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Tax Rates Up, Assessments Down for Travis County Homeowners

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Later this month, Travis County mails out 2012 property tax bills to homeowners. Those bills will be bigger than last year, but not by much. Tax rates have gone up, but those rates are applied to lower property values than in 2011, dampening some of the tax rate increases.

According to Marya Crigler, chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, the average home in Travis County is appraised at $213,954, a .47 percent decrease from 2011. In the City of Austin, the average home's assessment declined .76 percent, to $251,458. So, a home that was worth $250,000 in 2011 is worth $248,100 in 2012, for taxing purposes. Appraisals are based roughly on market value.

While assessed values were down, most taxing authorities raised their tax rates for 2012. Here's a look at tax increases across the board, to the five entities Austin residents pay tax to: 

  • City of Austin: Increased its tax rate by 4.53 percent, to $0.5029 per $100 of assessed value.
  • Travis County: Increased its tax rate by 3.01 percent to $.5001 per $100.
  • Austin Community College District: Increased its tax rate by .32 percent to .0951 per $100.
  • Travis County Healthcare District: Increased its tax rate by .06 percent to $.078946 per $100.
  • Austin Independent School District: Rate unchanged at $1.242 per $100.
  • Together, the total rate increased by 1.54 percent, to $2.42 per $100.
  • The owner of an Austin home that was assessed at $250,000 last year will get a tax bill this year for $6,002. That's up $46, or .77 percent, from last year's $5,956 bill.

Many people will actually pay less if they qualify for exemptions; a Homestead Exemption can lower a property owner's overall tax bill by discounting the assessed value by up to 20 percent.

Curious about what your specific bill will look like? Exact values for any property in the county can be found on the Appraisal District's website, and tax rates can be found on Travis County's "Truth in Taxation" page

Correction: This post initially said tax rates could be found on the Appraisal District's website; they can be found on the Travis County website. The post has since been corrected. 

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