Travis County Property Tax Meeting

A Travis County Property Tax Meeting was held at the Lakeway Activity Center last week.  I decided that as a Realtor it would be very beneficial for me to attend so that I might share what I learned with my clients.  Honestly one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to attend was to meet the person that I write many checks to-face to face- Nelda Spears!  Sadly she did not attend and I was not able to post that picture of her and I that I had hoped for……

The room was setup for 50 or more people.  There were three attendees, including myself.  Although I did not have a particular question the other attendees did.  I was there to learn so I settled into my chair.

Tina Morton Director of Public Information and Training from the Travis County Tax Office spoke first.  Next Marya Crigler spoke and Chief appraiser Patrick Brown also shared information.

Here are the highlights from the meeting from my perspective.

1. 12 appraisers have been in the Lake Travis area gathering information about the properties in the area.  They will look for additions, and enhancements and add that to the property profiles.

2. That 65% of taxes are school taxes and that the schools will hold public meetings about tax rate.  This is your time to voice concerns about the school taxes.

3.  Over 65- you can pay your taxes each qtr with no interest charge.  You can also postpone your taxes until the home sales, this has an 8% cost per year.  The home may sell when you still own it or heirs.  Either way all taxes will be paid from the proceeds of the home.

4. Deceased Disabled Veteran Property Tax with regards to their spouse.   As it stands now the surviving spouse looses the property tax benefit when their spouse passes away.  This has a huge impact on the surviving spouse.  Imagine they are now only getting one social security check and their property taxes are going up and in some cases dramatically going up.  There is a bill out currently that by late summer could resolve this issue.  This will potential allow all surviving spouses to put the property tax they were paying when their spouse was living back into play.  This will be a huge relieve to many I am certain.

5.  All tax payers may have a future escrow payment plan where money is deposited each month into a non interest bearing account.  This is very important for some people who are worried about having the money to pay the tax bill when it comes due.

6.  I was reminded about the Single Family Residence grades and Construction Classifications.  I will write more about this below.

Much of the conversation with the other attendees was surrounding the Disabled Veteran Property Tax and a discussion about how the value is determined of a property and a tax payer’s recourse to this issue.

Since I fought my taxes last year you can see in my past blogs how that process works, but briefly your recourse is 1. Speak with appraiser 2. Speak to panel.  3.  Go to arbitration with a $250 fee 4. File a law suit.

A law passed in 2005 states that there is a 10% limit increase to the appraised value each year.  The market value will be what the house would sell for in an open market.  The lesser of the two is what will be used times your tax rate to determine what your tax bill will be. 

While this discussion continued for a very long time, I was reminded of the Residence Grade and Construction Classifications that are used to determine the appraised value.  To find what your class is for your home first go to   http://www.traviscad.org/.  Put in your address or name to pull up your property.  Read down the detailed property report and go to the table that begins with Segment Information.  Go to the column that has Class in it.  Read down this column to determine how your home is classed.  The next step is to have the information from the county which outlines the classifications.  I have received that form and you can click here to get that form.  If you find out your home has a class of 5, read more about what makes a home a 5 Classification.  If when you read it does not describe your home, but say class 4 does, this would be a reason to meet with the appraiser and discuss why your home is not classified correctly.  An incorrect classification in the downward direction could warrant getting your taxes lowered. 

I am very passionate about helping seniors in the Austin area.  If you or someone you know could use the expertise that I have, please contact me.  Some of this information could greatly assist them and I would be happy to discuss what I learned.

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