Give us the tools, and we will finish the job. ~ Winston Churchill

Getting your arms around Texas’ property tax system can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced policy professional. Fortunately, there are more and more educational resources available online—you just have to know where to look!

The tools below represent some of the best state, local, and nonprofit resources around. All are FREE to use and instrumental in understanding the process, the players, and the ways to pushback against unfair tax hikes. Use each one to become more familiar with Texas’ property tax.

How to…Understand the Basics. This comprehensive report provides readers with all the system basics, from the property tax cycle to the administration of the tax to the appraisal process. It’s all here.

TOOL: Texas Property Tax Basics—June 2020.

How to…Get a Statewide Perspective. Every two years, the Texas Comptroller’s office publishes a high-level report chock-full of statewide data on the property tax’s size, growth, and composition. The agency also makes available a companion data visualization tool that allows users to get a visual grasp on the data.

TOOL: Biennial Property Tax Report.

How to…Find Your Property Tax Bill. Most, if not all, appraisal district websites feature a property search tool that allows taxpayers find their properties by owner name, property address, account number, or other detail. Residents can find a wealth of information online about their homes, its value, its history, and the various governmental entities that are levying a property tax on them.

TOOL: Appraisal District Property Search (Example: Travis Central Appraisal District Property Search).

How to…Learn About Your Local Government’s Finances. Want to know more about your city, county, school district, or special district’s finances? Then use the Texas Comptroller’s Transparency Stars website to locate your particular local government’s budget(s), contracts, economic development deals, public pension data, and debt details.

TOOL: Transparency Stars Program.

How to…Track the Trends. The Texas Comptroller’s office maintains a comprehensive database of local property tax information on specific jurisdictions that includes market values, taxable values, tax rates, tax levies, and more. The agency also offers a companion data visualization tool that helps bring the information to life!

TOOL: Property Tax Rates and Levies.

How to…Get More Information. Want more information from your local officials about spending or taxes? Then send a Public Information Act request to the public information officer or the right employee asking for report, information, or data. You have a right to public information.

TOOL: Public Information Act Handbook 2020.

How to…Protest Your Property Tax Appraisal. It’s important to know how and when to protest your property tax appraisal—and then do it every year! Don’t know how? We’re here to help! Watch the Foundation’s new instructional video on How to Protest Your Property Tax Appraisal featuring renowned appraisal expert Michael Berlanga.

TOOL: Free Texas Public Policy Foundation Webinar.

How to…Find Out Who Represents You. If you have concerns about skyrocketing property tax bills, then it’s important to communicate those concerns with the right people. To learn who represents you at the statehouse, use the Texas Legislature Online’s address-based tool to easily locate the contact information for your state representative and state senator.

TOOL: Who Represents Me?

How to…Fundamentally Change the System for the Better. It’s not enough to simply know about the system—we must also know how to change it for the better. Read the research below to learn how the Texas Legislature can make big, systemic changes to help taxpayers and protect private property rights.

TOOL: Abolishing the “Robin Hood” School Property Tax; School Property Tax Reform: An Analysis of Options; The Freedom to Own Property: Reforming Texas’ Local Property Tax.

Need more help? Contact the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s James Quintero or Shelby Sterling!