Tag Archives: TCAD

Yikes! The New Property Tax Appraisals Are Out!

By Bill Oakey – April 15, 2022

The City of Austin’s relentless march to obliterate all long term residents and replace us with the ultra-rich took another giant leap this morning. The Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD) has posted the new property tax appraisals on their website. If you just placed an order for a new Tesla, and you registered for the VIP presale tickets for the Zilker Botanical Gardens Ion Art Night at $400 per couple, plus fees, plus taxes, then you can skip this blog piece. But if you have lived in Austin most of your life, and you are responsible for helping to create our high quality of life, then keep reading. You still matter to tens of thousands of your neighbors and friends. You still have a right to belong in the city that you helped build, and you supported with your taxes.

To look up your new tax appraisal, go to this link, and enter you name or your property address. Scroll down to the bottom, and click on “Values.” The line labeled “Market” is your total appraisal. The “Net Appraisal” is the adjusted amount, after any homestead exemptions and the 10% annual appraisal cap. Keep in mind that if your total appraisal is reduced by the annual cap, then that higher amount will stay in your account, and you’ll get 10% increases every year until you reach the total.

Check out the helpful, but frightening news story from KXAN below. Investors around the world are salivating over the easy money they can make by gouging Austin renters, and toppling all of our neighborhoods. But we have a tough spirit, and we vote in large numbers. Enjoy this nice spring day, while you still can!

Travis Co. Appraisal District says its market values have been ‘too low.’ What does that mean for your notice?

Updated:

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD) said appraisal notices for the year are on their way to homeowners. Spoiler alert: Values are up. Way up.

TCAD said according to this year’s values, the 2022 median market value for a residential property in Travis County is $632,208.

KXAN has previously reported

According to TCAD, the median home value was $413,403 in 2021 and $354,622 in 2020.

“In some areas, we’re looking at increases in market value of almost 40 to 50%. In some places, it may even be higher,” said Marya Crigler, Travis Central Appraisal District chief appraiser.

It’s what worries Dave W. Lofton III, who’s seen his value increase, especially over the last few years.

“My house, it hasn’t changed, it’s been the same,” he said. “They done built all these houses all around me, okay, they value my house on these houses that’s around me.”

In a press release on Thursday, the agency also said its market values “in recent years have been too low, particularly in areas of western Travis County.” That’s according to a review by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which is done every two years, said TCAD.

The comptroller’s office told KXAN its study takes a look at a sample of property values within school districts. It sends that data back to the Texas Education Agency to help determine school funding.

While it said the study doesn’t have a direct impact on TCAD’s home market values, TCAD said it shows it “failed” to value properties at 100% of the market rate, as required by law, according to TCAD spokesperson Cynthia Martinez.

Martinez said it’s part of the reason why property owners’ increases might be higher than they expected, because TCAD has been too low the last couple years.

“The test that we had the last two years indicated that we were probably not being as aggressive in increasing the values as we should have been,” Crigler said.

She said the discrepancy comes from the data they have access to.

“We do have some limitations in the information that is available to the appraisal district. The state will have some different resources that will lead — lend their analysis to be slightly different than ours,” Crigler said.

But she said the biggest driving factor in increased market values is supply and demand. 

“There’s a lot of demand for housing, but we have had a shortage of supply of housing,” she said.

Crigler also posted a message to homeowners, stating:

“These increases may seem intimidating. But it is important for property owners to understand that the appraisal district does not set local budgets or tax rates. Your city, county, and school district are among the taxing entities that determine how much money needs to be brought in every year by property taxes. Your taxable value helps determine what portion of that total you have to pay compared to your neighbors.”

But TCAD’s market values are what those taxing entities use in setting those rates, and the majority of folks will see property taxes go up, as we’ve seen in previous years.

Even with a homestead exemption, which caps his property tax increase at 10%, Lofton is worried he’ll be taxed out of his neighborhood of more than 40 years.

To see the full KXAN News story, click here.

Final Note: If you really want to go to the Zilker Gardens Ion Art Night, you can register here, non-VIP, for $80 per couple, plus fees, plus taxes. But read the fine print. If the event is canceled for any reason beyond their control, there are NO REFUNDS! Your money will be kept as a donation to support “their mission.”

You can thank our friendly Parks and Recreation Dept. for these high priced, glitzy events and outlandish policies. What about those wonderful free spring Zilker Garden Festivals that we enjoyed for so many years? The ones where local organizations were in charge, and plants were sold to benefit non-profit groups? Those days at Zilker Gardens are gone forever, unless we can elect City Council members who care about all of our communities, and the diverse income groups who live in those communities.

Get Ready For Something Nasty In Your Mailbox – Tax Appraisal Notices Are Coming!

By Bill Oakey – March 22, 2021

Birds are chirping. Spring is in the air. People are out frolicking, with hardly a care. High above that facade sits an unmerciful God. Reach into your mailbox…but only if you dare!

