Expect higher property values unless state lawmakers act
Together, we are walking through unchartered territory.
It would be an understatement to say that this pandemic has caused many unknowns. Our hearts are with those who have been afected by COVID-19. We recognize many in our community have faced both health and economic impacts. We extend our deepest appreciation to those on the frontlines and the sacrifices made daily to keep our community safe.
On behalf of the Hood Central Appraisal District, we thank you. We are dedicated to our great county and believe wholeheartedly that we are better together.
Hood Central Appraisal District would like to address special concerns regarding the current economic situation and the property tax law for the 2020 property tax year.
According to the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) 2019 Property Value Study, the values in Hood County were at the very low end of the 95% to 105% of market value range that the state requires of appraisal districts to get maximum state funding for school districts.
The Texas Property Tax Code requires all property tax appraisals to be as of Jan. 1. The chief appraiser has no discretion regarding this directive.
As of this writing, with the exception of applicable exemptions, many 2020 property taxable values will increase in Hood County.
The following is an attempt to explain the property tax situation that exists at this time.
We know and understand that this is a very complex issue. The elected officials in Austin have an extremely tough job and are having to make impossible decisions during an unprecedented time. With that said, please do not interpret the following as a critique of their leadership.
A significant number of agencies and state officials have sent letters to the governor requesting action by his office to facilitate suspension of this year’s Jan. 1 property appraisals. These requests were due to the turn of events that have devastated our economy post January 2020.
Suspension of property reappraisals for 2020 would keep property owners’ values fixed at the 2019 amount with the exception of newly constructed property.
REAL ESTATE MARKET STRONG
As of Jan. 1, the real estate market was still very strong throughout this state including Hood County, and sale prices/values were continuing to increase.
Increasing property values for ad valorem tax purposes at this time could put additional strain on those already suffering financially as well as cause record protest volumes during a time when we are required to socially distance ourselves and close our appraisal district offices to the public.
Appraisal districts cannot unilaterally choose to forego reappraisal activities without legislative action as our property values are tested by the Comptroller’s Property Value Study (PVS).
In order for school districts to receive their full share of state funding, appraisal districts’ local property valuations are required to meet the comptroller’s property value study (PVS) valuation standards as of Jan. 1.
Without legislative action to facilitate suspension of these statutory requirements your appraisal district will be required to reappraise your property at a value reflecting the market as of Jan. 1, 2020.
COMPLEX FUNDING METHOD
Texas has a very complex school funding mechanism. It only became more complicated with the recent passage of House Bill 3 (HB3) this past legislative session.
School administrators are trying to navigate the challenges of closing their doors, remotely educating children, providing meals for children and developing a budget amidst the new funding intricacies of recent legislation.
If the state were to take the action to suspend or modify appraisal districts’ 2020 property reappraisal requirements, the state’s share of school funding would likely increase well past what they originally projected when HB3 was passed.
At this time, we do not have any current sales data to indicate a downturn in property values. Although the sales have slowed down since the pandemic began, the prices for which properties are selling are not indicating a dip in the market.
We will be doing everything possible to make Hood County property owners’ right to protest as accessible as possible to lessen the impact of our property appraisals.
We are delaying sending our 2020 Appraisal Notices until May 1 to give the state legislature additional time to act.
HOW TO PROTEST
At this time, when value notices arrive we are asking that if you feel that you need to protest your property value that you do so by filling out a formal protest and either mail it to the appraisal district office, P.O. Box 819 Granbury, TX 76048, or email it to protest@hoodcad. net.
You will need to include a phone number where we can call you when time and resources allow.
We are hopeful to be allowed to hold in-person protest hearings with all necessary precautions.
However, if no mandates are changed by the state and we are required to handle protests by phone and email communications only, expect the process to be very slow and extend well into the summer.
The appraisal district office will remain closed to the public until further notice.