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Smith CAD
245 SSE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75702
Phone: (903) 510-8600
Fax: (903) 510-8621

FAQ

For an overview of how Smith County Appraisal District values property, see our online brochure.
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General
What is the Smith County Appraisal District's role in the tax system?
Who are the Board of Directors?
Who sets the tax rates?
What are the taxes on this property? How much are my taxes?
How can I change my mailing address? Can you change my mailing address by phone?
How do I apply for exemptions?
Is it true that once I become 65 years of age, I will not have to pay any more taxes?
Why did my value change?
What is fair market value?
How did SCAD arrive at my value?
Why did I not receive a Notice of Appraised Value this year?
I am over 65 years of age. Are my taxes frozen?
My property value has increased by more than 10%. I thought it was limited.
How do I protest my value?
What is the Appraisal Review Board?


Agriculture
What are the 1d1 Agricultural Appraisal requirements?
What are Rollback Taxes?
What qualifies for Timberland Appraisal?
What are the requirements for the Wildlife Management Use Appraisal?


Business Personal Property
What is a rendition for Business Personal Property?
Who must file a rendition?
What types of property must be rendered?
Which forms will I need to file?
When and where must the rendition be filed?
What will the appraisal district do with my rendition?
Is my information confidential?
How do I determine original cost?
What happens if I do not file a rendition, or file it late?
If I cannot file the rendition on time, what should I do?


 

General

What is the Smith County Appraisal District's role in the tax system?
There are three main steps to the property tax system in Texas:
The appraisal district in each county sets the value of property each year;
An Appraisal Review Board settles disagreements between property owners and the appraisal district about property values and exemptions; they also make determinations on challenges initiated by taxing units; and
local taxing units, which include the county, city, school district, and other special districts, decide how much money they will spend. This, in turn, determines the total amount of taxes that property owners must pay.


Who are the Board of Directors?
The Board of Directors is comprised of seven members and one "ex officio" member who govern the operation of the appraisal district by setting policies, adopting a budget, approving contracts, etc. The County Tax Assessor/Collector, by law, serves as the ex officio member of the Board. The remaining seven members must meet eligibility requirements. To be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors, the individuals must be residents of the district and have resided in the district for at least two years immediately preceding the date the individuals take office. Board members serve two-year terms beginning on January 1 of even numbered years.


Who sets the tax rates?
The governing body (city council, school board, county commissioners) of each taxing entity sets the rates for their jurisdiction.


What are the taxes on this property? How much are my taxes?
SCAD DOES NOT levy taxes, set the tax rate or collect any taxes. An unofficial estimate of taxes appears on the SCAD website. Official tax levies are available from the appropriate Tax Assessor/Collector.


How can I change my mailing address? Can you change my mailing address by phone?
You will need to send us something in writing indicating the correct address for your property along with a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

Mail to:
Smith County Appraisal District
245 SSE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75702

or email inquiry@scad.org.

How do I apply for exemptions?
Exemption applications are available through the SCAD Inquiry office and can be picked up between 8 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Our address is 245 SSE Loop 323 Tyler, TX 75702. You may also have an application mailed to you by calling our Inquiry office at (903) 510-8600. An exemption application can be found on the Forms section of this site.


Is it true that once I become 65 years of age, I will not have to pay any more taxes?
No, that is not necessarily true. The amount of the exemptions that are granted by each taxing entity is subtracted from the market value of your residence and the taxes are calculated on that "lower value." In addition, when you turn 65, your taxes for the school district in which you reside are frozen at the level established during the first year of qualification for the senior citizen exemption.

Some taxing jurisdictions other than school districts may also offer a tax ceiling. Call our Inquiry Department at 903-510-8600 if you have questions about this.


Why did my value change?
Value changes may occur for several reasons:

  1. The correction of the database, such as a change in square footage, a pool not previously accounted for or a correction of property characteristics.
  2. A value may be changed for equalization purposes.
  3. Sales information may indicate the current appraised value is lower/higher than fair market value.

