MYTH: Only commercial property owners can afford expensive lawyers or consultants to lower their property taxes?
TRUTH: Because residential property valuation is less complicated, thousands of homeowners challenge their home’s appraised value without the help of experts. However, homeowners also have access to a number of experts if they want to challenge the appraisal district’s valuation of their home. Hiring an attorney is part of the due process guaranteed by the Texas constitution for every Texan. In fact, in 2012 only 31 cases state-wide actually went to a verdict! All of the rest were resolved by mutual agreement of the taxpayer and the appraisal district. Additionally, residential property owners are afforded the right to appeal for binding arbitration which is an affordable method to obtain tax relief rather than filing litigation.
MYTH: Commercial property is appraised at only 60% of its value.
TRUTH: All available information – be it from the appraisal districts themselves or from the Comptroller’s review of local values – does not offer evidence of widespread undervaluation of commercial property. The 60% figure is based on seven-year-old information and includes only 500 buildings in six appraisal districts – far too small a sample to draw any accurate conclusions.
MYTH: People’s taxes are rising because commercial property is under appraised.
TRUTH: Residential and commercial property values are increasing but it is government spending that is raising taxes. As the Real Estate Council of Texas noted recently, local taxing entities such as the City of Austin, AISD and Travis County have the power and obligation to reduce tax rates in the face of increasing property values. In Travis County, the tax based increased 6.9% from 2011- 2012 and 7.7% from 2012-2013. In each of those years, the City of Austin, Travis County, AISD, ACC and Travis Central Health raised their tax rates even though the base has risen significantly.