AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- There is nothing more enticing to a homeowner than the claim that tax reform will make businesses pay more taxes so they pay less. Trouble is the claim is based on faulty accounting and inaccurate information. Garbage in = garbage out.
The enticing, but false, claim is that homeowners could save hundreds of dollars a year if commercial property was subject to high appraisals. Put simply, commercial property owners would pay higher taxes and homeowner's tax bills would decrease by hundreds of dollars. Trouble is this claim is based on two false assumptions.
The first false assumption is that those promoting this type of tax reform are trying to lower taxes. In fact, as the Texas Tribune reported recently, the groups attacking commercial appraisals are really trying to raise tax revenue.
"The latest such effort, calling itself "Real Values for Texas," seems aimed more at putting money into schools and other government programs that depend on property tax revenue."
The second false assumption is that commercial property is undertaxed. Reports from the Texas Comptroller's office and an independent study of the Houston tax rolls shows that business property is already being taxed at, or very close to, fair market value. There is nothing to prevent local appraisal districts from raising appraisals on commercial or residential property if warranted; so long as they meet the Texas constitution's guarantee that properties are appraised in an equal and uniform manner.
In fact, according to the Texas Building Owners and Managers Association, "In some areas of Houston, property valuations have increased more than 100 percent in the last two years. In 2013, commercial property valuations across the Bayou City increased 53 percent on average, then another 18 percent in 2014. Similar double-digit increases have occurred in other Texas cities and counties without proportionate reductions in tax rates."
"Statistics claiming to show that commercial property is appraised at only 60% of its value have been discredited by the Texas Comptroller's office and independent studies," said David Margulies, spokesperson for the Coalition for Fair and Uniform Taxation. "So the claim that appraisals on commercial property are inaccurate has been proven to be untrue."
"In a situation where a commercial property is sold for more than its appraised value the appraisal district can raise its value so long as they are treating similar properties in the same manner," said Margulies. "The same due process for protesting unfair appraisals that protects commercial property owners also protects homeowners," said Margulies. "A homeowner can face the same issue of having their home over valued and has the same right to appeal and have consultants who are willing to assist them on a contingency fee basis."
"It is always easy to suggest that someone else should pay more taxes," said Margulies. "But our Texas Constitution's guarantee of a uniform and equal tax system is too important a protection to lose for all property owners."
About The Coalition for Equal and Uniform Taxation:
The coalition includes: the Texas Association of Business (TAB), Texas Building Owners and Managers Association (Texas BOMA), NAOIP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Real Estate Council of Texas (RECsTX), Texas Apartment Association (TAA), Texas Association of Builders, Texas Association of Realtors, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association (THLA), Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA) and The Real Estate Council of Dallas. www.fairtaxesfortexas.com
SOURCE Coalition for Fair and Uniform Taxation