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Property taxes

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:00 pm
by jason812
Is anything actually being done to lower property taxes? I know there has been some lip service but is anything going to happen? I'm pretty sure property taxes were not what the Founding Fathers had planned. How can I be taxed every year on something I bought one time?

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:42 pm
by philip964
Property taxes are kind of a wealth tax. Except that you may be poor and still pay a lot.

But not all land in Texas pays. Agricultural land I believe is exempt. So you may own a 10 million dollar ranch, but I assume pay no property taxes.

That area is considered poor, since there is no taxible value.

So to make up for that, Robin Hood comes into play. My district is rich since it has no Ag land. So I get to pay for some of the poor ( but really rich ) places in other parts of the state.

Since that started, I have noticed when I drive in the country, I have seen an explosion of big new fancy high school football stadiums. I think a while back I wrote about a school district building a 20 million dollar water park.

My current pet complaint is about the small property taxes I pay for odd things. Flood control districts, Hospital districts, Port Authorities, and Community College Districts. These used to be small things. Now with my taxes going up 10 percent a year due to reappraisals, they are becoming significant. I now pay more to my hospital district than I pay out of pocket for my own healthcare. I don’t elect any of these people, but every year they get 10 percent more.

I have a friend who does ok. She’s a single mom and paid 750k for a house a while back. It’s all on line. She pays 100k a year in property taxes. She’s getting near retirement. How can she quit work and live in her home.

The problem of course the 10 percent more every year is not enough, I’ll I hear about is them needing more money. The pensions will swamp them all.

And now thanks to Trump it’s not even deductible.

The government can now theoretically tax more than 100 percent of your income.

When they ever mention taxes mine go up. The only exception was Regan.

Last point, no one likes paying taxes. Everyone wants some one else to pay them.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:30 pm
by rotor
I believe ag taxes are paid at a much lower rate. I remember Michael Dell was trying to get his land in Austin listed as ag property by putting cattle on it. There are many gimmicks used to get lower property taxes. The big companies like Wal-mart and Target fight the assessment every year with big legal teams. Only the poor schnooks ( like most of us ) don't have the ability to fight our taxes. On the other hand we don't have an income tax. What really gets me is that our elected officials brag about keeping the tax rate the same as they raise our property values ( to figures you can't get on the open market ). Death and taxes. We may eliminate death someday but not taxes.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:56 am
by jmra
If I were king I could fix this problem onernight. Government says your property is worth X. You say it is worth Y. Government either changes your property value to Y or buys it from you for Y.
Of course if I were king I would probably want all of your money and not do a darn thing about lowering your taxes.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:13 am
by chasfm11
There is battle in the Texas House and Senate right now over HB2/SB2

Essentially, it says that no taxing entity can raise your real estate taxes more than 2,5 percent over last year WITHOUT A BALLOT ELECTION held on normal election day. There have been abuses, especially by ISDs by having things like "rolling polling" where they have elections at unique times and in unique places. The normally low voter turnout as a result of these often bizzare elections is extremely low and subject to a small minority turning out.

Nearly all of the municipalities and ISDs are pitted against the citizens over this. The cities don't want to have to defend their greater increases against all of their voters, in my opinion. There are some difficulties in fiscal year times versus the November election date. The cities are falsely attacking the bill as a 2.5 percent cap and leaving off the "without an election" part. My own town did exactly that in public and I called them out on it.

But we are having the wrong conversation. The conversation should be about the creation of a budget and raising taxes to meet it. Too many taxing entities are using the sky-rocketing property values and keeping their rates the same or even raising them and collecting a wind-fall in new revenue, deciding how they will spend it. Frisco, in my view, is one of the worst By the way, increased revenue because of growth - new businesses and new homes does NOT count in the 2.5%. It is only over the existing homes and businesses.

One of the worst parts of the current policy is "robin hood" which takes money for higher tax base school districts and gives it to poor ones. It is so filled with holes that a very poor school district just built a water park with the funds that they could get under robin hood. The whole mess is disgusting to me.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:41 pm
by Grumpy1993
chasfm11 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:13 am
One of the worst parts of the current policy is "robin hood" which takes money for higher tax base school districts and gives it to poor ones. It is so filled with holes that a very poor school district just build a water park with the funds that they could get under robin hood. The whole mess is disgusting to me.
:iagree:

To make matters worse, school tax is often the largest line item on residential property tax bills. In some places in Texas, home owners pay more for schools than roads, police, fire, hospitals, parks, and libraries combined.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:47 pm
by howdy
One of the "good" reasons to turn 65. The only property tax I pay is a MUD tax,and school tax with a much higher exemption percentage. I no longer pay hospital district, port of Houston, county taxes, etc. My tax bill was cut more than 50%. We have a farm in Burleson County with an Ag exemption. The taxes are minimal.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:25 pm
by ELB
The number one (of five) legislative priority of the Texas GOP for the current session is Constitutional Carry. The number four legislative priority is reforming the school maintenance and operation property tax.

