Jun 14, 2023 - News

San Antonio may max out tax relief for homeowners

Illustration of a welcome mat that is a one-hundred dollar bill.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Weary homeowners could save some money on their next San Antonio property tax bill.

Driving the news: San Antonio is looking to increase its homestead exemption to 20%, the maximum allowed by state law. City staff recommended the increase at a City Council meeting Wednesday, where council members and Mayor Ron Nirenberg were supportive.

Why it matters: Many shocked homeowners are still recovering from towering increases to their home valuations last year.

How it works: A homestead exemption shaves a percentage off the taxable value of someone's primary residence, leading to a lower property tax bill.

Details: A home with a market value of $300,000 would save about $324 a year under a 20% exemption, up from the $160 a year savings under the current 10% exemption, per city estimates.

Flashback: San Antonio implemented a homestead exemption of 10% last year, but still collected more revenue because of soaring valuations. The city also raised its exemptions for people at least 65 years old and people with disabilities last year.

  • The city was required by state law to reduce some of its property tax take.

Of note: Even when the city adopted tax relief measures last year, many homeowners still paid more because of how much their values had climbed.

  • Officials don't expect that will be the case this year.

What they're saying: "Based on our recommendation, their tax bill will be less," Troy Elliott, deputy chief financial officer, told reporters.

By the numbers: San Antonio saw a 12.2% increase in taxable value over the last year, per city records. That was driven by the 16.8% value increase for multi-family residential properties.

  • About 169,000 protests against property values were filed with the Bexar Appraisal District.

Reality check: The bulk of a homeowner's property tax bill in Texas goes to school districts.

  • The city's homestead exemption only applies to the city of San Antonio portion of a homeowner's tax bill.

What's next: The City Council is slated to vote next week on the recommended homestead exemption. The council votes on the budget in September and it takes effect Oct. 1.

  • City staff expects to recommend a slightly lower tax rate in August.
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