There’s much discussion about property taxes because notices of appraised values were recently mailed. Let’s clear up a few confusions as we discuss the issue.
The state of Texas doesn’t impose a property tax; nor does it set the tax rate.
Local taxing units (cities, counties, hospital districts, etc.) charge taxes to our property and set the rate. The state does allow these taxes, of course, and sets guidelines ensuring taxpayers have a voice. (The funding of schools is different than other taxing units and deserves its own separate discussion).
All taxes (property, sales, etc.) have two components determining our tax bill. Component 1, the value, determines each of our proportionate share of the overall tax burden. Component 2, the rate, determines the amount of taxes the local tax authorities will make a property owner pay on the property’s valuation.
The notices of appraised values recently sent by the Central Appraisal District (Component 1) will be incorporated into our tax bill sent this winter. We have the right to a fair and correct appraisal of our property so we don’t pay an unfair share of the tax burden. If the appraised value of your property is too high, I encourage you to protest. The Texas Comptroller publishes helpful information you can find here: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/protests/.
Many taxpayers forget that our tax bill is not set by the Central Appraisal District. It will be set by local taxing units later this year when they adopt tax rates. Many taxpayers also don’t realize that you can, and should, participate in that tax rate setting process if you want lower property taxes.
Local elected officials are beginning to write their budgets now, which will set forth how much of your money they want to spend in the upcoming year. Once they determine how much of your money they want to spend, they will set the tax rate to raise at least that amount of money from taxing your property.
Local elected officials represent you in setting the property tax rate and need to hear from you so they can better represent your needs. If you want to see property tax reductions built into local budgets, now is the time to contact local elected officials.
Last session, we passed legislation creating a new tool for property owners — a webpage where property owners can see how proposed local tax rates would directly impact their tax bill. Appraisal districts are populating these websites with the rate information as it becomes available.
These websites will provide you with the dates and locations of the public hearings on those tax rates. And, if you’re unable or choose not to attend, the website will provide a way you can submit your opinion directly to the officials that will vote on those proposed rates. You can find a link to Galveston County’s website at galveston.truthintaxation.com.
Our country was founded on the idea of taxation with representation, and I encourage you to use these new tools we’ve put in place to make your voice heard this summer when your tax bills are finalized.