It seems like COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life in America these days and that includes the notices about the appraised value of area properties. Grayson County’s chief tax appraiser said the notices telling property owners in the county about the value of property values are going to be a little late this year.
Chief Appraiser Shawn Coker of the Grayson County Appraisal District said there have been “a lot of misconceptions and ideas floating around the state in regard to appraisal districts.”
The delay in getting the notices out means taxpayers will have until June 15th to file an appeal from their new notice. Coker said the district has yet to decide if there will be in-person hearings on appeals.
"This year, we will open up our online portal to help us expedite assisting taxpayers where we can," he said while noting that taxpayers will be able to get data as well as submit any evidence for his staff to review through the portal.
They will also accept such protest by mail, fax or email.
The districts have sought guidance from the state including officials in the Governor and the Comptrollers office for some help towards taxpayer relief.
"We have gone so far as to ask that we just maintain the prior year's values except for new improvements," Coker said. "As of now, we have been told that we will be audited and held to the same standards that we always have.“
The taxing entities can consider their tax rates when the time comes, if needed, Coker said.
The notices will be about three weeks later than normal.
The 38 taxing entities in the county that use the Grayson Central Appraisal District include 15 school districts, 14 cities, one water district, one junior college and the county government.
Coker, who has a staff of about 37 employees at GCCAD, said they can't really do much to help with the COVID-19 impact on people's finances because the GCAD undergoes two audits each year.
The property value study and a methods and assistance program review. The state Comptroller's Office goes back over the information that GCAD uses to appraise property and if the state doesn't confirm those results within a certain percentage, then the taxing entities could face financial repercussions from the state. Appraisal districts must value each piece of property at 100 percent of market value as of January 1 of each year.
The amount of taxes that people actually paid on those properties involves a lot of moving parts and can sometimes be a bit confusing. The GCAD website explains each taxing entity, i.e. the school district, city or county, sets the tax rate and the GCAD sets the taxable value of each piece of property in the taxing entities’ domain. The tax rate is then applied to taxable value to get the amount of taxes due on the piece of property.
“We are required to see a property every three years, however, we are also required to be at market value. So if we have sales indicating a change is needed, up or down, we must reflect the market,” said in a previous interview.
There are some steps taxpayers can take to limit their exposure to appraisal increases, he said. Those include homesteads and the exceptions the state allows for those over 65 years of age, those who are disabled or those who are veterans. Additionally, taxpayers can keep up with when each of the entities that they pay taxes to hold their tax rate hearings each year and show up and protest if those entities attempt to increase the tax rate. Coker said approximately 75 percent of the taxing entities in Grayson County lowered their tax rates for 2019.
For more COVID-19 information, visit http://www.HeraldDemocrat.com/coronavirus.