What does Equal and Uniform Taxation Mean?
Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith both own similar homes in the same neighborhood. If Mr. Jones’ home is appraised at a higher value than Mrs. Smith’s home and other similar homes, he can file an appeal with the appraisal review board and request that his appraisal be adjusted so that all homes are treated equally and uniformly. The same principal applies to commercial property. Here are some examples of how appraisal districts valued similar properties in the same neighborhood allowing the owner of the overvalued property to receive a reduction in appraised value. Independent studies show that while there are issues with some properties, appraisal districts are appraising commercial property at or near market value.
MYTH: Property tax bills are rising because commercial property is under appraised.
TRUTH: Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs has issued reports for Travis, Harris, Dallas and El Paso counties showing that their appraisal ratios are accurate. The respected Texas Taxpayers Research Association has stated that property taxes are rising “because schools, cities, counties and special districts are spending more."
MYTH: The property tax burden has shifted from commercial to residential taxpayers.
TRUTH: The ratio of 54% residential vs. 46% commercial valuations is a result of Texas transitioning over the last 20 years from manufacturing industries to service industries which are less property intensive. Also we have seen a 45% growth in single family housing over that same period. However, when you take into consideration the many exemptions provided to homeowners that are not available to businesses, the ratio of taxable valuation reverses to 46% residential and 54% commercial. Of the $229,764,113 in exemptions and special residential provisions deducted from Texas tax rolls, 70.5% were given to single residential properties.
MYTH: Texas commercial property owners rely on loopholes to avoid their fair share of taxes.
TRUTH: The constitutional guarantee of Equal and Uniform Taxation was established in the Texas constitution in 1876 and is not a tax loophole. This is a guarantee of fairness and equality in our tax system. The guarantee of fairness and equity as well as due process when there is a dispute applies equally to residential and commercial property taxes.