Workshop method

San Antonio property tax workshop taught attendees how to protest their assessments

With a simmering housing market driving up property values ​​in San Antonio, homeowners looking for ways to lower their tax bills spent part of their Saturday learning the ins and outs of tax exemptions and protests against ratings.

About 75 people showed up at the property tax workshop, expressing their concerns and frustrations while asking what they could do. For their part, local officials provided advice on what to do as well as websites and offices to visit and phone numbers to call to help them navigate their options.

How to claim tax exemptions and protest property valuations were among the most discussed topics.

The average home value in Bexar County jumped 28% from last year to this year, according to Michael Amezquita, chief appraiser for the Bexar Assessment District. Other surrounding counties saw percentage increases in the 1940s and 1950s. Earlier this month, Amezquita said this year’s increases were the highest he had seen in his 18 years in office. work.

“We’re just mirroring what’s happening in the real estate market,” he said on Saturday.

A person’s property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed property value by the tax rate and then dividing by 100, Bexar County Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti told attendees.

The Office of the Assessor-Collector collects taxes on behalf of the taxing jurisdictions while the Bexar Assessment District sets property values.

Ratings and protests

workshop at the Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall 5763 in San Antonio, Texas on April 30, 2022. Residents received information on the how to request exemptions, how to file a protest, and prepare for the Assessment Review Board (ARB) process at the event hosted by District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia.”/>

Bexar County Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti speaks during a property tax workshop at the Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall 5763 in San Antonio, Texas on April 30, 2022. Residents received information on the how to request exemptions, how to file a protest, and prepare for the Assessment Review Board (ARB) process at the event hosted by District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia.

Josie Norris / San Antonio Express-News

Properties are valued on January 1 of each year. Amezquita said property value is reviewed by neighborhood and even by street level. He said square footage, construction quality, selling prices for properties in each neighborhood and location of the property are all factors in the value of a person’s home.

Residents who believe their assessment was incorrect have until May 16 to protest. People who protest by mail will have an appointment scheduled to meet informally with an evaluator. People can also protest online if they prefer not to meet in person.

If someone who protests their assessment does not reach an agreement after this first meeting, a hearing may be scheduled with the Assessment Review Board, who will make a decision on the matter.

Amezquita said people can protest based on market value or equity. Someone who protests based on the market says they think their house isn’t worth what the other houses around it are selling for. Someone protesting on the basis of equity says the value of their property is too different from other properties in the area.

At the protest, Amezquita said photographs can help strengthen a person’s case.

“If you’re in a neighborhood where homes are being remodeled and your home has been the same for 25 years, photos of that will be very helpful to help lower your value,” he said.

Amezquita said the sooner people signed up to protest, the better as he expects there will be around 160,000 calls this year, compared to 141,000 last year.

To visit bcad.org or call 210-224-2432 to file a protest.

Exemptions, payment plans

Leonardo Yzaguirre, Jr. raises a question Saturday, April 30, 2022, during a property tax workshop at the St. Vincent de Paul Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall in San Antonio.

Leonardo Yzaguirre, Jr. raises a question Saturday, April 30, 2022, during a property tax workshop at the St. Vincent de Paul Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall in San Antonio.

Josie Norris / San Antonio Express-News

Exemptions can reduce the taxable value, which lowers the tax bill. People can consider several options, including exemptions for people over 65 and disabled veterans.

A homestead exemption is also an option, and although the deadline to apply for it is officially Saturday, Amezquita said people can still apply outside of that time frame. According to the controller’s websitea late homestead exemption application can be filed up to two years after the delinquency date, which usually falls on February 1.

People can call the Assessor-Collector’s office at 210-335-2251 to find out if they are receiving all of the property tax exemptions to which they are entitled.

For those who cannot pay large lump sums for their property taxes, Uresti said there are property tax payment plans available. Any taxpayer can have a half-payment plan, which allows people to pay half in November and the other half in June.

There is also a quarterly payment plan and a 10-month payment plan, but there are more conditions that a person must meet to be eligible for these.

Workshops

A participant has a question during a property tax workshop.  Residents received information on how to apply for exemptions, how to file a protest, and how to prepare for the Assessment Review Board (process.

A participant has a question during a property tax workshop. Residents received information on how to apply for exemptions, how to file a protest, and how to prepare for the Assessment Review Board (process.

Josie Norris / San Antonio Express-News

Denise Lozano, 39, attended the event with his wife, Jacie Lozano, 36, who protests their evaluation every year and has even started helping others learn how to go through the process. The couple live on the southwest side in a neighborhood they say is mostly made up of people with property tax exemptions but who don’t usually protest assessments. Denise Lozano said others who aren’t protesting around them can make it difficult for them when trying to make their case.

Denise Lozano said the event was helpful for her and her wife to think about how to help others in situations like theirs.

The Saturday morning workshop at the Knights of Columbus St. Vincent de Paul Banquet Hall on Ray Ellison Boulevard was led by District 4 Councilor Adriana Rocha Garcia. District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo hosted a similar property tax panel and resource fair later in the day at Harris Middle School in the San Antonio Independent School District.

“We’ve heard from everyone across town in general that their property taxes have gone up,” Rocha Garcia said. “So it’s our job to go out and educate people on how to protest and get those exemptions. And it’s really about educating our community.

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