What is fair market value?
Fair market value means the price at which a property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions if:

  1. The property is 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.

How did SCAD arrive at my value?
Utilizing comparable sales, income and/or cost data, a SCAD appraiser applied generally accepted appraisal techniques to derive a value for your property.


Why did I not receive a Notice of Appraised Value this year?
Usually you will only receive a Notice of Appraised Value if you rendered your property, if there was a value change in excess of $1000 or if there was an ownership change.


I am over 65 years of age. Are my taxes frozen?
You may receive a “tax ceiling” for your total school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your home cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home.  The tax ceiling is set at the amount you pay in the year that you qualify for the over-65 homeowner exemption.  Other taxing units may adopt a tax ceiling.  Please contact the Appraisal District if you have questions concerning this issue.  Tax ceilings can go up if you significantly improve your home (other than by ordinary repairs and maintenance). For example, if you add a swimming pool, a garage, a storage building, a room to your home, or significantly remodel your home, your tax ceiling can rise.  It will also change if you move to a new home.


My property value has increased by more than 10%. I thought it was limited.
Residential property owners have available a limit on the percent of increase of their home that will be subject to property tax. This provision went into effect beginning with the 1998 tax year. This limited appraised value is commonly referred to as the 10% Residential Cap.

This provision is only available to property owners who have qualified their home under the homestead property tax exemption. To be eligible the owner must have qualified for a homestead on the property in the prior tax year.

Property owners who have recently purchased their home and are qualifying for a homestead exemption on this property for the first year will not be eligible for a capped value.

Although the market value may increase more than 10% in a year, property that qualified for a capped value will have its limited appraised value established at a value not to exceed 110% of the prior year's appraised value. A property owner's tax bill will be calculated on the basis of the new capped value.

So long as the property owner qualifies, the capped value will be calculated for subsequent years. The basis for the capped value is always determined by the prior year's appraised value. The capped value can increase if you add improvements to your home (i.e. adding a garage, room or pool).


What is the Appraisal Review Board?
If you can't resolve your problem informally with the appraisal district staff, you may have your case heard by the appraisal review board (ARB).
The ARB is an independent board of citizens that reviews problems with appraisals or other concerns listed above. It has the power to make the necessary changes to solve problems. If you file a written request for an ARB hearing before the deadline, the ARB will set your case for a hearing. You'll receive written notice of the time, date and place of the hearing. Prior to your hearing, you may ask to review the evidence the appraisal district will use to uphold their determination.
The appraisal district may ask you for a copy of the evidence you plan to present. The hearing will be informal. You or a designated agent may appear in person to present evidence or you may send notarized evidence for the ARB to review at your hearing. The appraisal district representative will present evidence about your case. You may cross-examine the appraisal district representative. The ARB will make its decision based on the evidence presented. The appraisal district has the burden of establishing the property's value by a preponderance of the evidence presented. You should not try to contact ARB members outside of the hearing. The law requires ARB members to sign an affidavit saying that they have not talked about your case before the ARB hears it.

 



Agriculture

What are the 1d1 Agricultural Appraisal requirements?
The Comptroller's Manual for the Appraisal of Agricultural Land (PDF) explains the eligibility requirements and the appraisal procedures for agricultural land, as provided by Tax Code Chapter 23, Subchapters C and D, and is adopted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts under Comptroller Rule 9.4001 as required by Tax Code Section 23.52(d).

Property owners may qualify for agricultural appraisal if land meets the following criteria:

  • The land must be currently devoted principally to agricultural use. Agricultural use includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops, raising or keeping livestock, poultry, fish or planting cover crops. It also can include leaving the land idle while participating in a government program or for normal crop or livestock rotation. Land used for raising certain exotic animals (including exotic birds) to produce human food or other items of commercial value qualifies. Cutting wood for use in fences or structures on adjacent agricultural land also qualifies;
  • Using land for wildlife management is an agricultural use, if such land was previously qualified open-space land or timberland and is actively used for wildlife management. Wildlife management land must be used in at least three of seven specific ways to propagate a sustaining breeding, migrating or wintering population of indigenous wild animals for human use;
  • Agricultural land must be currently devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area;
  • The land must have been devoted to agricultural or timber production for at least five of the past seven years. However, land within an incorporated city or town must meet not only the criteria applicable to 1-d-1 land but also must meet one of the following additional criteria:
    • The city or town must not provide the land with general services comparable to those provided in other parts of the city or town having similar features and population.
    • The land must have been devoted principally to agricultural use continuously for the preceding five years.
    • The land has been devoted principally to agricultural use or to the production of timber or forest products continuously for the preceding five years and the land is used for wildlife management.

