The appraisal district has had numerous calls and taxpayer walk-ins about Homestead forms that are being sent out by “Homestead Designation Services.” These forms are asking you to pay $45 to get them to sign you up for your Homestead Exemption on your home. This is a SCAM. Signing up for your Homestead Exemption is a free service through the appraisal district. Do not send this service any money and do not send in the form. If you have questions about whether you have your exemption or if you are entitled to an exemption, please call the appraisal district for help.

Another inquiry that we get a lot here at the appraisal district pertains to Agricultural Sales Tax Exemption Numbers. Those numbers are applied for through the Texas Comptroller’s Office online. The appraisal district does not issue these sales tax exemption numbers. All we can do is direct you to the Comptrollers web site.

The 2018 value roll is certified, protests have been completed by the Appraisal Review Board and only tax bills and judicial appeals remain to complete the 2018 tax year. There were 1505 property accounts protested with 713 of those being set for ARB hearing. 345 accounts were settled prior to the ARB hearing and the ARB handed down 127 orders of value. There were also 109 accounts that did not show up for their hearing and 211 accounts that withdrew their protest prior to the hearing. These numbers account for a little over 3 percent of the total property accounts in Erath County.

Erath County has a market value base in excess of $6.35 billion and a 2018 taxable base of over $3.3 billion. That equates to $3 billion in property tax exemptions across this county. The $3.3 billion is an increase in value to Erath County of $317 million from the taxable value last year. The other taxing jurisdictions in Erath County all ended up with increases in value over last year due to the across the board increases in value that affected all taxing jurisdictions. Here is how the remaining jurisdictions ended up. The City Of Stephenville has $1.27 billion in taxable value which is an increase of $70 million from last year. The City of Dublin has $113 million in taxable value, an increase of about $4.3 million. Three Way ISD has $50 million in total taxable value which is an increase of $2.6 million from last year. Dublin ISD has taxable value of $340 million which is a $21.3 million increase in value. Stephenville ISD finishes out 2018 with a taxable value of $1.83 billion which is $105 million in additional taxable value over last year. Bluff Dale ISD comes in with taxable value of $153 million which is a $14.8 million increase in taxable value. Huckabay ISD also received an increase in taxable value of nearly $23 million bringing the total 2018 taxable to $168 million. Lingleville ISD has total taxable value of $91.5 million, an increase of $2.9 million from last year. Morgan Mill ISD has taxable value of $100 million, a $3 million increase from last year. And last, Middle Trinity Water has a taxable value of $3.3 billion which is a $319 million increase over last year.

These taxable numbers will now be used by each taxing jurisdiction to set 2018 tax rates that will determine the tax each property owner will pay. Watch for the publication of these rates in the newspaper which is required by “Truth in Taxation”. Should you have any questions about this article or any other property tax issue, please contact the appraisal district and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Jerry Lee is the Erath County chief appraiser.