Monday, December 7, 2020 / by Jenny Carroll
Property taxes are the main source of revenue for Texas counties and in Travis County, the Commissioners Court sets the local rate. Commissioners began the budget approval process earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic began, but revisions were made after the pandemic reduced revenue and the county incurred new expenses. Property taxes add monies to the general fund that allocates money to the county's municipal endeavors. The general fund is the money used for the court system, parks, social services, juvenile justice, emergency response, and medical services, law enforcement, corrections, and rehabilitation.
Each county appraisal district determines the value of all taxable property within the county boundaries and a notice of appraised value is sent to all property owners by the end of April or May, depending on where the property is located. To save time and money, the appraisal district uses the mass appraisal to appraise large numbers of properties.
In a mass appraisal, the district first collects detailed descriptions of each taxable property in the district. It then classifies properties according to a variety of factors, such as size, use, and construction type. Using data from recent property sales, the district appraises the value of typical properties in each class. Taking into account differences such as age or location, the district uses “typical” property values to appraise all the properties in each class.
One of your most important rights as a taxpayer is your right to protest to the appraisal review board (ARB). You may protest if you disagree with the appraisal district value or any of the appraisal district's actions concerning your property.
If you are dissatisfied with the ARB's findings, you have the right to appeal the ARB's decision. Depending on the facts and type of property, you may be able to appeal to the state district court in the county in which your property is located; to an independent arbitrator; or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The form to protest your appraised value can be downloaded here and must be received by your county’s Appraisal District no later than May 15th. Follow this link to Stanberry’s Property Tax Protest form.
Most mortgaged properties will have their property taxes paid by their escrow accounts unless the homeowner opted to reserve funds and pay it themselves by the January 31st deadline. If you’re curious about what your tax rate is in Travis County you can visit the Travis County website Estimator here. Hays, Bastrop, and Williamson Counties don’t have estimators but you may visit Smart Asset's site to get a rough estimate based on your zip code.