When you own real estate in Travis County, Texas, the Travis Central Appraisal District is the entity responsible for determining the market value of your home for the purposes of property taxes. But how exactly does this process work? This guide will explain what you should know to navigate property tax appraisals and protests in the Travis Central Appraisal District.
In Texas, property taxes are assessed based on the value of the real estate being taxed. So, for taxing entities to calculate property taxes, the value of the property must first be established. An appraisal district in every Texas county is responsible for assessing property values each year. Each appraisal district is operated by a chief appraiser, with property appraisals typically taking place between January 1 and April 30.
Travis County is located in south-central Texas and includes Austin and the surrounding areas. Other towns that are part of the Travis Central Appraisal District include:
Additionally, parts of Round Rock, Mustang Ridge, Jollyville, Leander, and Cedar Park are located in Travis County. If you are unsure whether your real estate is subject to Travis County property tax, you can search the Travis Central Appraisal District database by owner name or address.
Many property owners in Travis County will qualify for at least one property tax exemption. Exemptions reduce the taxable value of your property, or in some cases, exempt you from property taxes altogether. For a complete list of all available exemptions in Travis County, visit the Exemption Forms page on the Travis Central Appraisal District website.
The most common property tax exemptions are homestead exemptions. The general homestead exemption applies to owner-occupied residential real estate and protects homeowners against large taxable increases in a property’s taxable value. This results in a lower property tax bill.
To qualify for the general homestead exemption, you must have owned and lived in the property as your primary residence as of January 1st of that tax year. Each taxpayer can only claim one homestead exemption, even if they own multiple properties.
In addition to the general homestead exemption, other exemptions are available for seniors, disabled people, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses.
You can apply for a homestead exemption between January 1st and April 30th by submitting the homestead exemption form in person at the Travis Central Appraisal District office (850 East Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752) or by submitting an online application.
Once appraisals have been completed, the Travis Central Appraisal District will send property owners a Notice of Appraised Value if their property’s market value has increased by $1,000 or more from last year’s value. If you disagree with the assessed market value of your real estate, you have the right to file a protest against that value.
If you want to protest the appraised market value of your property, you can file a protest online to receive immediate confirmation. You can also submit a protest form in person at the Travis Central Appraisal District office or by mail to:
Travis Central Appraisal District
PO Box 149012
Austin TX 78714
To submit a protest, you’ll need to provide the following information:
You will also be able to list your opinion of what your property’s value should be if you choose to do so and provide evidence that suggests a lower market value for your home would be more appropriate.
Between the time you file your protest and the protest hearing, you will have the opportunity to consider a settlement offer from the appraisal district based on the evidence you provide supporting your position. The evidence provided is the key test for a reduction. It must accurately support a reduction of the current property value. If you do not accept a settlement offer during this stage, you will be able to present your case to the Travis Appraisal Review Board (ARB).
The Travis Appraisal Review Board (ARB) is a group of citizens that resolves disputes between property owners and the Travis Central Appraisal District. ARB members are appointed by the Travis County Local Administrative District Judge and are entirely independent of the appraisal district.
A panel of three ARB members will review testimony and evidence and decide property tax protests that do not settle during the informal stage. At an ARB hearing, both the property owner (or protest agent) and an appraisal district representative will present evidence and answer questions from the ARB panel. These hearings typically only last 15 to 20 minutes, and a property owner will receive a Notice of Final Order detailing the ARB’s final decision by certified mail.
You can participate in your property tax protest hearing in person, by phone, or by affidavit. If you choose to attend in person, the hearing will take place at one of two Travis Central Appraisal District office locations: 850 E. Anderson Lane or 8314 Cross Park Drive. The letter you receive to schedule your hearing will identify at which location your hearing will be held.
Property owners who choose a telephone hearing will be able to present their case verbally and by remote screen sharing. Property owners who select an affidavit-based hearing will only share their evidence and arguments through a written affidavit.
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