The answers for some very common questions are below:
Last year I received an appraisal notice indicating an appraisal value for my property. Does this mean that my property was reappraised last year?
Not necessarily. The year in which your property was reappraised is not always the last year in which you received an appraisal notice. Instead, it is the last year in which the appraisal district formally reappraised your property. Currently, the Harris County Appraisal District is on a two-year appraisal cycle whereby it reappraises all property every odd year (2001, 2003, 2005, and so on).
In some instances, a property may have been formally reappraised in a year not designated as a reappraisal year (i.e. 2002). This is often necessary to ensure equitable treatment between properties as well as where property or neighborhood characteristics have changed sufficiently to warrant a formal reappraisal.
The last reappraisal date will not be shown on your 2003 appraisal notice. You can determine the date by calling our Information and Assistance Center at (713) 957-7800.
If I protest and the market value is lowered, but not below the capped value, will my appraisal value remain the same?
Yes. By law, the appraised value is to be the lesser of the market value or capped value. Therefore, even if the market value is reduced, it must be reduced below the capped value before the appraised value will change. If not, the appraised value will remain below market value. Only when the market value is lower then the potential capped value will the market and appraised value be equivalent.
Does the capped value apply on property other than my homestead?
No. The intent of the law is to address the needs of homeowners by making the taxable value of their homes more predictable. This statute only applies to residential homesteads. All other properties, like rental and business property, vacant land, or personal property, are generally appraised at their market value.
What are new improvements?
New improvements generally involve improvements made to a property that were not pre-existing. An example of a new improvement would be a new swimming pool or a recent addition to your home. The enhanced value of a property due to the construction of a new improvement is considered in the succeeding and thereafter. This is true even if the year at issue was not one in which your property was formally reappraised. In determining the capped value for a property, improvements made due to routine service and maintenance are not considered new improvements.
I bought my home during 2016 and it already had a homestead exemption on it. Will the cap apply to my 2016 value?
No. The base year used to calculate a capped value is the first year in which you as the individual property owner qualify for a homestead exemption. Thus, although you may have benefited from the prior owner's homestead exemption and capped value, the property will be appraised at market value for the year in which you first qualify the property as your primary homestead. The cap takes effect in the second year you qualify for an exemption in your own name.