Investing to support
the American way of life is a privilege.
Property taxes are the local
taxes that preserve where we live. They are determined each year based on the value of property
and assessed accordingly, to balance the weight of the tax expense in a fair
manner. Taxes collected are used to maintain city streets, county roads
and bridges. They support our police and fire departments. These taxes
make many of the deeply needed emergency and human services a reality.
A large percentage help to pay for our public schools and, as Aristotle
said, “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have
been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of the
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For more detailed
information about the Texas Property Tax System see the Property Tax Basics publication provided by the Comptroller of the State of Texas.
- Local Government Tax Rate Adoption
Many home and business owners complain about taxes long after
the time for input has passed; when they receive their tax bill. The
time for input on how much local governments should spend is in the summer
and early fall.
The purpose of Truth in Taxation
Laws is to involve taxpayers in the decision making of how public funds
should be spent. These laws provide for taxpayer input into the tax
rate adoption process that ultimately determines how much we pay in local
taxes. The laws define procedures every taxing unit must follow
to levy a tax. Examples of these requirements include publications that
list fund balances and debts, notices of public hearings and formal actions
taxpayers may take to limit a tax increase.
- Property Values and the Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD)
The tax calendar begins with local Appraisal Districts setting property values, This process happens January through May each year. Please visit the website of the Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD) to learn more about appraised values, the formalized protest process and property tax exemption requirements.
In June and July, after the Appraisal Review Board has heard the majority of owner protests, the appraisal roll is finalized
and the chief appraiser turns the roll over
to each taxing unit. The appraisal roll contains all changes in value including any new properties discovered. Value is determined
from market data (for homesteads) and cost or income data (for business
TCAD is responsible for...
... creating and maintaining ownership records
... value appeals and protests
... property characteristics such as square footage and legal description
Please visit or contact the Travis Central Appraisal District directly if you have questions about these areas of interest.
The Travis County Tax Office assesses property taxes due and mails out tax statements each year using TCAD's tax roll information. However, our office are not authorized to make any changes to value, ownership, descriptions or exemptions. If you have questions about any of these specific areas, contact TCAD directly.
Each year, local taxing unit officials, such as the City Council and
the County Commissioners' Court, examine the needs of operating budgets
and debt payment in relation to the total taxable value of properties
located in the taxing unit's jurisdiction. Taxing unit officials must
adhere to specific procedures established in Truth and Taxation Laws when
they decide tax rates.
The process used is dependent on benchmark rates
known as the effective tax rate and the rollback rate.
The effective tax rate is the rate that would
provide the taxing unit with approximately the same amount of revenue
it had the year before on properties taxed in both years. For example,
if property values go up, the effective tax rate goes down. Comparing
the effective rate to the taxing unit's proposed tax rate is an
indicator of whether there will be a tax increase.
The rollback rate is the rate that would provide the taxing unit approximately
the same amount of revenue it spent in the previous year for day-to-day
operations, plus an extra 8% cushion, and sufficient funds to pay its debts
in the coming year. When a unit adopts a tax rate that is higher than
the rollback rate, voters in the unit can circulate a petition calling
for an election to roll back - or limit - the size of the tax
For many taxing units located in Travis County, the effective tax rate
and rollback rate are published in the Austin American-Statesman during
the month of August each year. The ad usually lists fund balances, debts,
effective and roll back rates for local taxing units. Tax rates are also
announced on the main Travis County website as they are determined.
- Tax Assessment and Collection
Once property values are finalized and all local taxing entities have adopted their current year rates, the Tax Assessor-Collector's office begins the process of calculating the taxes due and sending out tax statements to property owners following requirements set out by the Texas Tax Code. Most people receive their tax statements by mail in October or November each year. Because the bills can only be sent out once property values and tax rates have been finalized, when you receive your bill, it is too late to get involved to effect change in the total amount due. We encourage citizens to become informed and involved in Truth In Taxation activities that are written into the Texas Tax Code as described above.
If you haven't seen a bill you are expecting, please visit the Research and Pay Taxes page on this website or call us at (512) 854-9473. Be aware that owners are responsible for making timely payment of taxes due on or before the required deadline, regardless of whether the statement issued has been received. Our office is happy to supply copies of tax statements, receipts for prior years paid and discuss property tax payment plans with anyone who may need those services. Remember that this is your office. We are here to help you.
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A tax certificate is a document showing the current
status of taxes on a given property. If delinquent, the certificate reflects penalties and
interest that are due according to tax records. Tax certificates are required for a variety of reasons including obtaining construction or demolition permits.
Tax certificates cost $10.00 each.
(Pre-payment is required if requesting three or more.)
To order a tax certificate, call (512) 854-9473 during regular business hours. You can also submit your order by printing the Tax Certificate Request Form (Español) and faxing, mailing or hand-delivering it to our main office at 5501 Airport Blvd.
Once a request is received, tax certificates take three (3) business days
to research and prepare. Our office will contact you by phone when your order is ready. Completed certificates can be picked up in-person or can be mailed out. Mailed certificates will take 5-7 days to arrive.
We cannot expedite tax certificate orders and they are prepared in the order in which requests are received. Therefore, please be sure to send in your order at least 3 business days before you need the certificate.
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