Protesting Your Bexar County Property Taxes
Information On How to Reduce Your Property Taxes
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Bexar Appraisal District

Bexar Appraisal District

Bexar Appraisal District is assigned the task of locating and accurately valuing all taxable property within Bexar county. Personal property not used for the production of income is not taxable. However, real property, business personal property and mineral interests are taxable unless they are subject to an exemption. For example, real estate owned by the government (City of San Antonio, schools, state, federal government, etc.) is typically exempt from taxation.

BCAD serves the following cities: San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Balcones Heights, Castle Hills, China Grove, Cibolo, Converse, Cross Mountain, Elmendorf, Fair Oaks Ranch, Grey Forest, Helotes, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Kirby, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Olmos Park, Scenic Oaks, Schertz, Selma, Shavano Park, Somerset, St. Hedwig, Terrell Hills, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Windcrest and a number of other tax entities. The appraisal district values properties for all tax entities in Bexar county. Each tax entity utilizes the assessed values established by the Bexar Appraisal District. Prior to the current system (one central appraisal district), each tax entity established its own values for property taxes.

Hire O'Connor and Associates to Protest Your Bexar County property taxes.

Tips for Appealing Your Property Taxes in Bexar County
  • The most meaningful way to reduce your Bexar County, school and other property taxes for your home is to obtain a homestead exemption. Property taxes are typically reduced by about 20% due to a homestead exemption.
  • Reduce property taxes by annually appealing. Reducing property taxes to the lowest possible level is an iterative process. Annual property tax appeals are necessary to minimize your property taxes. You can file a notice of appeal by utilizing the comptroller's form or by sending a letter to the Bexar Appraisal Review Board. Appeal both market value and unequal appraisal.
  • You can obtain the Bexar Appraisal District evidence for a nominal cost. Obtaining the Bexar Appraisal District evidence (House Bill 201 information) greatly increases your chances for success at the Bexar Appraisal Review Board hearing. By obtaining the BCAD evidence, you limit what they can lawfully present at the property tax protest hearing at the Bexar County ARB.
  • Information compiled and used to value your property (such as land area, year built, grade of construction, condition, etc) is listed on the Bexar Appraisal District record card. Research the Bexar Appraisal District "record card" which has information used to value your property. There are often errors with factors such as land area, building area, year built, year remodeled, grade (quality of construction) and CDU (condition, utility and desirability). When BCAD has overstated the size, quality or condition of your home, correcting this error can reduce your property taxes in both the current and future years.
  • Market value is the amount for which your home would sell in an arms' length sale. Unequal appraisal addresses whether you are assessed fairly relative to similar properties. When preparing for your Bexar Appraisal Review Board hearing, you should gather information on market value and unequal appraisal
  • Data such as price, sales date, address, land area, building area, price per square foot, condition, etc are collectively referred to as comparable sales. Comparable sales are the cornerstone of market value. Sources of comparable sales data can be found in the House Bill 201 package obtained from the Bexar Appraisal District and MLS sites.
  • The option of using assessment comparables to determine unequal appraisal was added to the Texas Property Tax Code in 2003. Unequal appraisal is often effective in reducing property taxes. Even if your assessed value is below market value, you can appeal based on unequal appraisal.
  • Unequal appraisal occurs when the Bexar Appraisal District has assessed your property at a higher level than similar properties. Attempt to find properties which are similar with regard to location, size, year built and condition which have more favorable assessments. You can research assessment comparables on the Bexar Appraisal District website.
  • Property tax assessors sometimes selectively reappraise recently sold properties. This practice is referred to as "sales chasing" and results in unequal appraisal. Unequal appraisal can be particularly helpful for recently purchased properties. Bexar Appraisal District appraisers are reluctant to reduce the assessed value, when it is below the recent purchase price, even if it is unequally appraised. However, the impartial Bexar Appraisal Review Board is required to consider appeals on both market value and unequal appraisal.
  • Consider summarizing your assessment comparables in a table or chart. Important components of an unequal appraisal presentation include a reasonable number of comparable properties (about 2 to 10) that are appropriately adjusted. These properties are usually considered to be properties that are similar in regard to the quality and quantity of improvements.
  • Obtaining an independent appraisal can be expensive. However, in some situations (such as complex or atypical properties), it is worth the cost. Obtaining an independent appraisal can effectively document market value and will receive meaningful consideration from the Bexar Appraisal District appraiser and the Bexar Appraisal Review Board panel members.
  • Bexar Appraisal District typically values recently built properties using its estimate of construction cost. BCAD will be receptive to reducing the estimate if the actual costs were lower and can be documented. For recently built properties, the Bexar Appraisal District appraiser will want to review actual construction cost. A cost segregation report prepared by a qualified appraiser can separate personal property from real property.
  • Greet the appraiser cheerfully and enthusiastically. He is not compensated based on how much he changes assessed value. At the hearing, spend a few moments developing a rapport with the appraiser. Be polite with the appraiser - the appraiser is not opposed to reducing your property taxes.
  • Bring 5 copies of the evidence to the hearing (1 for Bexar Appraisal District appraiser, 3 for Bexar County ARB members and 1 for you). Your presentation to the Bexar County Appraisal Review Board should be kept between three to five minutes, since the entire hearing only lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
  • The Texas Legislature added binding arbitration to the Texas Property Tax Code in 2005. If you are not satisfied with your results from the appraisal review board hearing, you can request binding arbitration. When compared to a judicial appeal, advantages of binding arbitration include a lower cost, informal process, speedier resolution and the loser pays provision.
  • Binding arbitration is a new option that allows property owners an informal and inexpensive option if not satisfied with the Bexar Appraisal Review Board's decision. Binding arbitration is available for owners of properties with an assessed value of $1 million or less (after the Bexar Appraisal Review Board hearing) who are only appealing on market value. There are strict limits imposed for binding arbitration. It can be used to contest market value (after the ARB hearing) for real estate with a value of $1 million or less. It can't be used for unequal appraisal, real estate with a value of over $1 million, business personal property (BPP) or mineral interests.
  • A key benefit of hiring a property tax consultant is they appeal your property taxes each year and are only paid when successful. Although you can appeal on your own, hiring a consultant to appeal on your behalf is risk free because there is no flat fee and no upfront costs; you only pay a portion of the savings.
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