About San Jacinto County Appraisal District

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Organizational Structure

Directions to the District Office

The District’s Role

Glossary/Terminology

Organizational Structure

The San Jacinto County Appraisal District is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, created by on January 1, 1980, by the authority of the 1979 State Legislature, to provide uniform ad valorem (according to value) property appraisals to the taxing entities within San Jacinto County. Operations began on April 1, 1980. The county, cities, school districts, special districts, and municipal water districts within San Jacinto County which levy an ad valorem property tax are required to fund the annual budget of the Appraisal District. Senate Bill 621 specifies that the formula for determining each member’s contribution to the Appraisal District’s budget will be based on the percent of tax levy each entity collects compared to the total tax levy of all taxing entities in the Appraisal District.

The Appraisal District is governed by a board of directors appointed by the taxing entities participating in the Appraisal District. The board has five voting members, however if the county Tax Assessor/Collector is not appointed by the entities as a voting member of the board, he or she automatically serves as a non-voting board member.

The board of directors appoints a chief appraiser to function in the capacity of chief administrator of the Appraisal District. The chief appraiser, as provided by the annual budget adopted by the board of directors, may employ professional, clerical and other personnel.

The board of directors appoints the members of the appraisal review board (ARB). Appraisal Review Board members serve two-year terms and are permitted to serve a maximum of three terms. The appraisal review board’s primary function is to hear protests filed by a property owner or the owner’s agent, regarding the District’s appraisal of the subject property. The ARB also hears protests concerning exemptions, ag-use valuations and ag-use rollbacks.

District Overview

Physical characteristics

Size: Approximately 627.9 square miles.

Parcels: 43,530 as of December 2013

 

School Districts

Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated ISD

Shepherd ISD

Cleveland ISD (overlapping district)

Willis ISD (overlapping district)

Note: To see the general location of each school district please refer to County Map – School Districts

Cities that levy taxes based on the district’s appraisals

City of Shepherd

Special Districts

Emergency Services District

Directions

If you are traveling North on US 59 – Exit at State Hwy 150 at Shepherd…

The District’s Primary Responsibilities

The appraisal district’s primary duties include, placing all taxable property on the appraisal roll, appraising all property at market value, approval or denial of exemption applications, approval or denial of ag-use appraisal applications, change of use “rollback” determination for previously qualified agricultural land, and notifying the owner or owner’s agent of certain actions taken by the district.

Placing property on the appraisal roll

The district compiles a listing of all property as of the January 1st assessment date. A unique identifier, called a “property ID”, is generated by the district’s computer assisted mass appraisal system. We then input such key data elements as name, address, legal description, taxing units, acreage, neighborhood, improvement type, improvement quality, improvement size and improvement condition.

Appraising property at market value

The district is on an annual re-appraisal program, with January 1st being the “as of” date for all appraisals except where the owner of certain inventories has decided to designate September 1st the “as of” date.

The district utilizes the three generally accepted appraisal methods, cost, market data comparison and income. The appraiser will use the method considered most appropriate, based on the type of property and available data.

The definition of market value is stated in the Texas Property Tax Code, section 1.04(7) and is listed in the Glossary of Terms.

Exemptions

The district receives several types of exemption applications that effect the final taxable value of property. These exemptions include:

Residential homesteads

Charitable organizations

Community housing development organizations

Youth spiritual, mental and physical development associations

Religious organizations

Schools

Disabled veterans or surviving spouse

Historic sites (if approved by the governing body of the effected taxing entity)

Limitation of school tax on homesteads of the elderly (referred to as “school tax freeze”)

Nonprofit water supply

Generally speaking the property that is the subject of an exemption application must be owned by the applicant on January 1st of the application year. The tax code has some exceptions to this rule, one being the “school tax freeze”, please contact the district to get specific details. You may submit your questions using the “ask the district” option from this web-site.

Open space (ag-use) appraisal

If a property meets the qualification requirements of the Texas Property Tax Code, chapter 23, sub-chapter C or D, the district will make two appraisals. First, a market value appraisal, described above and additionally an ag-use appraisal. The ag-use appraisal is an income approach to value, based on the productivity of a category of land (i.e. dryland crop, improved or native pasture). The district, based on the method prescribed by the tax code, uses cash lease or share lease information to build its appraisal models.

