Jan 5, 2024 - News

What to know before Bexar County property taxes are due

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

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

You're likely paying less in property tax than you did last year, partly because of Texas' historic property tax cut that voters approved in November.

Driving the news: The deadline to pay taxes in Bexar County is Jan. 31 if you want to avoid penalties and interest.

  • About 170,000 taxpayers not on a payment plan will receive a reminder statement next week, Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti tells Axios.

Why it matters: Local governments rely heavily on property taxes, especially in Texas where there is no state income tax.

  • Trying to make good on their campaign promises, state GOP lawmakers have for years struggled to cut property taxes in ways that actually translate into savings — rather than merely slowing the taxes' growth rate.

State of play: Even as Bexar County property values have risen, the average taxable value is down from 2021, when many homeowners were shocked by skyrocketing values.

  • Local taxing entities like the city and county have also increased exemptions in recent years.
  • The city last year passed a 20% homestead exemption, the maximum allowed, after implementing a 10% exemption the prior year. Bexar County passed a 20% homestead exemption in 2022.

By the numbers: The average market value of a home in Bexar County was $338,981 in 2023 — up from $250,809 in 2021, per figures the Office of the Tax Assessor-Collector shared with Axios.

  • However, the average taxable value of a home in Bexar County was $237,881 in 2023 — up from $221,121 in 2022, but down from a 2021 high of $243,824, per the tax office.

Zoom in: The average Bexar County resident with a homestead exemption in Northside ISD will pay about $6,146 in property taxes for 2023, per estimates shared with Axios.

  • That's down from an average of $6,807 paid in 2022.

Catch up quick: In July, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an $18-billion property tax cut proposal for voter approval.

  • In November, 83% of voters OK'd the plan to lower school district tax rates and increase the school homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.
  • The state will pay school districts billions of dollars to help cover the difference in funding from property taxes.

How it works: Appraisal districts usually start assessing property values early in the year, allowing property owners to protest new values. The districts then send final valuations to taxing entities, which prepare tax bills and collect the money.

  • November's voter approval of the new tax cut came after Bexar County mailed out property tax bills in October.
  • But the statement property owners received in October already reflected the reductions, Uresti says.
  • "We just felt like Proposition 4 was going to pass," Uresti says. "And we know that our taxpayers have been screaming for tax relief."

What they're saying: When the 2023 bills went out in October, Uresti's office got thousands of calls from people who didn't believe their taxes had actually fallen.

  • "Many people were calling our office to confirm their bill is correct," Uresti says. "It was a pleasant surprise for our citizens."

What's next: In 2024, property owners without a homestead exemption will benefit from a 20% cap on how much their appraised value can rise if their property is valued under $5 million, Uresti says.

  • That provides extra relief for business property owners, who don't benefit from the 10% cap that homeowners receive.

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