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Sun City Texas homeowners face another tax deadline

Real Estate Agent with Realty Austin

As Tax Day expires, many Austin Texas homeowners may not want to hear the word "taxes" anytime soon, but the truth is that there is another tax deadline approaching. The deadline to protest your Texas property taxes is May 31st. If the county assessed value of your home is nowhere near what the actual market value is, time is running out to make sure that you don't overpay your property taxes. Here are 8 things that you may or may not know about property taxes here in the Austin area.

  1. Your property tax appraisal is required by law to be at 100% of market value and be equitable in comparison to the tax appraisals of similar properties.
  2. The "Homestead Exemption" will reduce the property tax on a homesteaded property, sometimes dramatically. You can apply for a "Homestead Exemption" up to one year in arrears, so it is possible to go back and get a refund for a missed 2008 "Homestead Exemption" until January 31, 2010.
  3. Homeowners 65 years of age qualify for special exemption amounts and a "school tax freeze" that makes certain their school taxes, and some county or city taxes, can never go up.  Disabled homeowners now qualify for the same "school tax freeze" as over-65 homeowners.
  4. Homesteads owned by Veterans classified as 100% disabled due to service related causes are not 100% exempt from property taxes.
  5. Look for the "Appraised Value (Possible Homestead Limitation)" on the Notice of Appraised Value.  Compare the Last Year 2009 Value to the Proposed 2010 Value.  It should not increase more than 10% unless you have added square footage to your home.  If it does increase more than 10%, call the Appraisal District at 512.834.9138 and find out why.
  6. Property Tax Appraisals are made as of January 1st of each year.  If a home burns to the ground on January 2nd, property taxes are still levied on the structure for the entire year.  To delay taxes, build your pool or add on or to a major remodel after January 1st.  It isn't taxable until the following January 1st and you will not have to pay the tax increase until the following January.
  7. The statutory deadline for filing written protest is May 31st of each year.  It is no longer necessary to file a protest with multiple Appraisal Districts.  If your property is in Travis County the appeal is filed with Travis CAD.  If your property is in Williamson County the appeal is filed with Williamson CAD.
  8. If you miss the May 31st filing deadline, all is not necessarily lost.  If you can prove the Proposed Tax Appraisal is at least 25% too high you can file a "Substantial Error" motion until January 31st of the following year and still get the value reduced.  Also, if you can prove that the Appraisal District failed to send you a required notice you can file a "Failure to Receive" motion by January 31st of the following year and be entitled to an Appeal hearing.  Lastly, under Section 25.25(h) of the Property Tax Code, you can beg the Chief Appraiser to review almost any issue.  He has the authority to review and modify anything with a signature.

If you have any questions, free to visit our Austin real estate site to learn more about Austin home values and homes for sale.