Property Tax Code Section 5.09 directs the Comptroller to publish an annual report on the operations of appraisal districts. This year, the report incorporates information previously included in two separate reports, the Annual Property Tax Report and the Appraisal District Operations Report. Combining these reports gives users a single point of reference for appraisal district operations, appraisal practices, market values, tax rates and tax levies.
This report also continues and expands our practice of providing the raw report data in downloadable electronic spreadsheets for the use of interested parties. These spreadsheets include appraised values by class of property; the total taxable value for most taxing units; and the tax levy and tax rate for each county, city, school district and special-purpose district in each appraisal district.
Appraisal districts, also referred to as county, central or consolidated appraisal districts (CADs), are political subdivisions of the state, responsible for appraising property within their boundaries for taxing entities to use in setting their ad valorem tax rates. Taxable value is a property’s appraised value minus all applicable exemptions, deductions and limitations. The tax levy is the total amount of taxes imposed by a taxing unit on taxable property within its boundaries.
The governing bodies of taxing units, such as school boards, commissioners courts, city councils and special district boards of directors, derive the tax rate by dividing the proposed tax levy by the taxable value of property, as provided by the CADs, and expressing it in dollars and cents per $100 of value. The local government’s tax assessor applies this rate to the taxable value in its jurisdiction to compute the amount of tax due on each property.
The Property Tax Code charges the Comptroller with reviewing each CAD’s performance and providing information and technical assistance to CAD boards of directors, appraisal review boards (ARBs), tax professionals and the public. An appraisal review board is an appointed group of CAD residents that hears taxing unit challenges and taxpayer protests.
ARBs can order corrections to property records and approve the appraisal records. An appraisal record shows the property identification number, owners’ names, appraised value, the value of any exemptions and the taxable value of property. Each CAD chief appraiser uses the ARB-approved appraisal records to create an equal and uniform appraisal roll for the taxing entities. A CAD’s appraisal roll lists all properties within its boundaries; a taxing unit’s appraisal roll lists the same data within its own boundaries.