The simple answer is yes. Your property taxes will be a little different from year to year. The good news is that the state of Texas has procedures in place to allow homeowners to take part in decisions that impact the annual property tax rates in their communities as well as ensuring the taxes assessed on individual properties are accurate. In this blog, we’ll walk through how property tax rates are set each year, how you can be involved in determining the home tax rates in your area, and what you should do to align your home’s assessed and actual values and apply for exemptions to lower your annual property tax bill.
How Are Texas Property Taxes Determined?
Each year, local governments, school districts, and other taxing units meet to set a budget. That budget then needs to be covered by income from property tax revenue, so rates are set to cover the proposed budgets. For this reason, each year’s property tax bill will fluctuate. There are limits to how much property taxes can be increased from year to year, so most taxing units plan for incremental increases. In rare cases, larger increases may be proposed by taxing units, but these property tax changes require approval from property owners. Each county handles the annual budgets a little differently, so you’ll need to check your county tax assessor collector’s website for specific information about your local property tax rates.
Can You Challenge Your Taxing Unit’s Proposed Tax Rate?
The Truth-in-Taxation concept outlined in the Texas Constitution states that taxing units must give taxpayers an opportunity to evaluate any changes in tax payments and provide feedback or appeal proposed governmental and taxing entity budgets and other uses for tax dollars. Each county has its own process for providing annual property tax information to homeowners, so visit your tax assessor collector office’s website for details.
Can You Challenge Your Individual Property Tax?
You can, and in most cases you should, challenge your annual property tax bill. While taking your protest through the full appeals process is probably more financially and personally stressful than is necessary for many homeowners, most counties now allow for an easy, automated initial property tax appeal to the appraisal district. It usually takes less than thirty minutes to complete online, and this annual appeal could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on your property tax bill. You can learn more about the steps to appeal your home’s assessed value for a lower property tax bill in our blog titled How to Protest Your Texas Property Taxes & Win.
Are There Ways to Lower Your Property Tax Bill?
Texas offers numerous exemptions that can help to significantly lower annual property tax bills. Exemptions, as the name suggests, exempt a certain amount of the home’s value from taxation. So, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you receive an exemption of $20,000, the taxable value of your home is $80,000. There are numerous exemptions available for Texas homeowners, including:
- Homestead exemptions – available for the property owner’s primary residence (the home you live in for the majority of your time)
- Age 65 & over or disabled persons – in addition to the homestead exemption, people who qualify for these exemptions on their primary residence can receive additional reductions in taxable home values from the city and other local taxing entities
- Veterans – disabled veterans and surviving spouses and children of disabled veterans are eligible for property tax exemptions in some cases
- Alternative energy – homes and business that use solar or wind-powered energy may also be eligible for property tax exemptions in some areas
Need Help Covering Your Property Tax Bill?
Even with the available resources to help Texas homeowners lower their annual property tax bill, many Texans still struggle to cover the cost of this payment each year. Instead, they find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of late property tax payment with high fees and penalties that add up, making it more difficult to pay their property tax bill on time the next year. At Home Tax Solutions, we can help you break free from this endless cycle of debt. With locations across the state, our team has proudly served all 254 Texas counties since 2005. Get started today by filling out our request form from the comfort of your home. We’ll be in touch soon to discuss the details.