Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Property Law
At the law firm of Myers Shaw, Attorneys at Law, we strive to do right by our clients. That commitment comes with helping every one of our clients understand the complicated and confusing legal systems they are required to interact with year after year. If your property tax question is not answered below, schedule a consultation with us in Fort Worth by calling 817-731-2500 or by sending us an email.
Answers To Common Property Tax Questions
What is an ad valorem tax?
Ad valorem is a Latin phrase, meaning “according to value.” In tax contexts, an ad valorem tax is a tax dependent on the value of the item being taxed. This is commonly used in property taxes, as the amount of taxes owed is entirely dependent on how valuable your property is determined to be.
Is my property being taxed by the state of Texas?
No. In fact, the state government has virtually nothing to do with your property taxes. The state of Texas does not keep tax records for property. The value of your property, which is used to determine how much you owe in taxes, is not determined by the state either.
Who is taxing my property, then?
In Texas, property taxes are levied by local taxing units. Taxing units are entities that operate on tax dollars, such as city governments, schools, hospitals and emergency services. In many cases throughout Texas, taxing units use a centralized entity in the county to collect these taxes.
How does the taxing authority assess my property’s value?
When the appraisal district evaluates your property, it considers 1) how the property is being used and 2) the market value of the property at the beginning of the property tax cycle.
Market value can fluctuate significantly based on the influences of four key forces:
- Environmental forces like water availability or accessible topography may increase market value, while toxic contaminants or barriers to development may decrease market value.
- Economic forces include the health of the local, national and international economies. Income levels, local interest rates and financing options can affect a property’s market value.
- In property evaluation, zoning ordinances and proximity to public services are among the most influential governmental forces.
- Social forces, such as population density, drive the demand for real estate, making rarer properties more valuable.
Who will hear my challenge to my property tax assessment?
Once the appraisal district has completed an assessment, you have the ability to protest its valuation in front of the appraisal review board (ARB). In Texas, the ARB opens informal hearings in mid-May. The ARB will then mail you its decision.
If you disagree with the ARB’s decision, you may appeal it in Texas District Court. You have a right to representation in tax appeals. Contact Myers Shaw, Attorneys at Law, to discuss your property tax concerns and to learn more about our appellate services.