As the adage goes: the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It cannot be more true than this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging our country, that time of the year has come... when you receive the dreaded envelope from the county's tax office with an ever-increasing property tax bill. Did you know that from 2017 to 2020, the average property tax bill increased by 10% across the county's cities?
This increase is primarily attributed to Austin's hot real estate market, which is not showing signs of slowing down. This only means one thing - the 2021 appraisals will be sky high, and it's unlikely that we'll get another 3%-5% discount from WCAD as we did in 2020. Fortunately, you have a remedy.
Protest Results 2017 - 2020
Take a look at this map of protest results from 2017 to 2020, which shows cumulative property tax savings by county, zipcode, neighborhood, section, and individual savings by property. You can change the presented year by tapping the icon on the map. Use the address search bar on the map to find out who is saving in your neighborhood!
In 2020, all residential properties got a discount, which eliminated much of the potential savings from protests; hence fewer properties show any tax savings.
Another Reason to Protest
Unfortunately, it's impossible to avoid paying property taxes that fund our schools, public utilities, and many other functions and services that we rely on daily. However, I believe everyone should pay the property taxes on the fair market value of their property. WCAD uses a technique called mass appraisal to determine the value of your property, which is inherently inaccurate, and as a result, you pay more in property taxes. When you protest, you show the appraisal district that your property is most similar to a given set of 3-5 actual adjusted sales in your neighborhood, which often results in a lower and more accurate value. And that, in turn, lowers your property tax bill!