First Time Property Owners
Laws and practices regarding property taxes vary from state to state. Understanding how the Texas property tax system works sooner than later can save you money and time.
In Texas, real property, land and improvements to the land, such as a building or a paved parking lot are subject to ad valorem property taxes. “Ad valorem” means according to value. The appraised value of the property (land and improvements) in each county is determined by appraisal districts such as Williamson Central Appraisal District (WCAD). Appraisal districts use mass appraisal techniques which apply to large numbers of similar properties rather than individual property appraisals as might be employed by a fee appraiser performing an appraisal for a mortgage loan application.
In Texas, property is required to be valued at 100% of market value. Taxing jurisdictions must use the appraised value as determined by the local appraisal district.
Detailed information about WCAD’s appraisal methodologies can be found on the district’s website at www.wcad.org.
Appraisal districts are responsible for determining and administering exemptions that may be applied to a property, such as those for a property owner’s primary residence: (homestead exemption, over-65, disabled persons, veterans, active military), and religious and charitable organizations. The district is responsible for updating and maintaining accurate property records.
Taxpayers have specific rights and remedies available to them. For example, you have the right to receive exemptions or other tax relief for which you qualify and apply timely and you have the right to voice your opinions at open public meetings about proposed tax rates and to ask questions of the governing body responsible for setting tax rates.
Taxpayers are guaranteed certain remedies under the property tax system. If you believe your property value is too high, or if denied an exemption, you may file a protest during the specified timeframe, as indicated on property owners’ annual appraisal notices. Several options exist for protesting property values. You may protest online, by mail, or in person. If you are unable to reach a resolution online or at a meeting with an appraiser, you will be scheduled for a hearing with the Appraisal Review Board. If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome, you can pursue other legal options.
Exemptions are not automatic. It is your responsibility to file an application before the deadline. Please visit our online Homestead Exemption page for more information and quicker homestead exemption(s) filing and expedited processing time.
Applications for exemptions, agricultural appraisals and other forms of tax relief must be filed before the deadlines set by law.
If you are a business owner, you are required to report, or render, taxable business personal property to the appraisal district, unless the combined total is less than $500. To file your rendition online, or for more information, please visit our Rendition Information page.
Property owners should advise WCAD if their property is not listed correctly on local tax records and provide the correct name, current address and property description. This is especially important to remember in the event of death, divorce and other events that may trigger change in ownership. Updated ownership information may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and updated mailing address information to email@example.com.
A full explanation of these rights, remedies and responsibilities is available on the Texas State Comptroller’s website.
Appraisal districts only determine your appraisal, not your tax amount. Tax rates are set by local government entities. Each has an assessor-collector or tax office to handle assessment and collections. Once the chief appraiser certifies the appraisal roll to the taxing jurisdictions (county, city, school district, etc.), these local government entities then set the tax rate upon which the amount of property tax you owe is calculated. You may also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.
Most taxing jurisdictions are required to publish a notice in a local newspaper regarding proposed tax rates and must allow public discussion prior to adopting tax rates. For more information about Williamson County tax assessments and payments, visit the Tax Assessor Collector’s website.
With more than 155,000 parcels of land and over 65 taxing jurisdictions in Williamson County has been recognized for its rapid growth in the past decade and WCAD has been grouped with other metropolitan appraisal districts in the state. The district’s administrative staff is available to meet with civic, neighborhood and professional groups to explain our state-mandated duties and to help the public understand the property tax process and the options available to reduce their property tax burden.
For information and assistance from WCAD: 512.930.3787
625 FM 1460
Georgetown TX 78626-8050
January 1 – Date that determines taxable and homestead exemption status.
- Exception-Over-65 or disability homestead exemption applications may be filed the year the applicant becomes 65 or meets the Social Security requirements for total disability.
April 15 – Last day for business property owners to file renditions or request an extension to May 15.
April 30 – Optional early deadline for filing protests to the Appraisal Review Board for residence homesteads; however, protests may be filed without penalty until May 31, or within 30 days of the date a notice of appraised value is mailed to the property owner.
- Last day to apply for many types of exemptions.
- Last day to apply for agricultural or wildlife productivity appraisal.
May 31 – Deadline for filing protests to the Appraisal Review Board (or by the 30th day after a notice of appraised value is mailed to the property owner, whichever is later).
October – Tax bills are usually mailed during this month.
January 31 of following year– Last day to pay property taxes without penalty and interest.
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