How do Texas governments calculate your property taxes? Here’s a primer.

Several government entities — from appraisal districts to city councils — play independent roles that collectively determine how much money Texas landowners owe local governments each year.

By Ben Hasson
By Ben Hasson

In Texas, property taxes keep local governments like cities, counties and school districts operating and pay for everything from police officers' salaries to classroom textbooks. Here's how the taxes are calculated and how they could change in the 2019 legislative session.

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As Texas' population boom fuels demand for more housing, the property values that drive tax bills are also rising. State lawmakers this legislative session want to slow the increase in property taxes that Texans pay each year — something they've been trying to do for years with little success.

That's because property taxes are a huge revenue stream for local governments, whose officials say limiting their tax collection authority could hamstring what they budget for first responders, roads and other essential services.

Simply determining how much a Texas property owner owes in taxes is a complicated process involving multiple government entities — mainly cities, counties and school districts — and the final tax bite is largely determined by the appraised value of a property set by a local appraisal district.

As legislators prepare to spend the next several months debating how to keep property taxes from rising so fast, here’s a look at the process that determines how much property taxes Texas landowners owe their local governments each year.

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