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2019 Leon County Property Revaluations

The Leon Central Appraisal District released notices of valuation for the 2019 property tax year to be mailed this week. These notices include a complete revaluation of approximately 95% of all the properties within the county, and include some very substantial increases in valuation in certain areas. The purpose of the notice is to give the property owner a chance to review their appraised value for 2019.

Mostly unknown to the typical taxpayer each year the Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) of the State Comptroller’s Office conducts a property value study of each school district in Leon County. The study involves a comparison between the appraisal district’s values to the actual sales price of properties that have sold, or to the value estimated by a State Field Appraiser. When the ratio determined by comparing the sales price/state appraisal to the value certified by the district is less than 95% for a category, a penalty to that school district will be assessed if that condition exists for two or more consecutive years. All properties are intended to be appraised at 100% of market value. Over the past five years, all or some of our school districts, have failed compliance. The ones that have failed for consecutive years have them subjected to penalties in their state funding provided by TEA. These penalties involve hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Leon CAD has taken great measures this year to correct the value differential between the PTAD and Leon Central Appraisal District. Almost every category of property in the county realized a value increase, many with substantial increases. The increases are relative to the sales of comparable property within the county over the last 24 months. This issue of value difference with PTAD has been compounded by the fact that there are many missing structural improvements from the Leon CAD appraisal roll, compounding the problems associated with the study from the state. For instance, a property that sold in the county and is included in the property value study, is a comparison of the sales price to the Leon CAD appraised price. If the comparison yields a ratio of something less than 95%, the problem could stem from the value being too low or the fact that the account that sold includes structural improvements that are not on the appraisal roll. This is a very penalizing property sale for whatever school district it may be located in. As a result of this problem, Leon CAD purchased Pictometry in 2018. Pictometry is a very high-resolution aerial photography program that features software capable of identifying missing structural improvements by doing a historical comparison to other aerial photography. The program is called “change finder” and allows the appraisal district to locate houses, barns and other structures that are supposed to be on the appraisal roll but are not. These improvements are often shielded from view by trees or due to lack of access. When a structure is located that has not previously been on the appraisal roll it will be back-assessed for up to the five previous years, and the owner will be responsible for the taxes associated with those years that are back assessed. This is set forth by the Texas Property Tax Code under Section 25.21, Omitted Property. The program has been initiated, and is currently a functioning part of the 2019 reappraisal process and will be ongoing until all structures are identified.

If you receive a Notice of Appraised Value, please take the time to read and understand what you are seeing. Notices of Appraised Value are very cluttered, and contain a lot of statistical information that can be misleading, especially with regard to the five-year history statistics. BEFORE YOU FILE A PROTEST, please call 903–536 -2252, and ask for an appraiser to explain your notice. You have 30 days from the date on your Notice to file a written protest.