Property appraisals increase 24% across Hays County
Just as the federal income tax bill comes due, home and property owners can also expect to see an appraisal notice in the mailbox this week.
Hays County Chief Appraiser Laura Raven said her office, the Hays Central Appraisal District, has officially scheduled the mailing of 121,500 appraisal notices for April 18.
She said that property owners after reviewing those notices have the right to appeal actions concerning those appraisals.
“There is a 30-day window to file an appeal. But by the middle of July, our deadline to certify will require that the county has a 95% of value locked in,” she said, explaining how the window to appeal works.
The process is not complicated but owners can be better prepared by taking a few steps early in the process should they want to challenge their appraised value.
The deadline to file an appeal is May 18, Raven said, emphasizing that an appeal may be filed online at www.hayscad. com, or by emailing the appeal to protest@hayscad. com or by mailing it to Hays CAD 21001 N. IH 35, Kyle, Texas 78640. For those wanting to take it by in person, there is a drop box at the district office for the public’s convenience.
“We want to make it as easy for people as possible,” she said. Those wishing to file online will need to wait for the portal to open after April 18 to coincide with the mailing of notices.
There are other avenues to reducing one’s bill, Raven said.
Applying for a homestead exemption, for example, or if one is over 65, there is an additional exemption to apply for–the senior exemption which is impacted by a cap on the school tax. There is no cost to file for these exemptions.
This information is “definitely on the website,” Raven said, but her office routinely sends out information on how to file a protest and how to file for exemptions with the upcoming mailing.
When the notice goes out, it includes the rights of the property owner, she said.
“People don’t just get a number,” Raven said.
With the notice, her office has sent out homestead exemption applications to assist and encourage those who are entitled to seek whatever relief is available right from the start. All homestead applications should be accompanied by a copy of the applicant’s drivers license or other information as required by the Texas Property Tax Code.
Each taxing jurisdiction has a part in determining the tax rate, and similarly, how it is applied to individual value. Rates are an important part of the tax bill.
“We’re trying to encourage folks to be a part of the rate discussion,” she said. “Our customers are the taxing units. The city itself is a taxing unit, each school district, each emergency services … We send them a list of properties,” she said. “We can impact that rate setting process as well.”
According to Raven, who has worked in the area since 1994 but has been in her current position since 2018, the overall market value of Hays County’s 2023 preliminary appraisal roll rose to $69.89 billion, up 24% from $56.35 billion in 2022–actually less of an increase than for 2022.
This year commercial and industrial real property increased in value 31%, up from $4.39 billion in 2022 to $5.73 billion this year, and residential multi-family property grew to $4.11 billion, an increase of 28% from last year’s value of $3.22 billion.
“These numbers are broad,” she said, because of the fact that property owners have the right to appeal,” she said. “These values can and will change through the appeals process.
One major factor for a change in the value is that Hays County added in excess of 5,200 new homes and 26 new commercial buildings to the appraisal roll for 2023, Raven said. In addition, total new improvements added more than $2.34 billion in taxable value.
With the appraisal announcement were numbers comparing 2022 and 2023, with respect to the residential average market and average taxable values.
“Last year we had a 47% increase in the county,” she said. There were 33,700-plus appeals of the notices in response to that increase.
With the growth taking place in Hays County she said she did not think this year’s increase would come as too much of a shock to property owners, as the total for this year is about half the amount of increase than was seen last year.
For the city of San Marcos the 2023 Residential Market Value is $393,932 and the 2023 Residential Taxable Value is $363,937. For Hays County, the 2023 Residential Market Value is $511,657 and the 2023 Residential Taxable Value is $491,739.
Raven said that property tax revenues collected by local taxing units supply essential services such as schools, emergency services, firefighting, police, libraries and much more. Information on the tax rate setting process for each taxing unit will be available starting Aug. 7 at hays.countytaxrates. com. Visit www.hayscad. com to find more information about appraisals, appeals and exemptions.
When asked if she was expecting a healthy response of appeals this year, she said, “Yes, we are expecting a lot,” and there is a “very small window of time to handle it.
“Everyone who does appeal has an opportunity to be heard.”
“Let’s say it’s you, You get your notice and you think you feel the value is not accurate,” she said. Then the owner may file the paperwork to start the appeal.
“Ideally, you send in evidence that supports it,” Raven said.
For example, evidence may include that the property requires a new roof or air conditioning– these types of issues can make a value be subject to a downward adjustment.
“Maybe we are able to settle it,” or not, she said. But if there is no evidence presented initially, the property owner still has the chance to take their case before the review board which is comprised of a panel of individual residents, Raven said.
The Appraisal Review Board is composed of members who are appointed by the local administrative judge under Subchapter D, Chapter 74, Government Code, in Hays County. Members may serve two-year terms for up to six years.
So that board listens to the property owner give evidence, she said.
The board then makes a determination.
“It is a very fast-paced process,” she said. “We are expecting at least that many,” as came in last year.
“We will handle it,” she said, including bringing in temporary help if necessary.
She said that the only time her staff missed their July deadline was during the COVID-19 pandemic where one exposure in the office shut down the process.
The state system allows for these kinds of emergencies and government bodies are able to get a 30-day extension.
“We don’t want that [missing deadline] she said, adding that it is important to finish on time, as it affects the jurisdictions as well as taxpayers.
“If we don’t make it, others cannot do their work,” she said.