UNDERSTANDING YOUR PROPERTY TAXES
Three factors are used to calculate the property taxes you pay: value, exemptions and rate. Appraising the value and granting exemptions is the responsibility of the Tarrant Appraisal District. Tax rates, the primary instrument of taxation, are adopted each year by the local taxing units in which you live.
Almost all property owners in Tarrant County will pay taxes to at least five local taxing units: the county, the county college district (Tarrant County College), the county hospital district (John Peter Smith Health Network), a city and a school district. Some residents will also pay taxes to the Tarrant Water District and/or the Emergency Services District that provides emergency service to residents in unincorporated areas of the county. With the exception of the cities of Grapevine and Colleyville and the Grapevine/Colleyville Independent School District, property taxes for all taxing units wholly within Tarrant County are collected by the county Tax Assessor-Collector through contract.
The Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) is governed by a board of five voting members appointed by the taxing units in the county. The Tax Assessor-Collector sits on the board as an ex officio (non-voting) member. The chief executive officer of the appraisal district in charge of day-to-day operations is the Chief Appraiser. Texas law requires that all property appraisals be fair and uniform and that a roll of all properties with names, addresses, exemptions and values be provided to the taxing units by July 25 of each year.
The governing bodies of the local taxing units (school boards, city councils, etc.) publish their Truth In Taxation information every August. This includes the effective and rollback tax rates. The effective rate is the rate required to produce the same revenue from the same properties taxed in both the current and previous years. It does not include new properties or new construction. The rollback rate is the rate that would result in an increase sufficient to trigger a rollback election, currently eight percent.
By the end of the fiscal year, the local taxing units must adopt their operating budgets for the coming year and a tax rate that is projected to produce enough revenue to fund the budget. For the vast majority of taxing units, the fiscal year ends September 30, although some entities in the state have a fiscal year that ends June 30.
The county Tax Assessor-Collector takes the value data from TAD, applies the tax rates adopted by the taxing units and sends out tax statements in October of each year. Although taxpayers have until January 31 of the following calendar year to pay their property taxes without incurring penalty and interest, taxes are due upon receipt of the tax statement.
The property tax system in Texas is designed to ensure that elected officials who are accountable to the people determine how much taxes you pay. Each year the various school boards, city councils, commissioners’ courts and other governing bodies adopt tax rates that will increase revenue, decrease revenue or keep revenue the same as the previous year. The property values and projected revenue level are known before the tax rate is adopted. Therefore, the tax rates adopted by local elected officials determine the amount of taxes that appear on your tax statement.
Tax payers concerned about the amount of taxes they pay are urged to contact their local elected officials.
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Tarrant County has the highest number of property tax accounts in the State of Texas. In keeping with our Mission Statement, we strive for excellence in all areas of property tax collections.
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