WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—It’s that time of year many taxpayers dread when property owners have or will be receiving their annual property appraisals in the mail. Chief Appraiser, Lisa Stephens-Musick said if you aren’t happy with your new appraisal, you can file to protest it and have a hearing, but if you want to do that, you have to act fast.

When it comes to property taxes and property appraisals, Stephens-Musick said often times residents get the two mixed up.

“The appraisal district does not actually set taxes or collect taxes, we’re just establishing a value,” Stephens-Musick said.

Property tax rates for cities, counties, and other taxing districts are set by elected officials.
But if your property value goes up significantly, so does your tax bill, as it did last year.

“That was the most significant increase in value that we had ever seen, and so property owners were very concerned that their taxes would go up proportionately to the amount of appraised value, we had properties that went up on average of 25 percent,” Stephens-Musick said.

She said this year property owners are only looking at an average eight percent increase in their home value, which is low compared to most cities throughout the state.

“A lot of the appraisal districts are reporting that they’re still going up 20 and 30 percent I’ve only heard of one appraisal district that has gone down and that was Williamson County,” Stephens-Musick said.

Stephens-Musick said if you aren’t happy with your appraisal, you can dispute it.

“If you don’t come to some agreement, or you don’t understand what the appraiser says after you’ve spoken with them, there’s a form in your appraisal notice, and you can mail that in you also have information in your notice that you can file on our online portal,” Stephens-Musick said.

She says another way to cap your property’s taxable value, is filing for a homestead exemption.

“That protects your property, the taxable value of it, the market value can go up you know 50 percent, but the taxable value on your homestead property can only go up 10 percent after you’ve had the exemption for a year,” Stephens-Musick said.

All great tips, but ultimately, Stephens-Musick said if you’re confused about your appraisal or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to her office and they will work to ensure everything is understood and as clear as possible.

Stephens-Musick said most of the appraisal notices were sent out on April 15th and said you have 30 days to file a protest. She says the deadline for the majority of residents is May 15th.