10% property tax hike in Fort Bend
By Elsa Maxey
After the release of property appraisal values by the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (CAD), what has followed for some homeowners is akin to sticker price shock or better yet, surprise, but only to some people.
What is well known is the growth activity in Fort Bend continues to correspond to a need for more homes. So, is it any surprise that home values would go up? There is a short supply and high demand for homes, confirmed by the realty community.
So what are homeowners to do now that they are faced with a 10% hike on the average, the highest growth limit value allowed by Texas law? Pay up if your property was properly appraised. If not, a homeowner has until May 31st to file an appeal with the CAD and demonstrate why that should not be the case. Chief Appraiser Glen Whitehead and Tax Assessor/Collector Patsy Schultz recently spoke to participating taxpayers during last week’s workshop hosted by State Rep. Ron Reynolds at Missouri City Baptist Church. Schulz advised taxpayers of the availability of a tax payment option as an escrow account that can be set up by her office.
Whitehead said that appraisal notices to property owners locally were mailed this month. “Our responsibility is to locate, describe, list and appraise value,” in contrast to Schulz’s role, “to do effective tax calculations and collect taxes,” he said. The taxing entities such as cities, the county and water districts, set the tax rates on the value of a home and public hearings by elected officials are held for residents to provide their input. At this junction, if you believe your property value is too high or you were incorrectly denied an exemption, you have the right to protest it before an Appraisal Review Board, and if there is no agreement reached, there is also an option to take a case to court.
What could potentially calm down some homeowners in Fort Bend is the supposition in a study that states Texas’ residential value cap increase of 10% probably benefits taxpayers in more affluent communities since other less affluent areas do not typically grow at rapid rates.
What’s more, property taxes help pay for public schools, city streets, county roads, police, fire protection and many other services. So, while property values in Fort Bend County are up, the bad news for homeowners is probably good news for local government budgets.
The relief for taxpayers may be found in homestead and possibly other exemptions, which remove part of the value of property from taxation and lowers a tax bill. Beware…the failure to tax property taxes comes with a consequence of penalty and interest added to a tax bill, and possible foreclosure. LaTrice Martin-Gault, also at the workshop hosted by Rep. Reynolds, is the President of Save Your Property, Inc., and organizations such as hers are intended to help taxpayers in need of alternatives for satisfying property tax debts.
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=40368