Jan. 1 of each year is generally the qualification date for property tax exemptions in the State of Texas. Homestead, Over 65, Disabled Person, Disabled Veteran and Agricultural Appraisal are some of the property tax reduction techniques that have qualification dates. If a circumstance has occurred that changes your property ownership or exemption status as of this coming January, please call the Appraisal District Office after January 1st so we can make sure you have all of the exemptions to which you are entitled. Many of the application deadlines are in April of each year. I encourage you to act early so that a deadline does not go by without an application being filed.
One special valuation method is the agricultural appraisal of rural land which includes land used under qualifying wildlife management. Most people think that there is just one agricultural value when in fact there are several depending upon the use of the land. For example, there is native pasture, improved pasture, dry crop and special dry crop and orchard. Each of these can then be enhanced with irrigation. The district is continually field checking the use of agricultural land but we rely heavily on what is reported in your application. We check reported use for accuracy and reasonableness of what is on the ground. If you have changed the use of land from say dry crop to improved pasture or native pasture your price per acre would decrease. So it would be in your best interest to let the appraisal district know when a field is not being used as it once was in order to be paying the least amount of tax possible
Renditions for real and personal property should also be filed with the appraisal district between January 1st and April 15th. If you feel that real property you own has changed in value you should file a rendition to report the value.
Many new business owners do not realize that there is a property tax on business personal property. Business personal property consists of inventory, furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, supplies and vehicles used for the production of income in any capacity.
Business personal property renditions will be mailed to all known businesses in Erath County shortly after the first of the year. They are due back to the appraisal district by April 15th. Texas property tax law provides that financial penalties be assessed to those businesses that do not render on time or at all. These penalties are added on to your tax bill at the end of the year. The value rendered for business personal property should be as of January 1st. If the property is owned by the business on January 1st, it is taxable for the entire year. The value you render for business personal property may not be the same value that your tax is based on. Appraisal districts across the state generally use one of two methods of value, replacement cost new less depreciation or actual cost less depreciation, which is the method we employ. The Texas Comptroller’s Office when applying ratio studies on our data to determine the level of school funding by the state, also uses these methods. We utilize this type of methodology in an effort to equalize the amount of tax paid by one business compared to another.
If you have any questions regarding business personal property taxation, renditions, or exemptions you can contact the Comptrollers Office of the State of Texas, Property Tax Assistance Division or Erath County Appraisal District office for assistance.
Jerry Lee is the chief appraiser of the Erath County Appraisal District.