Taylor County market values are expected to increase 14% to 20% for 2022.
Widespread inflation is at the heart of an increase in property values, said Gary Earnest, CEO of the Central Appraisal District of Taylor County.
The district will mail 76,000 notices of value to real estate property owners in the county Friday, and 7,000 notices to business personal property May 24.
The mailing of values begins a multiple-step process that allows taxpayers to interact with the appraisal district and the entities within Taylor County who set the final tax rate, Earnest said.
“We encourage property owners to contact our office and provide documentation related to the condition of their property or information about their neighborhood that will impact value,” Earnest said. “Our goal is to support taxpayers’ rights and provide transparency of information related to property taxes.”
The increase is not projected to match certain other regions around the state, some of which have seen increases in property values between 20% and 50% compared to 2021, Earnest said.
“Even though 14% to 20% is a significant increase, truth-in-taxation calculations will force the tax rate to go down for 2022,” Earnest said.
Even as values go up, tax rates must come down for entities to calculate a no-new-revenue (NNR) rate that produces the same amount of tax as the previous year, he said.
After adjusting the tax rate to the current NNR rate, each taxing entity may increase the rate by up to 3.5%, Earnest said.
That cap is set by state law. An increase of more than 3.5% would require a rollback election.
The average homestead value in Taylor County has risen 15.7% in preliminary numbers, Earnest said, from $162,653 to $188,165.
Taylor County’s total market value for 2021 was estimated at almost $15 billion, whittling to a freeze-adjusted taxable value of just under $9 billion.
This year’s market value of $17 billion is a 14.3% increase, while freeze-adjusted values are up 12.4% to $10 billion.
New taxable value compared to the previous year has risen 46%, representing just under $298 million in value, compared to $204 million in 2021.
Low mortgage interest rates, at least until recently, have increased the number of property transactions within the city limits, Earnest said, while inflation has increased property values.
Values in the Abilene ISD are expected to rise 10%-20%, Earnest said, while Wylie values are slated in the preliminary figures to see a 10%-15% bump.
Asked about migration outside of the city to rural areas, a trend seen in increased growth especially in South Taylor County, Earnest said he “couldn’t speculate to the migration of property owners or their intention to relocate.”
But those values, too, are expected to rise, with some areas of the county, such as the Jim Ned ISD, seeing up to 20% increases, while the Trent ISD is expected to see increases up to 25%.
Taylor County’s median residential change, based on preliminary numbers, is 15%.
What to know about appraisals
The state constitution mandates all taxable property be appraised in accordance with its local market value and that appraisals be equal and uniform, Earnest said.
If appraisals are not updated regularly, those constitutional requirements cannot be met, he said.
“We appraise each property by analyzing the sales within each neighborhood,” Earnest said. “The weight of the all sales price per square foot determines a range of price per square foot of the remaining houses within the neighborhood.”
The appraisal district has identified more than 700 residential and commercial neighborhoods in Taylor County that support equal and uniform appraisals, he said.
Once a property owner receives a notice of value, they will have until 30 days from the date of the notice, whichever is later, to contact the appraisal office and file a value protest, Earnest said. That will be May 31 this year.
Taxpayers can file online through the district’s website www.taylor-cad.org, mail a completed protest form included with the notice of value or call the district and set an appointment with an appraiser.
When a property owner receives a notice, it is crucial to verify if the notice lists a qualified exemption, Earnest said — homestead, age or disability-related.
“The homestead exemption is the single most important source of property tax relief for homeowners,” Earnest said.
Taxpayers can reduce overall 2022 tax liability by filing a homestead application with the appraisal district, he said.
“It is not too late to claim a homestead exemption,” Earnest said.
Receiving a homestead exemption limits the annual taxable value to a 10% increase and provides an average tax reduction of $350 to $400 a year.
“It has never been more critical to have a homestead exemption and the resulting 10% cap in assessed value than it is today,” Earnest said.
Those who own and occupy a home as a principal residence, as long as neither they nor their spouse have claimed a homestead on any other property, are entitled to the exemption, Earnest said.
Those who qualify may file a new application with the appraisal district to receive an exemption for 2022.
Theycan apply at online at www.taylor-cad.org, or at the district’s office, Earnest said.
Individuals may also request an application through the mail by calling 325-676-9381.
Checks and balances
The appraisal district is not involved in setting a tax rate or the approval of an entity’s budget, Earnest said.
But “the property tax system contains numerous checks and balances,” he said.
Appraisals supported with local market values provide an equal and uniform system for the entire community, Earnest said.
The governing body of each jurisdiction adopts its own budget, Earnest said, and each sets a tax rate applied to the appraised value of all taxable property, producing the necessary amount of property tax revenue for each entity.
“The local taxing jurisdictions only ask that we do our work fairly and accurately,” he said. “The amount of taxes each entity levies for the year is determined by how much money is needed to fund local government services, such as police and fire protection.”
Appraisals are reviewed by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Earnest said, which conducts and publishes an annual study that measures the accuracy of appraised values within each category of property located in each county appraisal district.
The results of the 2021 study can be accessed on the comptroller’s website at https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/pvs/2021p/221index.php.
Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for the Abilene Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
Running the numbers
Tax Year Market Value Net Taxable Freeze Adjusted New Taxable Average 2021 $14.97 billion $10.27 billion $8.96 billion $204 million $152,653
2022 $17.11 billion $11.57 billion $10.07 billion $297.89 million $188,165
% increase 14.33% 12.9% 12.44% 46.06% 15.68%
2022 Rural Area Increases (projected)
Taylor County Median Residential Change: 15%
By school district:
► Abilene Independent School District: 10%-20%
► Blackwell ISD: Flat
► Clyde CISD: 6%-10% increase
► Eula ISD: 10%-15% increase
► Jim Ned CISD: 12%-20% increase
► Merkel ISD: 12%-18% increase
► Trent ISD: 15%-25% increase
► Winters ISD: Flat
► Wylie ISD: 10%-15% increase
City of Abilene Residential Market Areas
Zone 1: 10%-15% increase (northwest Abilene)
Zone 2: 15%-20% increase (north and south central Abilene)
Zone 3: 9%-15% increase (Parts of northeast and southeast Abilene)
Zone 4: 12%-20% increase (portion of southwest Abilene inside of Winters Freeway)
Zone 5: 10%-18% increase (portion of Abilene that includes Wylie ISD and some portions of far southeast Abilene.)
All numbers are preliminary.
This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Homeowners! 2022 property assessments, going out Friday, may jump 20%