The application for special appraisal as land qualified open-space agricultural use is Application for 1-d-1 (Open-Space) Agricultural / Timber Appraisal (PDF). The application for special appraisal of land based on its capacity to produce agricultural products is Form 50-165, Application for 1-d Agricultural Appraisal (PDF). The application for special appraisal for ecological laboratories is Form 50-166, Application for Open Space Land Appraisal for Ecological Laboratories (PDF).


What are Rollback Taxes?
If land receiving an agricultural appraisal changes to a non-agricultural use, the property owner who changes the use will owe a rollback tax. The rollback tax is due for each of the previous three years in which the land got the lower appraisal. The rollback tax is the difference between the taxes paid on the land's agricultural value and the taxes that would have been paid if the land had been taxed on its higher market value.

Exceptions to the rollback tax for change of use may include the following if they meet certain criteria:


What qualifies for Timberland Appraisal?
Productivity value for timberland is based on land's ability to produce timber products (productivity value) and is usually lower than market value. The Comptroller's Manual for the Appraisal of Timberland (PDF) discusses the eligibility requirements for timberland to qualify for productivity appraisal and the methodology for appraising qualified timberland, and is adopted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts under Comptroller Rule 9.4011 as required by Tax Code Section 23.73(b).

The application for special appraisal as qualified timberland is Form 50-167, Application for 1-d-1 (Open-Space) Timberland Appraisal (PDF). The application for special appraisal as restricted use timberland is Form 50-281, Application for Restricted-Use Timberland Appraisal (PDF).


What are the requirements for the Wildlife Management Use Appraisal?
The Comptroller's Guidelines for Qualification of Agricultural Land in Wildlife Management Use (PDF) discuss the requirements that land must meet to qualify for wildlife management use to permit special agricultural appraisal, as provided by Tax Code Section 23.521, and are adopted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts under Comptroller Rules 9.2001-9.2005.

Wildlife Management Planning Guidelines and Forms, including the required management plan, and other useful information are available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.




Business Personal Property


What is a rendition for Business Personal Property?
A rendition is simply a form that provides the appraisal district with the description, location, cost and acquisition dates for personal property that you own. The appraisal district uses the information to help estimate the market value of your property for taxation purposes.


Who must file a rendition?
Renditions must be filed By:

  1. Owners of tangible personal property that is used for the production of income (see: What types of property must be rendered)
  2. Owners of tangible personal property on which an exemption has been cancelled or denied.

What types of property must be rendered?
For taxation purposes, there are two basic types of property: real property (land, buildings, and other items attached to land) and personal property (property that can be owned and is not permanently attached to the land or building such as inventory, furniture, fixtures, equipment and machinery). Business owners are required by state law to render personal property that is used in a business or used to produce income. This property includes furniture and fixtures, equipment, machinery, computers, inventory held for sale or rental, raw materials, finished goods, and work in process. You are not required to render intangible personal property (property that can be owned but do not have a physical form) such as cash, accounts receivable, goodwill, application computer software, and other similar items. If your organization has previously qualified for an exemption that applies to personal property, for example, a religious or charitable organization exemption, you are not required to render the exempt property.


Which forms will I need to file?
A rendition form can be obtained from the Appraisal District. Forms


When and where must the rendition be filed?
The last day to file your rendition is April 15 annually. If you mail your rendition, it must be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before April 15. If you hand deliver it or use a private delivery service such as Federal Express, it must be physically received in our office before close of business (4:30PM) on April 15.
Renditions for property located in the Smith County Appraisal District’s jurisdiction must be filed with the Appraisal District office. Our address for the general rendition is Smith County Appraisal District, Business Personal Property Division, 245 SSE Loop 323 Tyler, TX 75702.

