Commercial property tax assessments in Austin, Texas are up substantially for 2016. The higher values come on the heels of a major lawsuit that charged the Travis Appraisal District with undervaluing commercial properties by as much as 40%.
In an unprecedented move, the City of Austin filed suit against the Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD) and thousands of commercial property taxpayers claiming the city was losing revenue because the appraisal district was “under appraising commercial properties” when compared to market value.
The court case was dismissed late last year by a district court judge and is now on appeal.
TCAD has responded to the city’s undervaluation claims by raising values on all commercial property classes by 20%-30%. The 2016 values were published on www.traviscad.org in mid-April and notices were mailed shortly thereafter.
In many cases, assessed values are even higher than recent sales prices. A review of multifamily sale prices that occurred over the last 18 months show the appraisal district to have an average assessed value of 5%-10% above the sale price across a broad section of multifamily properties. Typical increases in the multifamily sector are 25%-30% over the 2015 value.
Your most important right as a taxpayer is your right to protest an overstated tax assessment to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). You may protest if you disagree with the appraisal district value or any of the appraisal district’s actions concerning your property. In most cases, you have until May 31 or 30 days from the date the appraisal district notice is delivered - whichever date is later.
If you are dissatisfied with the ARB’s findings, you have the right to appeal the decision. Depending on the facts and type of property, you may be able to appeal to state district court, to an independent arbitrator, or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).