Updated Property Tax Information Now Available for Texas Taxpayers

New and updated property tax information has just been compiled by Rains
County Appraisal District) and is available now to assist taxpayers. This property tax
information is current and covers a wide range of topics, such as taxpayer remedies,
exemptions and appraisals, and is of value to select groups, such as disabled veterans
and persons who are age 65 or older.

Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, disabled veteran or a taxpayer, it’s important you know your rights concerning the property tax laws. You can contact us about any property tax issues with full confidence that we will provide you the most complete, accurate and up-to-date available information to assist you.

This includes information about the following programs.
• Property Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans – The law provides partial
exemptions for any property owned by veterans who are disabled, spouses and
survivors of deceased disabled veterans. This includes homesteads donated to
disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost to the disabled veterans.
The amount of exemption is determined according to percentage of service connected
disability. The law also provides a 100 percent exemption for 100
percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses, beginning in 2009, and for
surviving spouses of U.S. armed service members killed in action.

• Property Tax Exemptions – Non-profit organizations that meet statutory
requirements may seek property tax exemptions and must apply to their county
appraisal district by a specific date. Businesses that receive tax abatements
granted by taxing units; ship inventory out of Texas that may be eligible for the
“freeport” exemption; store certain goods in transit in warehouses that are moved
within 175 days; construct, install or acquire pollution control property; own and
operate energy storage systems; or store offshore drilling equipment while not in
use may also be eligible for statutory exemptions.

• Rendering Taxable Property – If a business owns tangible personal property
that is used to produce income, the business must file a rendition with its local
county appraisal district by a specified date. Personal property includes inventory
and equipment used by a business. Owners do not have to render exempt
property such as church property or an agriculture producer’s equipment used for
farming.
• Appraisal Notices – If a taxpayer’s property value increased in the last year, the
Texas taxpayer will receive a notice of appraised value from the appropriate local
county appraisal district. The city, county, school districts and other local taxing
units will use the appraisal district’s value to set property taxes for the coming
year.

• Property Taxpayer Remedies – This Comptroller publication explains in detail
how to protest a property appraisal, what issues the county appraisal review
board (ARB) can consider and what to expect during a protest hearing. The
publication also discusses the options of taking a taxpayer’s case to district court,
the State Office of Administrative Hearings or binding arbitration if the taxpayer is
dissatisfied with the outcome of the ARB hearing.

• Homestead Exemptions – A homestead is generally defined as the home and
land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. A
homestead exemption reduces the appraised value of the home and, as a result,
lowers property taxes. Applications are submitted to the appropriate local county
appraisal district.

• Productivity Appraisal – Property owners who use land for timber land
production, agricultural purposes or wildlife management can be granted property
tax relief on their land. They may apply to their local county appraisal district for
an agricultural appraisal which may result in a lower appraisal of the land based
on how much the taxpayer produces, versus what the land would sell for in the
open market.

• Residence Homestead Tax Deferral – Texas homeowners may postpone
paying the currently delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of
their homes by filing a tax deferral affidavit at their local county appraisal district.
This tax relief allows homeowners to pay the property taxes on 105 percent of
the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any
new improvements to the homestead. The remaining taxes are postponed, but
not cancelled, with interest accruing at 8 percent per year.

• Property Tax Deferral for Persons Age 65 or Older or Disabled
Homeowners – Texans who are age 65 or older or disabled, as defined by law,
may postpone paying current and delinquent property taxes on their homes by
signing a tax deferral affidavit. Once the affidavit is on file, taxes are deferred, but
not cancelled, as long as the owner continues to own and live in the home.
Interest continues to accrue on unpaid taxes. You may obtain a deferral affidavit
at the appraisal district.

• Notice of Availability of Electronic Communication – In appraisal districts
located in counties of more than 200,000 in population or that have authorized
electronic communications, and that have implemented a system that allows
such communications, chief appraisers and ARBs may communicate
electronically through email or other media with property owners or their
designated representatives. Written agreements are required for notices and
other documents to be delivered electronically in place of mailing.

• Protesting Property Appraisal Values – Property owners who disagree with
the appraisal district’s appraisal of their property for local taxes or for any other
action that adversely affects them may protest their property value to the
appraisal district’s ARB.

For more information about these programs, contact Rains County Appraisal District
at 145 Doris Briggs Pwky, Emory TX 75440. Information is also available on the
Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at
comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/proptax/.