Given Bonnen's treatment of the number one priority, I am guessing that he will ignore the property tax reform as well.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:43 pm
by jason812
chasfm11 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:13 am
There is battle in the Texas House and Senate right now over HB2/SB2

Essentially, it says that no taxing entity can raise your real estate taxes more than 2,5 percent over last year WITHOUT A BALLOT ELECTION held on normal election day.
That's fine and all but I want them to go down or disappear.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:13 pm
by Bushwhacker
ELB wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:25 pm
The number one (of five) legislative priority of the Texas GOP for the current session is Constitutional Carry. The number four legislative priority is reforming the school maintenance and operation property tax.

Given Bonnen's treatment of the number one priority, I am guessing that he will ignore the property tax reform as well.
What do you expect from a Democrat?

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:15 pm
by Rafe
Just a recent cautionary tale. I worked overseas for a while last year and thought I had all my home mail forwarding to a rental UPS PO box. My neighborhood has those community standalone boxes shared by a couple of dozen houses. USPS does not/will not deliver directly to the home, only to those small roughly 4"x9" boxes.

Sooo... The mail wasn't being forwarded to the UPS box after all, and once the little neighborhood box filled up the USPS carrier stuck in a little note saying that delivery of mail is suspended due to it not being picked up and I had 45 days to get it from the post office...which notice I found when I got home, about a month after the notice was left.

The county tax assessor sent me the usual annual property tax update for 2018. And the USPS returned it as undeliverable. Turns out that there is a standing policy in Harris County (I imagine in other counties, too) that if any single piece of mail comes back like that, they flag you as not living in the house at all and removing your homestead exemption. Fought it every which way I could, but I was up against the property tax deadline. They said my only option to not go into late penalties was to pay the taxes as shown and then submit paperwork filing for a homestead exemption all over again and requesting that my 2018 taxation amount be adjusted to reinstate the exemption...after which, supposedly, the school district will get the notice and both the county and the district would cut me a refund check.

The amount I had to pay over the amount I paid for 2017? Right at $2,000. Expected to pay almost $4,000 and ended up almost $6,000 out of pocket. Ouch. Paid the taxes, filed all the paperwork certified mail. It's April 5, so the county has had the paperwork for just a couple days shy of two months. And here I sit still $2,000 poorer than I'd budgeted to be.

Don't know about everybody else, but with those community mailboxes I see every week how inefficient the USPS has become. My neighbors and I get mail addressed to each other almost weekly. I also live on a "Road" and there's a street with an almost identical name that's a "Drive" but in a zip code about 12 miles from me. That almost matching address is the gas station in front of a Sam's Club. I get mail addressed to them a few times a year, and I'm sure they get some of mine. That the tax assessor could have a hard and fast rule that any one single piece of returned mail equals revoking homestead exemption seems pretty absurd in this day and age when the USPS is losing money hand over fist, raising postage rates, carrying much less mail, and doing a poorer job of it. The tax assessor's office will not use email or a telephone. Surface mail via USPS only...as if it's 1940. But the tax assessor thing is a policy, not a law or regulation. So can't get it changed by legislation. But I started a letter campaign to see if I could get to someone in the county that would listen. :mad5

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:25 pm
by philip964
howdy wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:47 pm
One of the "good" reasons to turn 65. The only property tax I pay is a MUD tax,and school tax with a much higher exemption percentage. I no longer pay hospital district, port of Houston, county taxes, etc. My tax bill was cut more than 50%. We have a farm in Burleson County with an Ag exemption. The taxes are minimal.
I was very disappointed when I turned 65 for a lot of reasons. One was all the property tax relief I didn’t get.

I’m still being charged for all the add ons like hospital district, but my school tax over 65 exemption was like nothing. My rate was frozen, but the district had an election raising the rate just before I turned 65. I figured the over 65 exemption was 10% just like homestead, not even close.

I remember a time before 1985 and the oil bust when the Homestead exemption was 50%, boy those were the days.

Texas Legislators passed a law saying that if they the local districts did nothing the exemption would be reduced by 10% every year till it became just 10%. So naturally the local elected officials did nothing ( which BTW the news rarely covers when elected officials do nothing)

In Houston we have one more thing. TIRZ. It was designed to help disadvantaged areas redevelop. So it has been used to declare the Galleria, Downtown and Memorial City disadvantaged. Any increase in value in these areas the increase in taxes go back to the owners to spend on things they like to have to improve their areas. So less money to the Government from commercial properties, the more they now depend on homeowners to pay for their increasing costs.

Thus we have the situation we have today.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:35 pm
by philip964
Commercial properties have as one of you has written tons of legal help to appeal their taxes. Most of us don’t.

I noticed a while back the Astroworld property sold for 66 million. It was appraised at about 10 million.

That is pretty normal for sale vs appraisal on expensive commercial property.

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:09 pm
by anygunanywhere
TINVOWOOT

Re: Property taxes

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:15 pm
by Bushwhacker
anygunanywhere wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:09 pm
TINVOWOOT
Claire Wolfe is known for saying "America is at that awkward stage..." but at this rate, I'm worried it won't be awkward much longer.