It’s early October, which means that property tax rate-setting season is officially over. With the rate-setting process concluded, homeowners and businesses can finally get a sense of whether their property taxes are going up, headed down, or staying the same.
In the past, Texans would have to navigate a complex web of public notices, agendas, adopted budgets, and news stories to piece together the details about what their taxing units had done. But this year, thanks to a law passed in 2019, taxpayers can use a new property tax transparency tool to better understand how their specific tax bill has been affected by proposed and adopted tax rates.
That bears repeating. Using this new tool, you can see if your household will pay more or less in property taxes this year, as a result of local decisions. You can even see the different elements of your tax bill (broken out by taxing unit) which gives property owner’s important information to hold their local elected officials accountable. That detail is especially useful right now given all the false rhetoric and tax rate misdirection this year.
If all of this sounds familiar, then it may be because you were paying attention. A few months ago, appraisal districts were instructed to mass mail public notices that read:
Beginning August 7th, visit Texas.gov/PropertyTaxes to find a link to your local property tax database on which you can easily access information regarding your property taxes, including information regarding the amount of taxes that each entity that taxes your property will impose if the entity adopts its proposed tax rate. Your local property tax database will be updated regularly during August and September as local elected officials propose and adopt the property tax rates that will determine how much you pay in property taxes.
This information, as well as other outreach efforts, is an attempt by policymakers to get Texans better educated and engaged in the property tax process (which, again, operates entirely at the local level). The more well-informed the populace, the better chance we have at getting Texas’ property tax problem under control.
So use the tool to assess the damage—and then talk to your local elected officials about what’s happening!