Travis Central Appraisal District
Legislation would bar appraisal district lawsuits against property owners
Appeals court decision draws widespread condemnation
Good news: No big jump In 2023 property values
Are Austin’s Property Taxes Fair and Equitable?
Investigative Report by Greg M. Schwartz
It's property tax protest season in Austin, where more than 70,000 property owners have filed protests with the Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD) in an effort to lower their property valuations. The outcome of the protests will directly impact the amount of property taxes due. Residential property owners comprise the vast majority of the formal protests.
The flip side to the equation reveals increasing controversy over whether commercial properties are being undervalued and unfairly shifting too much of the property tax burden onto homeowners.
The folks at ChangeAustin.org, a group of local activists and businesses, cite a 2006 study from the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts (TAAD) that indicated commercial properties in Texas are undervalued by a whopping 40 percent.
ChangeAustin.org's Brian Rodgers, who has been involved with the local real estate business since 1983, last year called for an investigation from the Austin City Council and Travis County Commissioners Court to challenge the appraised values. But after a year of activism on the matter, he's come to a different conclusion.
“Obtaining accurate appraisals is a strictly local problem between the appraisal district, the appraisal board, and the taxing jurisdictions they serve. No amount of complaining to the state comptroller or pushing for an investigation will yield any result other than what we already know: the system is broken and any solutions must be found at the local level. The state offers no help. We are on our own,” Rodgers says.