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Tax Issues on The Horizon

Hidden Property Taxes
Are you frustrated with your rising property tax bill? Are you wondering how your elected officials keep promising no major tax increases, yet your tax bills continue to rise? If you are asking these questions, you are not alone. Mention your tax bill to a group of homeowners and you will find yourself joined by a chorus of frustrated Texas property owners. Texas has one of the highest property tax burdens in the country, with a median property tax rate of $2.17 per $100 in property value. Only four states have a higher median tax rate, according to Corelogic.

Over the past two decades, local property taxes have risen so quickly that property owners have been forced to sell their properties. This issue has a direct impact on Realtors, especially those in highly populated areas like Houston.

What can you do to protect yourself?
When a homeowner receives a bill for a high property value that results in increased taxes, they can appeal to the appraisal review board. However, many times property owners go before the appraisal review board and only to leave feeling that they had been treated disrespectfully.

On September 29, 2016, at the Senate Select Committee for Property Tax Reform & Relief meeting in Houston, Senator Lois Kolkhorst shared a story from a constituent who said she had been driven to tears by her treatment at the appraisal review board hearing.

Being well-informed and ready for an appeal hearing is one way to lessen the anxiety produced by an unexpectedly high property tax bill. Another method is to vote and to hold elected officials accountable until they devise a plan to rectify this situation. The Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) has created a website, www.thehiddenpropertytax.com, so that you may sign up for updates, watch videos and gain other information.

The Coming Storm
Due to budget concerns, Texas has reduced funding for public education from 52% to 44%. The result is that the burden of funding public education is shifted onto the property owner. For example, Houston Independent School District (HISD) is subject to sending $162 million in local property-tax dollars to the state of Texas this year. The legislature calls it “purchasing attendance credits.” The HISD board of education has placed the issue on the November 8 ballot. HISD voters will vote for or against the following ballot item: Authorizing the board of trustees of Houston Independent School District to purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues.
This issue represents the perfect storm of voters needing to be educated and to exercise the right to vote. Engage and ensure the legislature takes action to create a better public school funding system.

For more information regarding HISD “recapture” or what has been called Robin Hood, visit www.houstonisd.org/recapture.

Visit www.hiddenpropertytax.com to be better informed about your property taxes.

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