What will the appraisal district do with my rendition?
Your rendition will be analyzed along with other information we collect on similar businesses, to develop an estimate of value for your property.


Is my information confidential?
Yes. Information contained in a rendition cannot be disclosed to third parties except in very limited circumstances. In addition, the Texas Property Tax Code specifically provides that any estimate of value you provide is not admissible in proceedings other than a protest to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) or court proceedings related to penalties for failure to render. The final value we place on your property is public information, but your rendition is not.


How do I determine original cost?
To determine original cost, you need to refer to your accounting records, such as original journal entries and account ledgers. Use original purchase documents, such as invoices or purchase orders to determine the original cost of the asset. You need to add all costs attributed to getting the asset functioning, such as freight and set-up cost


What happens if I do not file a rendition, or file it late?
If you do not file a rendition, the appraised value of your property will be based on an appraiser's estimate using comparable business types. In addition, if you fail to file your rendition before the deadline or you do not file it at all, a penalty equal to 10% of the amount of taxes ultimately imposed on the property will be levied against you. There is also a 50% penalty if a court finds you engaged in fraud or other actions with the intent to evade taxes.


If I cannot file the rendition on time, what should I do?
The law provides for an extension of time to file a rendition. In order to receive the extension, you must submit the request to the Smith County Appraisal District in writing before the April 15 rendition filing deadline. The rendition filing extension will be for an additional 30 days, with the new filing deadline being May 15.

 



The Protest Process

Informal Review
Please visit our office if you believe your appraisal is in excess of fair market value or is of unequal value.  A member of the appraisal staff will review your property record with you. The appraiser will make an immediate adjustment if an error affecting value is determined. The law gives property owners the right to protest actions concerning their property tax appraisals including:

  • Value placed on your property;
  • Inclusion of your property on the appraisal roll;
  • Qualification for an agricultural or timber appraisal;
  • Unequal appraisal of your property;
  • Any exemptions that may apply to you;
  • Ownership of property;
  • Any action taken by the appraisal district or appraisal review board that adversely affects you;

Appraisal Review Board
If you can't resolve your problem informally with the appraisal district staff, you may have your case heard by the appraisal review board (ARB).
The ARB is an independent board of citizens that reviews problems with appraisals or other concerns listed above. It has the power to make the necessary changes to solve problems. If you file a written request for an ARB hearing before the deadline, the ARB will set your case for a hearing. You'll receive written notice of the time, date and place of the hearing. Prior to your hearing, you may ask to review the evidence the appraisal district will use to uphold their determination.
The appraisal district may ask you for a copy of the evidence you plan to present. The hearing will be informal. You or a designated agent may appear in person to present evidence or you may send notarized evidence for the ARB to review at your hearing. The appraisal district representative will present evidence about your case. You may cross-examine the appraisal district representative. The ARB will make its decision based on the evidence presented. The appraisal district has the burden of establishing the property's value by a preponderance of the evidence presented. You should not try to contact ARB members outside of the hearing. The law requires ARB members to sign an affidavit saying that they have not talked about your case before the ARB hears it.


Deadline For Filing Protest
The deadline for filing protests with the ARB is on or before May 31 or 30 days after a notice of appraised value was mailed to you, whichever is later. Late protests are allowed if you miss the usual deadline for good cause. Good cause is some reason beyond your control, like a medical emergency. The ARB decides whether you have good cause. Late protests are due the day before the appraisal review board approves records for the year.

For change of use (the appraisal district informed you that you are losing agricultural appraisal because you changed the use of your land), the deadline is before the 30th day after the notice of the determination was mailed to you.
If you believe the appraisal district or ARB should have sent you a notice and did not, you may file a protest until the day before taxes become delinquent, which is usually February 1st. The ARB decides whether it will hear your case based on evidence about whether a required notice was mailed to you.


Payment of Taxes
If you appeal and your case is pending, you must pay the lesser of the amount of taxes due on the portion of the taxable value not in dispute or the amount of taxes due on the property under the order from which the appeal is taken.