The Williamson Central Appraisal District presents…
An introduction to the appraisal district functions and the district’s role within the Texas property tax system.
The Williamson Central Appraisal District is required to maintain the records and appraise approximately 180,000 properties within the County that are dispersed among 15 different school districts and 21 distinct communities or towns. The various school districts, cities, and other political subdivisions that exist within the boundaries of the County constitute the taxing entities that request appraised values from the appraisal district each year so they may assess the taxes necessary to maintain county infrastructure. In Williamson County, the appraisal district and the taxing entities are distinctly separate operations that function independently as required by law. The appraisal district is responsible for assigning the market value to properties in the county, and the taxing entities use the appraised value to adopt tax rates, calculate and issue bills, and collect the taxes.
The Texas Property Tax Code requires appraisal districts to appraise property at market value. Market value is defined by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice as: the price at which a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for property that has been marketed for a reasonable period of time, and both parties are acting in what they consider each of their own best interests.
The State Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division audits appraisal districts each year to determine whether they are appraising property by parameters required by the State.
Williamson Central Appraisal District has successfully valued properties with the changing market conditions that have taken place over the years, and has consistently complied with the levels of appraisal as required by State law. Results of the yearly studies may be viewed on the Texas State Comptroller’s website: www.window.state.tx.us
Also, Williamson Central Appraisal District must adhere to specific dates and time requirements defined by law within each yearly appraisal cycle.
By law, appraisal districts are required to appraise property as of January 1st each year. However, other key dates set by the Tax Code prevent the yearly appraisal cycle that is followed to run from January to December. They are: May 15th, when appraisal records are submitted to the Appraisal Review Board, July 20th ,when records are approved by the Appraisal Review Board, and July 25th, the deadline to certify the values to the taxing entities. These dates establish the appraisal district’s work year from August to August, and create the three phases that appraisal districts observe: Property Inspection, Analysis & Valuation, and Protest. After July 25th, the remaining important dates set by law are followed by the taxing entities and define their work year and obligations. In August, as the entities begin their phases of tax assessment, sending bills, and collections of taxes, the appraisal districts begin a new calendar year and the process of reappraising property for the next year. Additional presentations on our website provide thorough explanations of what occurs during the phases of the District’s year. The following is a brief overview.
Property Inspection typically takes place from August to February, and is the time the appraisers are visiting properties to measure new structures, re-measure existing structures, take photographs, collect pertinent information on the characteristics of the properties, and verify or correct any data about properties in the appraisal district’s records.
Analysis and Valuation occurs from February to April. Appraisers use this time to review data collected during the Inspection Phase and collect and analyze sales information from the prior year to interpret market trends. All information is then used in the Mass Appraisal process to establish values as of the State required January 1st appraisal date. Notices of value are usually mailed to property owners in April, which then brings about the third and final phase.
The Protest phase begins once property owners receive notices of value, and continues through July. The Texas Property Tax Code gives property owners the right to protest their valuation within a specified time period following receipt of a valuation notice. During this phase, property owners who have filed a timely notice of protest have the opportunity to visit informally with a district appraiser to discuss how the value was determined. Formal hearings presented before the Appraisal Review Board also take place during this phase.
We appreciate your interest in the functions of the Williamson Central Appraisal District and how the required objectives and operations relate to the Texas property tax system. We invite you to view other presentations on our website that provide further explanations of the phases of the appraisal cycle.