Texas Property Tax
What are property taxes?
How does the property tax system work?
A citizen board called the appraisal review board, settles any disagreements between a property owner and the appraisal district about a property's value.
Local taxing units -- city, county, school, and special districts -- decide how much money they will spend by adopting a budget. Next, the units set tax rates that will raise the revenue necessary to fund their budgets. The adopted budgets and the tax rates set to fund the budgets determine the total amount of taxes that a person will pay.
The property tax year has four stages: appraising taxable property, protesting the appraised values, adopting the tax rates, and collecting the taxes.
January 1 marks the beginning of property appraisal. What a property is used for on January 1, market conditions at that time, and who owns the property on that date determine whether the property is taxed, its value, and who is responsible for paying the tax.
Between January 1 and April 30, the appraisal district processes applications for tax exemptions, agricultural appraisals, and other tax relief.
Around May 15, the appraisal review board begins hearing protests from property owners who believe their property values are incorrect or who did not get exemptions or agricultural appraisal. When the ARB finishes its work, the appraisal district gives each taxing unit a list of taxable property.
In August or September, the elected officials of each taxing unit adopt tax rates for their operations and debt payments. Several taxing units tax your property. Every property is taxed by the county and the local school district. You also may pay taxes to a city and to special districts such as hospital, junior college, water, fire, and others.
Tax collection starts around October 1 as tax bills go out. Taxpayers have until January 31 of the following year to pay their taxes. On February 1, penalty and interest charges begin accumulating on most unpaid tax bills. Tax collectors may start legal action to collect unpaid taxes on February 1.
Does Texas have a state property tax?
Which local taxing units may tax my property in Texas?
When is property taxable by a taxing unit?
What is a rendition?
Am I required to file a rendition form?
What is the deadline for filing a rendition form?
How does the appraisal district determine the value of a property?
For example, the value of a home is an estimate of the price a home would sell for on January 1. The appraisal district compares a home to similar homes that have sold recently and determines the home's value.
The appraisal district also uses other appraisal methods to appraise types of properties that don't often sell, such as utility companies and oil leases. These methods include the cost approach-what it would take to build the property again, less depreciation-and the income approach-what an investor would pay for the property with an anticipated return.
How and when will I know what value the appraisal district puts on my property?
The notice of appraised value is sent if any of the following three circumstances exists:
Are the taxes on my home based on the current year's market value?
Do I, as a homeowner, get a tax break from property taxes?
Do all homes qualify for homestead exemptions?
What is a homestead?
How do I get a homestead exemption?
What homestead exemptions are available?
School taxes: All residence homestead owners may receive a $15,000 homestead exemption from their home's value for school taxes.
County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a residence homestead owner may receive a $3,000 exemption for this tax. If the county grants an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled, the owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
Age 65 or older and disabled exemptions: Over-65 and/or disabled residence homestead owners may qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $15,000 exemption for all homeowners. If the owner qualifies for both the $10,000 for over-65 homeowners and the $10,000 exemption for disabled homeowners, the owner must choose one or the other for school taxes. The owner cannot receive both exemptions.
Optional percentage exemptions: Any taxing unit-including a city, county, school, or special district-may offer an exemption of up to 20 percent of a home's value. But, no matter what the percentage is, the amount of an optional exemption cannot be less than $5,000. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.
Optional over-65 or disabled exemptions: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled.
What if I disagree with the appraisal review board's (ARB) determination?
Can I protest an appraisal district's action after the deadline for filing a protest has passed?
You may protest failure to receive a notice that the appraisal district or appraisal review board (ARB) was required to send you. You must file this protest before the delinquency date and you must not allow your taxes to go delinquent.
You may protest that the appraisal district appraised your property at least one-third higher than its market value. You must file this protest before the delinquency date, and you must not allow your taxes to go delinquent. You may not protest late for this reason if the property was subject to an earlier protest for the year.
You may protest for the correction of a clerical error, multiple appraisals, or including property on the appraisal roll that should not have been included. This type of late hearing protest may include the current year and the four previous tax years.
You may ask the chief appraiser to agree to do a "joint motion to correct." If both the chief appraiser and you are in agreement on the late change, then the ARB will approve the change. If the ARB rules in your favor, it will instruct the chief appraiser to notify the taxing units about the change. If you paid the taxes, the taxing units will send you any refund for the change on the appraisal roll for your property.
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