Texas Property Taxes

by Heather Tankersley

One of the hot topics over the past months are related to property taxes and proposed assessments that were sent out last month.

More likely than not, you had a bit of sticker shock when you got your new assessment. It’s a double-edged sword!

It’s GREAT that our values have increased, but then again… who wants to pay MORE in property taxes?

Here are a few important things you can do:

  • Verify that your homestead exemption is in place. Even if you’ve filed it previously, it’s a good idea to double check. In fact, I had a client who purchased in May of 2020. He filed his homestead exemption (I walked him through it and confirmed it had been processed). This year, when I was doing a review of all past client’s assessments, I noticed it had been taken off. His wife had passed away and the change in title caused the exemption to be removed. This could have cost him thousands and thousands in taxes.
  • Apply for any other exemptions, if applicable. There are several other exemptions that you may qualify and it’s important that you apply for them if you are able to do so. Some of these include the basic homestead exemption.
    • Senior citizens and disabled people.
    • Disabled veterans.
    • Veteran’s surviving spouse.
  • Protest your assessed value. I realize it may seem fruitless to bother with it, but it takes a few minutes of your time and you never know! Simply visit
    http://TravisCad.org and go through the online process. If you have purchased your home in the past year, you can use your closing statement to set the value. You can also hire a company to protest on your behalf. They only get a fee if they’re able to bring your taxes down.

So, once you have minimized the taxable value amount with your exemptions, you may want to dig in and understand where your tax dollars are actually going. Admittedly, I just assumed that my LISD tax dollars actually all went Leander ISD. Boy, was I wrong!

If you want to understand where your tax dollars are going, here’s a resource that explains it in detail: https://travis.trueprodigy-taxtransparency.com/taxTransparency/propertySearch.

So let’s take a deeper look at how the whole property tax things works!

Basically, there are several terms you need to understand:

  1. No New Revenue. This gives the taxing entity roughly the same revenue it received in the previous year for properties taxed in both years. This does not take into account new construction.
  2. Voter Approval. To exceed the no new revenue rate, voter approval is required to increase the taxes. In other words, just because home values potentially doubled, it doesn’t mean that the taxing units just get a bunch  more money added to their budgets. In the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers set this at 3.5% for most taxing units.
  3. Proposed. This is the amount that the taxing UNIT proposes.
  4. Adopted. This is the amount that is actually adopted and what our tax bills reflect.

In a nutshell, it means that just because our values went up substantially, it doesn’t mean that our taxes will rise at the same level or necessarily at 10% (if you’ve got your homestead exemption). The fact of the matter is, we simply don’t know exactly where the tax bills will land until we are able to see what the new rates are going to be.

So if all that is clear as mud, let me add another little-known fun fact about taxes in Texas that many people are not aware of. This is important because I often hear people say things to the effect of, “I’m fine with the high property taxes because the bulk of it goes to our schools.” I thought the same thing for a while and justified our tax bill because we have great schools and I could live with it if the money is going to our schools and teachers.

But, that’s not the case. Introducing…  “recapture” which is also known as “Robinhood”. While the intentions are good – to help fund poorer school districts – the end result is causing problems in our local districts. Austin ISD is about to send A BILLION dollars to the state, meanwhile they’re losing teachers left and right and falling behind in many of the schools.

In other words, once the state deems the district has enough money, they have to send the rest to the state out of the maintenance and operations budget (you may have noticed many of our kids are riding dilapidated busses to and from school. In fact, my daughter’s bus literally broke down on the 3-mile trip from River Ridge).

So, it’s important to understand where your tax dollars are REALLY going and to cast your vote at the ballot box when the opportunity presents itself! Not all taxes are created equal and they don’t always go where we think they go!

If you have any questions about this, or if you’re thinking of selling this year, please let me know! I’d love to chat.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy