Frequently Asked Questions
Why was this appraisal necessary? I have no intention of selling my home.
The Texas Constitution mandates that all taxable property be appraised in accordance with its market value (what it would sell for on January 1), and that taxation be equal and uniform. If appraisals are not updated on a regular basis, these constitutional requirements will not be met.
Why am I being taxed on an improvement when my house is not improved?
In this instance, an improvement does not always indicate an addition or a change. Per the Texas Property Tax Code Sec. 1.04(3) “Improvement” means: (A) a building, structure, fixture, or fence erected on or affixed to the land; (B) a transportable structure that is designed to be occupied for residential or business purposes whether or not it is affixed to the land.
Do jurisdictions like the county, cities, and school districts put pressure on the Maverick County Appraisal District (MCAD) to raise values so they will have more money?
No, the local taxing jurisdictions only ask that we do our work fairly and accurately. The amount of taxes that each of the entities levy for the year is determined by how much money is needed to fund local government services such as police and fire protection. The governing body of each jurisdiction adopts its own budget and then sets a tax rate which, when applied to the appraised value of all taxable property, will produce the necessary amount of property tax revenue. The MCAD has no involvement in this process or with property tax collections.
Who reviews the MCAD appraisals for accuracy?
The property tax system contains numerous checks and balances and one of the most important is the right of property owners to file a protest and receive a hearing if they believe our appraisals are inaccurate or inequitable. Additionally, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts conducts and publishes a Property Value Study of the level of appraisal of each category of property within Maverick County in even-numbered years, and a Methods and Procedures review of the MCAD office in odd-numbered years.
What kind of information is considered in appraising residential property?
The appraisal district compares properties that recently sold with comparable properties in the same market area. Adjustments are made for the differences between sold and unsold properties. This adjustment results in the estimate of what the unsold properties would have been worth had they been on the market as of January 1. MCAD appraisal records contain property information collected during field inspections throughout the district. Our appraisal process is completed in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) applicable to the mass appraisal process.
You appraised my home for more than I paid for it in a recent open market transaction. Do I have to file a protest to get a valuation review?
In lieu of filing a protest, you can come to the MCAD office and bring a copy of your recent settlement statement, fee appraisal or other documents on or before the end of the unscheduled walk-in protest period date marked on your notice. A staff member will review and consider the documents you provide. Otherwise, you should file your protest, including your documents, on or before the indicated protest filing deadline or 30 days after the date your value notice was mailed, whichever is later. If the deadline date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day.
Q What documentation would be helpful to bring?
A Productive review tips, including examples of documentation to bring, are located on our website under the Protest Process tab and the protest process videos located on this page.
Q What is the State-mandated deadline for filing my protest?
A § 41.44. Notice of Protest
(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b), (c), (c–1), and (c–2), to be entitled to a hearing and determination of a protest, the property owner initiating the protest must file a written notice of the protest with the appraisal review board having authority to hear the matter protested:
(1) Not later than May 15 or the 30th day after the date that notice to the property owner was delivered to the property owner as provided by Section 25.19, whichever is later.
PRESENTING A CASE AT AN APPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD (ARB) HEARING
The Property Tax Assistance Division has provided the following videos to assist property owners in protesting a case at an appraisal review board (ARB) hearing.
How to Present Your Case at an ARB Hearing: A Homeowners Guide
How to Present Your Case at an ARB Hearing: A Guide for Small Businesses
Each county’s appraisal district determines the value of all taxable property within the county. Before the appraisals begin, the district compiles a list of taxable property. The listing for each property contains a description and the name and address of the owner.
The appraised home value for a homeowner who qualifies his or her homestead for exemptions in the preceding and current year may not increase more than 10% per year.
Property Tax Code, Section 23.23(a), sets a limit on the appraised value of a residence homestead, stating that its appraised value for that year may not exceed the lesser of (1) the market value of the property; or (2) the sum of: (A) 10% of the appraised value of the property for last year; (B) the appraised value of the property for last year; and (C) the market value of all new improvements to the property, excluding a replacement structure for one that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by mold or water damage. The appraisal limitation first applies in the year after the homeowner qualifies for the homestead exemption.
HOW IS YOUR PROPERTY VALUED?
The appraisal district must repeat its appraisal process for property at least once every three years.
To save time and money, the appraisal district uses mass appraisal to appraise large numbers of properties. In a mass appraisal, the district first collects detailed descriptions of each taxable property in the district. It then classifies properties according to a variety of factors, such as size, use, and construction type. Using data from recent property sales, the district appraises the value of typical properties in each class. Taking into account differences such as age or location, the district uses “typical” property values to appraise all the properties in each class.
The appraisal district may use three common methods to value property: the COST APPROACH, the MARKET APPROACH, and the INCOME APPROACH.
The MARKET APPROACH is the most often used and simply asks, “What are properties similar to this property selling for?” The Value of your home is an estimate of the price your home would sell for on January 1. The appraisal district, after extensive market sales research and verification, develops a schedule for each class of home and applies that schedule to your property. The sales data compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently and determines your home’s value.
The COST APPROACH asks, “How much would it cost to replace the property with one of equal utility?” The Cost approach utilizes a base cost new per square foot, then depreciation is applied. This is referred to as RCNLD or “replacement cost new less depreciation”.
The INCOME APPROACH is used to appraise types of properties that don’t often sell. The income approach asks, “What would an investor pay in anticipation of future income from the property?” The income approach is a conversion of future income into present value.
AGRICULTURAL AND TIMBERLAND APPRAISAL (SPECIAL USE APPRAISAL)
Land owners may apply for two types of special appraisals – appraisal based on productivity value and appraisal based on restrictions to use of land as public access property or recreation, park, or scenic land.
Productivity value is based on land’s ability to produce agricultural or timber products and is usually lower than market value. Additional information is available in the Manual for the Appraisal of Agricultural Lands and the Manual for the Appraisal of Timberland.
Land that is used to manage wildlife may also qualify for special use appraisal. The required management plan and other useful information are available from the Texas Parks and Wildfire Department.
Requirements for lands restricted to public airport or recreational, par, and scenic lands vary. Additional information is available up request.
WHAT LAND QUALIFIES FOR AGRICULTURAL APPRAISAL?
Property owners may qualify for agricultural appraisal if land meets the following criteria:
The land must be devoted principally to agricultural use. Agricultural use includes producing crops, livestock, poultry, fish, or cover crops. It also can include leaving the land idle for a government program or for normal crop or livestock rotation. Land used for raising certain exotic animals (including exotic birds) to produce human food or other items of commercial value qualifies.
Using land for wildlife management is an agricultural use, if such land was previously qualified open-space land and is actively used for wildlife management. Wildlife management land must be used in at least 3 of specific ways to propagate a breeding population of wild animals for human use.
- Agricultural land must be devoted to production at a level of intensity that is common in the local area.
The land must have been devoted to agricultural or timber production for at least 5 of the past 7 years. However, land within the city limits must have been devoted continuously for the preceding 5 years, unless the land did not receive substantially equal city services as other properties in the city.
WHAT HAPPENS IF LAND RECEIVING AN AGRICULTURAL APPRAISAL CHANGES
TO A NO-AGRICULTURAL USE?
If land receiving an agricultural appraisal changes to a no-agricultural use, the property owner who changes the use will owe a rollback tax. The rollback tax is dues for each of the previous 5 years in which the land got the lower appraisal. The rollback tax is the difference between the taxes paid on the land’s agricultural value and the taxes paid if the land had been taxed on its higher market value. Plus, the owner pays 7% interest for each year from the date that the taxes would have been due. For example, the 5th year of a rollback tax bill may include as much as 35% interest, depending on the date the use changed.
WHAT IF YOUR PROPERTY VALUE RISES?
A Notice of Appraised Value tells you if the appraisal district intends to increase the value of your property. Chief appraisers may send either of two kinds of notices of appraised value.
