NOTICE OF APPRAISED VALUE information amid COVID-19
April 15, 2020
April is upon us and that means the mailing of annual Property Value notifications and the appeal process. The Notices have been delayed in an effort to reach out to state government for guidance, waivers and possible changes to the appraisal process. Associations for appraisal districts, tax offices and taxpayer advocates have submitted questions and ideas in relation to 2020 property values, the appeals and hearing process. However, there have been no changes or waivers in the appraisal date, valuation requirements or deadlines. Only the governor, or legislature can change the process. The valuations are still appraised as of January 1, 2020, using 2019/2020 sales and income data. The deadline to protest remains 30 days from the date on the Value Notice. The chief appraiser must still certify values to each tax unit by July 25th, and tax rate hearings and adoptions will still take place in August.
As you recall, last year, 2019 was the Property Value Study for all of Wharton County schools. The analysis of sales and income data created a larger than normal increase. The results of the third-party review of 2019 values indicated the CAD was within the 95% and 105% as required, and passed the review. Therefore, there will NOT be a study for 2020. That does give some room to be conservative. However, the appraisals will ultimately follow sales prices. If not increased for 2020, that may just delay the increases all to 2021, again, depending on what sale of property does for the remainder of 2020.
Please review your Notice of Value. Notices are not mailed to every property, only those that the appraisal or the taxable value increased. If this was your homestead property in 2019, even if your appraisal did not increase, last year’s capped taxable value will continue to roll up at 10% per year, until the taxable reaches the market value. Check the column “TOTAL MARKET”, this is your actual market appraisal. You can look here for appraisal increases or decreases. If it did not change, but the last column did, it may be the cap, change in exemptions or Ag appraisals. New owners, rendered property, changes in exemptions, reappraisal area inspections or the recalculation of the appraisal cap as just described will receive a notice.
The Central Appraisal District (WCAD) is currently continuing operations, but has suspended face-to-face services to the public inside the building as of March 18, 2020, as part of the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus and keep our community and staff healthy. Our employees are available and can be reached by telephone (979) 532-8931 or email. We encourage you to use our website for staff contacts, property research, available forms and other valuable information as we navigate this unprecedented pandemic.
The deadline for filing a protest is May 15th or 30 days after the mail date, whichever is later. Check the deadline date on the top right had side of your notice. Social distancing is one of the best ways to support the health of the entire community, therefore the property owner “walk-in” period for the 2020 informal appraisal protest will be eliminated. There are only two incoming phone lines, as well as limited staff, so there may be difficulty in getting all the calls returned.
WCAD suggest if you wish to discuss your value, to go ahead and file your protest by either of the following methods and include a daytime phone number and email address. That will ensure your rights are protected to be heard by the Appraisal Review Board. Once the deadline has expired there are limitations to value changes for the current year. Please do not wait for a return phone call or email.
File first. You can always follow up with a Settle & Waiver or Withdraw form should information be exchanged to support the proposed value or a change in value. You may mail, drop off or file online:
- Complete the enclosed Protest From, mail to: Wharton CAD, 308 E. Milam St, Wharton, TX 77488,
- Place in the drop off box at the WCAD front entrance during 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM business hours,
- File electronically; online protest option will be open to all properties instead of just the Homestead properties as prescribed by law. Please visit our website whartoncad.net and go to the “Online Protest Tab”. You will find a pin number on the bottom of each notice. (Properties assigned an Agent will not have a PIN)
As time permits, appraisal staff will attempt to call and discuss your property issues in an effort to resolve or explain prior to a formal hearing. Please be prepared to email/mail photos of property conditions, issues and/or sales closing statements and fee appraisals for discussion and consideration. Any changes are still evidentiary, so supporting documentation may be mailed in with your protest, or prepare it for your eventual hearing.
You will be notified of your hearing date and time once the Appraisal Review Board sets new procedures for handling protest amid COVID-19 social distancing as specified by local and state directives. Currently the ARB required training has been postponed by the State. Once they have worked out the training methods, the ARB will be able to better determine how it plans to proceed. Currently the law allows for Telephone hearings or to be heard by affidavit- written testimony and evidence. At this time, a timely filed protest will be heard, but there is no set schedule to begin hearings. Hearing notices must still be mailed a minimum of 15 days prior to the hearing. Information with that Hearing Notice will identify how the hearing will be conducted.
If you did not get a Notice of Value, you may find your 2020 value on the website: www.whartoncad.net
If qualified, you may still file for the 2020 Ag Appraisal or your annual Wildlife Report before May 1. After that time the application is considered late and a penalty applies.
Business Personal Property, Oil & Gas, and Commercial Property notices will be mailed at a later date and the same process will be in place until there is further guidance regarding the hearing procedures.
We appreciate your patience during this time as the CAD staff continues to work hard to serve you. Respectfully,
Tylene Gamble Chief Appraiser