then I called and was like, 'Somebody needs to look at all this work that I did and, no, your offer is not low enough.' So this year was by far the easiest that I've had with getting the appraisal down a little bit."

Her secret to a smooth and successful protest: patience and taking pictures of everything.

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