Change of Use of Land (Rollback Taxes)

Open-space and Timber (agricultural use)

If a property qualified for ag-use appraisal changes to a non ag-use the property is subject to certain tax recapture (rollback) penalties.

a. The rollback affects six years. The current tax year and five previous years.

b. The rollback is calculated based on the difference between “market value” taxes and the “ag-use” taxes actually paid times seven percent, per year, simple interest.

c. The district makes the determination of use change and the assessor/collector calculates the amount due, and collects the rollback tax, after the district notifies the assessor’s office that such a change has occurred.

Notification

If the district reappraises your property, denies an exemption application or determines that a change of use to agricultural has occurred, we must mail you a notice of the action being taken. The notice must advise the owner/owner’s agent of the time frame for filing a written protest.

Glossary/Terminolgy

Appraisal – 1) An opinion or estimate of value. 2) The act or process of estimating value or conducting an evaluation study. Whether written or oral it should set forth the opinions or conclusions of the appraiser concerning the property as of a specific date, supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant data.

Appraisal Methods – The valuation approaches used in the appraisal of real property (cost, direct sales comparison and income).

Appraisal Process – A systematic analysis of the factors that bear upon the value of real estate. An orderly program by which the problem defined, the work necessary to solve the problem is planned, and the data involved are acquired, classified, analyzed, and interpreted into a final opinion or conclusion.

Appraised Value – An opinion of an appraiser which is based upon an interpretation of facts and judgments and their processing into an estimate of value, as of a stated date. For our purpose we are seeking market value, as defined by the Property Tax Code, Section 1.04(7).

Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) – The application of computer technology and statistical techniques to the solution of appraisal problems. In property tax administration, CAMA programs are used to produce cost and market estimates of market value and appraisal/sale price ratio analysis.

Cost Approach – Is based on the proposition that the informed purchaser would pay no more than the cost of producing a substitute property with the same utility as the subject. Is most applicable when the subject property involves relatively new improvements which represent the highest and best use of the land or specialized improvements are located on the site, for which there exist no comparable properties.

Depreciation – A loss of utility and hence value from any cause.

Direct Sales Comparison Approach – Is based on the proposition that an informed purchaser would pay no more for a property than the cost of acquiring an existing property with the same utility. This approach is applicable when an active market provides sufficient quantities of reliable data which can be verified from authoritative sources.

Discovery – The process whereby the assessor (appraiser) identifies all taxable property in a jurisdiction and ensures that it is included on the assessment appraisal roll.

Final Value Estimate – The appraiser’s opinion or conclusion resulting from the application of appraisal analysis, including reconciliation of finding to the appraisal problem at hand.

Income Approach – That procedure in appraisal analysis which converts anticipated benefits (dollar income or amenities) to be derived from the ownership of property into a value estimate. The income approach is widely applied in appraising income-producing properties. Anticipated future income and/or reversions are discounted to a present worth figure through the capitalization process.

Location – An economic characteristic of Real Estate composed of immobility, constant change, dependence, and elements of special distribution. Location is an economic, even though a location can be described in physical and legal terms.

Market Value – “Market value” means the price at which a property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions if:

1. exposed for sale in the open market with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser;

2. both the seller and the purchaser know of all the uses and purposes to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used and of the enforceable restrictions on its use; and

3. both the seller and purchaser seek to maximize their gains and neither is in a position to take advantage of the exigencies of the other.

Neighborhood – A portion of a larger community in which there is a homogenous grouping of inhabitants, building or business enterprises.

Neighborhood Analysis – The objective analysis of observable and/or quantifiable data indicating discernible patterns of urban growth, structure, and change that may detract from or enhance property values.

Observed Condition – The condition of a property ascertained by a detailed inspection. Physical condition.

Sales – Market Ratio – The ratio derived by the selling price divided by the market value (expressed as a percent).

Sales – Ratio Analysis – Study of the relationship between market value, sales prices and the deviations resulting from differences between the two. The purpose of such an analysis is to determine the efficiency and fairness of assessing activities of a particular jurisdiction.

Tax Rate – The rate to be applied to the taxable value to determine the amount of tax due. The rate is expressed in dollars per $100 of taxable value.

Taxable Value – The taxable value is calculated by subtracting all applicable exemptions from the appraised value of a property. The taxable value is multiplied by the tax rate to determine the tax levy.

Uniformity – Denotes assessed values which have the same relationship to market value. Implies the equalization of the tax burden.