Last year, 199 of them filed a property tax return - the first significant increase in years - and a similar number is expected this year.
Filing a return allows homeowners to declare what they think their property is worth before they receive the county’s tax appraisal.
Appraisal notices will start going out May 1 and “if you don’t file a return, the only way to appeal is if the value has been adjusted,” Chief Appraiser Dana Eaton said Monday.
People can accept or appeal the appraisal notice, which provides instructions on filing an appeal.
April 1 is the deadline to file a return. Forms are available in the property appraisal office at the county Government Center.
Eaton said people should file a return if interior conditions have deteriorated because “it lets us know about things we don’t see on the outside.”
So far this year, 199 returns have been filed, but “we expect a good many in the final week,” Eaton said.
She pointed out that values can drop even for people who didn’t file a return.
“We’re still audited by the (state) Department of Audits and the Department of Revenue to make sure values are in line with market sales,” she said.
She said it’s too early to tell whether real estate prices actually have gone down.
“We’re just in the early stages of looking at sales,” she said, noting that counties now are required to use foreclosure sales in valuing property.
“Hopefully we’ll know in mid-April how sales will affect overall property values,” she said.
Joel Martin can be reached at jmartin@ lagrangnews. com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 235.