I offer both good news and bad news. You might qualify for a temporary property tax exemption if you sustained certain levels of damage during the February storm. The TCAD website lists all the details. The bad news is that the Chairman of the Appraisal Review Board has abruptly resigned, because of serious animosity towards him from other board members. That could throw a huge kink into this year’s rollicking tax protest season, which seems to set new records in numbers every single year. The appraisal review process has strained under heavy workloads in the recent past, leading to chaos and legal challenges.

Why Do Austin’s Tax Appraisals Keep Skyrocketing?

The simple answer is that the official mission of our once affordable city has morphed into something rather frightening for ordinary, hard-working, longtime residents. If you look in the City Budget, you will find an organization chart. The little box at the very top is labeled “Citizens of Austin.” The official wording in that box remains the same, as it has since Austin’s founding in 1839. But, unofficially, a single new word has been added.

You may recall a scene from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The first time the animals walked by the big sign on the barn, it said, “All Animals Are Equal.” But the next time they saw it, the message had been altered – “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” In the case of our City’s Organization Chart, just one single word has been added to describe the folks in the very top box – “Future Citizens of Austin.”

The powerful special interests who control the City have a mission for you and your neighbors as well – Make way for those wealthy newcomers, and the developers who want to bulldoze your house and turn it into multiple luxury units. For another analogy, think of the science fiction movie classic, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Seed pods were placed outside people’s bedroom windows. Once you fell asleep, the seed pod would burst open to reveal a blank, alien body that had arrived to take the place of yours. The assembled army of new, sinister creatures then tried to brainwash the rest of the town into falling asleep and joining their herd.

That same scenario is playing out here in Austin. This time it’s called “Invasion of the Property Snatchers.” No family is safe, not even from its own members. If your wife comes to the breakfast table looking a bit odd, and speaks in a dull, lifeless tone, get ready to run. Especially, if she says something like, “Oh darling, we were so wrong! High density is wonderful for our neighborhood. It’s too late to stop it anyway. Let them have our lot. We should sell it, or maybe just give it to them…” Jump up from the table and run! As fast and as far as you can. But whatever you do, don’t fall asleep!

How to Open Your Tax Appraisal Notice

By Bill Oakey – Originally published March 26, 2014

Within just a matter of days, something will happen all over Austin that must be approached with utmost caution.  That thump and rustling sound that you hear outside your front door could evoke a cold sweat and the starkest feeling of sheer dread and fear.  “Could it be out there today?” you might wonder.  “Was that really the mailman, or just a bird trying to make another nest?”  “Should I actually go out there and look?”  “Do I have to?”

All of those are perfectly legitimate questions.  But sooner or later, you are going to have to open that door.  You are going to have to stick your hand in the mailbox, and find out if this is the day that you were hoping  would never come.  But I have a few suggestions that might help you get through the process.  There may be a way to do it and remain in one piece.

1. With any luck, the “bad envelope” will be buried inside a bundle of junk mail.  Grab the bundle and squeeze it tightly, so that you can take everything inside without looking at the envelopes.

2. Once your are safely inside the house, it’s OK to look through the envelopes.  But make sure you are sitting down first.

3. If you even think you see an envelope from the Travis Central Appraisal District, don’t open it right away and don’t panic!  Take a few deep breaths and look at the envelope again.  Make absolutely sure that you saw what you think you saw.  Our brains can play tricks on us sometimes.

4. If you are positively certain that what you are holding really is your tax appraisal notice, then you will have to make another decision.  When and how are you going to open it?

5. My advice is definitely not to do it alone!  If your significant other is not home yet, wait until you can share the memorable experience together.

6. If you don’t have a significant other, or if he/she is out with another significant other, just call a good friend.

7. Depending on your situation, you might want to pour a glass of wine or have some medication handy if needed.  I’ve always heard that aspirin is good for a stroke.

8. If the battery is low on your phone, plug it in.  You might need to call 911.

9. When you and at least one other supportive person are sure you are prepared, go ahead and get ready to open the envelope.  Do not attempt it with a sharp object like a knife or a letter opener.

10. Open your tax appraisal notice.

Sorry, I can’t help you any further.  We will all miss you when you leave.  Take those fond memories of Austin with you, and come back and see us sometime!

Musical Accompaniment for This Blog Piece

1. “Something’s Coming” – West Side Story, Original Broadway Cast
2. “Getting Ready for the Heartbreak” – Chuck Jackson
3. “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
4. “Taxman” – The Beatles
5. “Shutters and Boards” – Jerry Wallace
6. “In the Middle of the House” – Vaughn Monroe
7. “Make Way for a Better Man” – Willie Nelson
8. “Home of the Blues” – Johnny Cash
9. “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” – Ray Charles
10. “Little Boxes” – Pete Seeger