Hidden Property Tax

Have you wondered why, when Austin says it’s lowering its tax rate, you still have to pay more?

While our economy and our home values have increased, we also pay some of the highest property taxes in the country — so much so that some homeowners are having to sell before having to lose their home to the banks.

Why is that? Here’s how it works:

Property taxes in Texas are calculated by multiplying your appraised value (minus any exemptions such as the homestead exemption) by your total property tax rate. This means that as appraised values go up across the state, your property tax bill can also go up, even if your tax rate goes down or stays the same. Any tax rate adopted by a taxing entity above the effective tax rate — that is, the rate that will ensure the entity brings in the same amount of money as it did last year — will add to your bill.

Renters: do you think this doesn’t pertain to you? Think again. Yes, property owners are responsible for paying the taxes, but don’t you think they’re passing that bill off onto you when they determine the rent? When landlords, apartments, condos, and townhomes have to pay more in taxes, which are included in their mortgage payments, they can, and probably will include that in your rental payment.

None of this is fair, you say? Well, you’re right in my opinion. The Texas Association of Realtors has nicknamed this process the “hidden property tax.”  What can you do about it? Go to www.hiddenpropertytax.com, read and sign up. Get involved. Educate yourself. Go to the budget hearings where tax rates are set, and invite your neighbors. Voice your concerns. Demand your local elected officials adopt the effective tax rate. Exercise your right to vote in local elections. Try to get news media involved. There is power in numbers, folks!

If there’s anything I can do to help, or if you’d like me to attend any meetings with you, please text, call or email me. I’m here for you!