Welcome to Howard County Appraisal District!
AN OPEN LETTER FROM RICHARD PETREE
CHIEF APPRAISER OF HOWARD COUNTY
I am the interim chief appraiser for Howard County Appraisal District. I retired from the appraisal district in Abilene where I held the office for 37 years. I help appraisal districts that are in trouble with compliance of state law and procedures. I was hired by the Board of Directors of Howard CAD in July, 2020, to complete the 2020 tax year and certify the values. Since that time, we have sought to hire a permanent chief appraiser, but have not found the right person to lead the district forward.
I was hired by the Howard CAD Board of Directors to correct the failure of the Methods and Procedures audit and also the failure of the Property Value Study in 2020. The failure to meet state standards impacts local school districts. Big Spring ISD officials have indicated their loss of state funding will be approximately $3.5 million dollars next year. The Board has instructed me to fix the issues so that the loss of state funding will not continue.
To do that, there are three categories of properties that must be addressed. The first is single family residences. The study indicated the District to be at only 85% of selling prices. The minimum standard is 95%. Also, commercial property was low as were residential property in rural areas. Those values are being brought up to current sales prices after being inspected by staff appraisers.
Mass appraisal is a process similar to the appraisal done when a home is purchased. The appraisal district looks at similar houses in similar condition and by using statistical methodology, applies values to all properties. Each home and commercial property is Howard County is classed based on its quality of construction and then depreciation of the property is noted based on the current condition. The appraisers must make their decisions regarding condition by an outside observation of the property so if a property is poorly maintained on the inside, it can result in an over-estimation of value.
If that occurs, then the taxpayer should file a notice of protest with the appraisal district which will protect their right to appeal. Evidence of value can be included with the protest. Protests can also be filed on line if the taxpayer prefers. In person discussions or phone discussions will be utilized to share information from both parties to attempt to get to a resolution of appropriate value. If that cannot be done, then the taxpayer has a right to appear before the Appraisal Review Board, a group of local citizens who listen to the evidence and make a decision regarding the value. Their decision can be appealed to district court or to an arbitration hearing.
The bottom line is that we want to work with the taxpayers of Howard County to ensure that taxes are fairly and equally assessed. We only want each person to pay according to law and we will endeavor to reach that goal. I welcome your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to express your thoughts or concerns.
- How do I file a protest if I think I couldn’t sell my property for the amount appraised? Within 30 days of the sending of the appraisal notice, the taxpayer should fill out the form that is enclosed in the notice of protest and mail, email, or fax the form to the appraisal district along with any evidence of value that they have. This protects the taxpayer’s right to continue the appeal.
- How does an appeal work? Initially, the appraisers of the district will discuss the value issue with you and share sales information of similar properties. They will go over the information to ensure that the information the district has is correct. If the taxpayer has evidence such as a recent closing statement, estimates of cost to repair major issues, or pictures of interior problems with the property, those things will be considered by the appraiser and an adjustment to value may be offered. If a settlement number is offered and accepted, then the appeal is over and paperwork is signed by both parties.
- An appeal sounds difficult. Should I be afraid? No, the process is very easy and we are working hard to be cordial and respectful. There is nothing to fear with either the informal appeal with a staff person or the formal hearing before the Appraisal Review Board.
- Do I have the right to see the evidence that the appraisal district will present? Yes, by requesting that information before the hearing date, you will be provided a copy of the evidence that the district will present to the ARB.
- Do I need a lawyer or agent? It is not necessary to have a lawyer or agent. The discussions are informal. The staff of the district is not going to use anything tricky or unethical to “win” their argument. Our goal is to complete the discussion with a realistic market value on all property.
- Why does property have to be valued at its selling price? Texas is a “market value” state meaning that in our constitution and in law, the standard for appraisal is what a property would sell for if offered on the market. The appraisal process simply levels the playing field for all taxpayers in the community having each property owner pay based on what they own. The tax units each set a tax rate based on their needs for revenue to supply education, police protection, water, streets, and other services to the people they serve. The equality of taxation is also mandated by the courts in the distribution of funds for public education.
- Why are property taxes so high? The decision by state government to rely on sales taxes and property taxes as the primary sources of revenue cause both of those tax amounts to be high. The majority of states have an income tax to help with the state tax burden but Texas has made the decision to raise revenues from other sources instead of income and so those taxes are burdensome.
- How can I get my taxes down? The taxpayer should be sure that they are receiving all legal benefits to which they are entitled. All persons who own their home are entitled to a homestead exemption. That provides discounts to homeowners. Also, persons who are over 65 years of age or those persons who are disabled under social security regulations may apply for additional exemptions. Disabled veterans also receive discounts from the market value of their property. And finally, an annual review of the proposed value is important to ensure that it is in line with actual selling prices.
Within this site you will find general information about the District and the ad valorem property tax system in Texas, as well as information regarding specific properties within the district. Howard County Appraisal District is responsible for appraising all real and business personal property within Howard County. The district appraises property according to the Texas Property Tax Code and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP).
Howard County Appraisal District is responsible for the fair market appraisal of properties within each of the following taxing entities. Additional responsibilities include change of address and public information requests.
Thanks for visiting with us and we hope you’ll find all the information you need right here on the site, but please don’t hesitate to email, call or come by – we’re here to help!
Our mission is to provide accurate property assessments to facilitate the local funding for our county, schools, cities, and other districts that derive budgets and other operating expenses from local property values.
Some Property Owners Will be Receiving A Request For Current
Agricultural Applications To Be Filed With The Appraisal District:
Some property owners will be receiving a letter from the Howard County Appraisal District requesting a current application for 1-D-1 (Open Space) Agricultural Use Appraisal.
The Appraisal District is in the process of updating its records and needs to obtain the most current information on these properties in order to be in compliance with State requirements regarding these forms. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause our property owners and would like to insure everyone that the Appraisal District staff will be available to assist with questions or concerns regarding the reapplication process. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at (432) 263-8301 or come by 315 Main St, Big Spring, TX 79720. It is our goal to make this process as simple as possible for those property owners affected by this request.
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A FORM IN THE MAIL ASKING THAT YOU PAY A FEE FOR THE FILING OF YOUR “HOMESTEAD DESIGNATION”, PLEASE CALL US FIRST. THE LETTER IS NOT FROM OUR OFFICE AND DOES NOT RELATE TO YOUR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY A FEE TO OBTAIN A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION!
|County Taxing Entities:|
|Borden Independent School District|
|Sands Independent School District|
|Big Spring Independent School District|
|Coahoma Independent School District|
|Forsan Independent School District|
|Stanton Independent School District|
|City of Coahoma|
|City of Forsan|
|City of Big Spring|
|Howard County Junior College District|
|Permian Basin Water Conservation District|