Collin County residents find mistakes in property tax bills

- North Texas property taxes are soaring as property values rise this year. It has a lot of homeowners taking a closer look at their tax bill and finding mistakes.

With the deadline to protest taxes coming up Wednesday, doing your homework could save you thousands of dollars over time.

One savvy homeowner in Frisco noticed that his tax bill charged him for more square feet than his home actually is. Now, he's speaking out because he doesn't think he's the only one whose tax bill was higher than it should be.

Daniel Cohen is good with numbers. He's an accounting professor at UT Dallas. So when the numbers on his tax bill did not match his bank's appraisal, he called the Collin County property appraiser.

"Within 24 hours, the county admitted that their numbers were inflated,” he said.

Cohen says the adjustment will save him $193 a year.

“For a new home like ours, it's very easy to get these numbers right,” he said. “Because if I have the building plan filed with the city, the county can have that document as well.”

FOX 4 asked Collin County's Chief Property Appraiser Bo Daffin what happened in Cohen's case. It's still not clear.

“If we made a mistake in the takeoff, or square footage changed after original plans,” he said.

Daffin says there are a lot of variables when it comes to calculating a home's square footage. So it is important for homeowners to be watchful.

“It may be a science, but it is not an exact science,” he said.

Just down the street from Cohen, his neighbor William Bergen also noticed his property was oversized by 300 square feet.

“At that time, 141 a square foot,” Bergen said. “Do that math, $40,000."

In this case, Daffin does know what happened.

Before the previous owner sold the home, the owner had an appraisal done and gave the higher numbers to the property appraiser.

Not surprisingly, a lot of Collin County homeowners are looking for ways to reduce soaring appraisal values.

On Friday morning, 100 people were in line at the appraiser's office to file protests ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

Bergen has some simple advice for everyone.

“Do your research,” he said. “Largest purchase in your life and largest amount of taxes you'll pay."

Daffin recommends even if you're not sure if there is an error on your tax bill, go ahead and get your protest filed and postmarked by Wednesday. You can always drop it later.

Daffin expects his office to process at least 50,000 protests this year.

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