Things to Know About Your Property Taxes

1) Your property tax appraisal is required by law to be at 100% of market value and be equitable in comparison to the tax appraisals of similar properties.

2) The “Homestead Exemption” will reduce the property taxes on a homesteaded property, sometimes dramatically. You can apply for a “Homestead Exemption” up to one year in arrears. Must occupy the homes as of January 1 and apply no later than April 30 of application year.

3) Homeowners 65 years of age qualify for special exemption amounts and a “school tax freeze” that makes certain their school taxes, and some county or city taxes, can never go up. There is also a disable person exemption you must apply no later than the first anniversary of the date you qualify. View for additional exemption information: http://www.window.texas.gov/taxinfo/proptax/pdf/96-1740.pdf

4) Homesteads owned by Veterans classified as 100% disabled due to service related causes are now 100% exempt from property taxes.

5) Look for the “Appraised Value* (Possible Homestead Limitation)” on the Notice of Appraised Value. Compare the Last Year value to the proposed value; it should not increase more than 10% unless you have added square footage to you home. If it does increase more than 10%, call the Appraisal District and find out why.

6) Property tax appraisals are made as of January 1 of each year. If a home burns to the ground on January 2, property taxes are still levied on the structure the entire year. Any remodels after January 1….. Isn’t taxable until the following January 1 and you won’t have to pay the tax increase until the following January after that!

7) The statutory deadline for filing written protest is May 31 of each year.

8) If you miss the May 31 filing deadline, all is not necessarily lost. If you can prove the proposed tax appraisal is at least 25% too high you can file a “Correction of Appraisal Roll” motion until January 31 of the following year and have a hearing on the Substantial Error. Also, if you can prove that the Appraisal District failed to send you a required notice you can file a “Failure to Receive” motion by January 31 of the following year and be entitled to an appeal hearing. These motions are under section 25.25 of the Property Tax Code.


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1. When are my property taxes due?

Property taxes are due upon receipt of your Assessor-Collector’s tax statement in the fall of each tax year. They are payable without penalty by January 31 of the following year. On February 1 any unpaid property taxes are considered delinquent and assessed penalty & interest charges.

2. When is the deadline for protesting my property taxes?

Property tax protests generally must be postmarked by May 31st of each year to be considered timely.

3. What is a Homestead Exemption?

The Texas Homestead Exemption constitutionally exempts part of the value of your home from local taxation. It is mandated for school districts, though other taxing jurisdictions may grant it at their option. ISD’s must grant at least a $15,000 exemption for general homesteads.

Texans qualify for a general Homestead Exemption by meeting three criteria:

Own and the property on January 1 of the tax year
Claim it as their primary residence
Claim no other property in Texas as a homestead

4. How does my Homestead “10% Cap” work?

Your property really has two values: Market Value and Appraised Value. The Market Value is the appraisal district’s opinion of what a property would sell for on the open market as of January 1st of the tax year. The Market Value may increase/decrease each year in any amount the appraisal district deems appropriate. The Appraised Value is essentially the “10% cap” value. This value is limited to no more than a 10% increase from one tax year to the next, beginning with the second year you qualify for a homestead exemption.

For example, assume you purchase a new home in June and qualify the property as your homestead the following January 1. The table below summarizes hypothetical Market Value and Appraised Value over the next few years:

As you can see, the Market Value can increase or decrease in any amount in a given year. The Appraised Value (10% cap value), however, can only increase a maximum of 10% per year until it rises up to the Market Value or the Market Value declines enough to stop these automatic increases. If the Market Value in this example continues to decline, the Appraised Value will follow it down.