Take this quick quiz and see what you know about the new law

To note: This Watchdog report was originally published on January 3, 2020. We’re sharing it again because a new state property tax law went into effect, and this quiz covers the highlights. Learn about this and more at The Watchdog’s 5th Annual Free Property Tax Protest Webinar at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Register for the webinar here. Go back and read stories in The Watchdog’s Property Tax Archive here.

The state’s most important law passed last year now goes into effect. Test your knowledge of the new Texas property tax law here.

If you follow The Watchdog, you should get a high score. Answers below.

1. The new property tax bill will reduce your 2020 tax bill by: a) $1,500 on average, b) 10%, c) probably not much, if anything, as it is designed to slow large increases rather than to impose significant reductions.

2. Apartment dwellers, even if they do not own their homes, are affected because: a) landlords generally pass property tax increases on to tenants in the form of rent increases, b) l The state has created a new property tax on apartments that should show on rent bills next month, c) people who live in apartments must file for an exemption.

3. True or false? Large cities, counties and school districts that want to raise taxes by a large amount must now automatically seek permission from voters.

4. To increase voter turnout, any tax approval election must be held: a) the first Saturday in May, b) the second Saturday in May, c) during the regular November general election date.

5. A benefit for property tax protesters under the new law is that property owners are entitled to a copy of any information an assessment district will offer at a hearing. To obtain these records, you must: a) pay $25, b) apply for them, c) file an open records request at City Hall.

6. True or false? An assessment review board cannot increase the assessed value of a property of a person who showed up for a protest hearing.

7. In the past, the level of a government’s tax rate that would have generated the same amount of revenue as it collected the previous year was called the effective tax rate. To clarify, the legislators changed the term to: a) tax rate without new income, b) TIL for the level of tax increase, c) tax equalization rate.

8. If a city or county wants to raise taxes by more than 3.5%, or if a school district wants a 2.5% increase, local government leaders voting to approve must: a) cast a 60 % of the board, b) post a video on their website explaining the increase, c) send a postcard to each owner announcing a public hearing.

9. True or false? Due to an injection of public funds into school districts, your school-related property taxes will actually drop 8 cents for every $100 of assessment this year and 13 cents in 2021.

10. True or false? The Robin Hood plan that required wealthy school districts to send money to poorer districts remains unchanged.

11. Under the new law, rating review committee members and arbitrators who hear protests must: a) obtain a license, b) undergo mandatory training, c) serve under new term limits.

12. True or false? From now on, a person cannot work for an assessment district if he is a civil servant or employee of a government within the territory of the assessment district.

13. The new law involves the Office of the State Comptroller in the process by requiring the Comptroller to: a) write a new property tax manual to standardize the process, b) collect public feedback, c) make the of them.

14. To notify property owners of qualifying tax exemptions, Assessment Districts must for the first time: a) notify you by mail or email of qualifying properties or other exemptions, b) call you by telephone for you inform, c) send an appraiser to examine your property and ask you to sign papers.

15. True or false? A county chief assessor must now post a public list on the district’s website of people who can provide free tax assistance in the event of a property tax protest. They may be real estate brokers or agents, real estate appraisers and property tax advisers.

16. School districts are permitted to increase the tax rate to this level without making a tax approval election: a) 2.5%, b) 3.5%, c: 5%.

17. Major cities and counties are allowed to raise the tax rate to this level without holding a tax approval election: a) 2.5%, b) 3.5%, c: 5% .

18. To win rural legislator votes, the new law gives smaller cities and counties an advantage by: rather citizens request one, b) allowing them to cut off the farm exemption, c) exempting them completely from the new law.

19. The deadline for filing your residential protest is: a) May 15, b) May 30, c) May 15 or 30 days after the mailing of the notice of your assessed value.

20. One of the main objectives of the new law is to a) slow the growth of tax increases over time, b) bring more transparency and fairness to the process, c) both.

Answers: 1-c; 2-a; 3-True; 4-c; 5-b; 6-True; 7-a; 8-a; 9-True; 10-False; 11-b; 12-True; 13-c; 14-a; 15-True; 16-a; 17-b; 18-a; 19-c; 20-c.

How did you do?

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