One is a detailed notice that contains a description of your property, its value, the exemptions, and an estimate of taxes that might be owed. This notice is sent:
If the value of your property is higher than it was in the previous year (the appraisal district’s board can decide that it will send detailed notices only if a property’s value increases by more than $1,000);
- If the value of your property is higher than the value you gave on a rendition; or
- If your property wasn’t on the appraisal district’s records in the previous year.
If these conditions do not apply, the chief appraiser will send you a short notice, without the tax estimate, when your property is reappraised or changes hands, or upon request by you or your agent.
If you disagree with this value, you have until May 31 or 30 days from the date the notice was mailed, whichever is later, to file a protest with the Appraisal Review Board.
The notice of appraised value explains how and when you can file a protest with the ARB if you disagree with the district’s actions, and will include a protest form.
WHAT IS A RENDITION?
A rendition is a form you may use to report the taxable property you own on January 1, to your appraisal district. You may render both real and personal property. The rendition identifies, describes, and gives the location of your taxable property.
Business owners MUST report a rendition of their personal property. Other property owners may submit a rendition if they so choose.
Persons filing renditions who are not the property owner, owner’s employee, or owner’s affiliated entity must have the rendition notarized.
If the total taxable value of your personal property is less than $55 in any one taxing unit, the property is exempt in the taxing unit.
IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO FILE A RENDITION. IF YOU DO SO, YOU ARE IN A BETTER POSITION TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS AS A TAXPAYER:
- Your correct mailing address is established on record so taxing units will send your tax bills to the right address.
Your opinion of your property’s value is on record with the appraisal district. The chief appraiser must send you a notice of appraised value if a higher value is placed on your property than the value you listed on your rendition.
FILE YOUR RENDITION WITH THE APPRAISAL DISTRICT AFTER JANUARY 1 AND NO LATER THAN APRIL 15. You may apply, in writing, for a mandatory extension to May 15. The chief appraiser may extend the deadline another 15 days beyond May 15 if you can show good cause for needing an extension.
If you own tangible personal property that is used to produce income, you MUST report this property on a rendition form every year. Business owners, for instance, must report their inventories, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and machinery on a rendition. State law contains stiff penalties for delinquent or fraudulent renditions. Check with the appraisal district for rendition forms and more information about rendering business personal property.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT THE APPRAISAL DISTRICT OFFICE
The appraisal district staff is willing to answer any questions you may have concerning your notice of appraised value, available exemptions, renditions, property values, and a myriad of other topics.
You may reach your appraisal district office at 830-773-0255 or by coming to the appraisal office located at 2243 N. Veterans Blvd., Eagle Pass, Texas 78852.
Do I qualify for a Homestead Exemption?
To qualify for a Homestead Exemption, you must own and occupy the property on January 1st of any given year. If you’ve purchased a home in the current year, you will be eligible for the following year. Qualifying Homestead Exemption recipients receive $25,000 in exemptions on your property value from your school district.
Are there any exemptions for home owners over 65 years of age?
If you own the home you occupy and are 65 years of age or going to be 65 years old during the year, you are eligible for An Over-65 Exemption the same year. As a qualifying home owner you will receive various additional exemptions and tax ceilings from the taxing authorities.
I am over 65 years old and purchased a new home. Can I transfer my exemptions?
If you are a qualifying Over-65 home owner and wish to transfer your exemptions, you must fill out a new application indicating the purchase date of the new home. The new application must be submited along with a Tax Ceiling Certificate of prior Homestead if the previous residence was located outside of Maverick County. The benefit of transferring the exemption would be the percentage of frozen taxes are transferred to the new home.
I am a surviving spouse age 55 or older of a deceased spouse with an Over 65 exemption. Can I continue to claim the exemption?
The exemption can be claimed by the surviving spouse if the over 65 exemption was claimed at the time of death. As the surviving spouse you must apply for the exemption within that year. A death certificate will be required for processing.
I am disabled, unable to work, and I own my own home. Are there any exemptions I can claim?
If you are disabled and unemployable you are eligible. Submit a letter from the Social Security Administration stating the effective date of your disability. If qualified, you will receive $10,000 in exemptions on your property value for school valuation.
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