Fort Bend Central Appraisal District 2021 budget totaled $15.65 million, including $1.09 million for the Fort Bend County ARB.

The Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (FBCAD) 2021 budget of $15.65 million equates to $40.4 per tax parcel (387,316 2021 tax parcels). The FBCAD budget per tax parcel is 50% higher than the stateside average of $28 for 2021. Texas-wide appraisal district budgets were $585 million in 2021. FBCAD accounts for 2.6% of the total.

Appraisal District Budgets

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District budget per tax parcel is higher than the state average but similar to the budget per parcel for similar size counties (appraisal district in counties with similar population) The budget total is $40 per tax parcel, higher than the Texas appraisal district budget of $28 per parcel. Following are the counties with the highest appraisal district budgets.

County Budget Tax Parcels Budget per Tax Parcel
Collin 23,520,500 402,482 58
Travis 20,193,893 397,540 51
Bexar 18,841,892 721,063 26
El Paso 16,032,787 431,181 37
Fort Bend 16,032,787 431,181 37
Denton 14,232,348 448,531 32
Montgomery 11,956,326 330,288 36
Texas Total / Average 585,744,739 21,194,202 28

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District’s budget increased at 8.7% annually from 2011 to 2021. The FBCAD budget was $9.73 million in 2011 and rose to $15.65 million in 2021, a 61% increase.

Fort Bend Appraisal Review Board Budget

The Fort Bend County Appraisal Review Board budget totaled $1.09 million in 2021, higher than most similar sized counties.

Denton County 448,531 $332,645
El Paso County 431,181 $970,807
Collin County 402,482 $685,000
Fort Bend ARB 387,316 $1,090,460
Panola County 360,382 $19,000
Gregg County 354,507 $13,800
Hidalgo County 349,061 $275,000

Staffing at Fort Bend Central Appraisal District has increased substantially, from 100 in 2014 to 144 in 2021. Fort Bend Central Appraisal District employed 57 appraisers in 2021, up from 46 in 2014. Fort Bend Central Appraisal District is fully staffed in comparison to statewide appraisal district averages. Fort Bend Central Appraisal District has added 9 appraisers and 35 administrative staff since 2014.

Tax Parcels per Employee – Fort Bend Central Appraisal District versus Texas

There are 3,200 tax parcels per employee at Fort Bend Central Appraisal District versus a statewide average of 4,413 tax parcels per appraiser, both for 2021.

Tax Parcels per Appraiser – FBCAD versus Texas

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District employed 1 appraiser for every 7,467 accounts versus 8,435 statewide.

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District appraiser allocation follows:

Appraisal District Employee Allocation – FBCAD versus Texas

Statewide appraisal districts allocated their appraisers as follows:

Residential 30 53%
Commercial 11 19%
All Other 16 28%
Total 57 100%

Appraiser versus Administrative Staff at Fort Bend Central Appraisal District

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District has a higher portion of administrative / operations staff compared to appraisers, based on a statewide comparison of data compiled by the Texas Comptroller. FBCAD staff is allocated about 39% appraisers and 61% administrative. Statewide staff allocation at appraisal districts is 52% appraisers and 48% administrative.

Appraisal District Appraiser Allocation

Fort Bend County concentrates its appraisal resources more on commercial and industrial / business personal property relative to other Texas appraisal districts. Only 39% of Fort Bend County appraisers value houses while 51% of appraisers statewide focus on residential. The allocation for commercial is similar; 23% of appraisers statewide focus on commercial versus 19% of Fort Bend County appraisers working on valuing commercial. Fort Bend County allocates 28% of appraisers to industrial and business personal property versus 26% statewide. This makes sense given the massive industrial / refining / petrochemical facilities and infrastructure in Fort Bend County.

Revaluation Cycle

Fort Bend County reports they have revalued every parcel every year from 2014 to 2021. Conversely, statewide appraisal districts revalued about 80 to 90% of parcels during this period. The high frequency of tax assessment valuations differentiates Texas from most states. Most states revalue every 3 to 6 years.

Tax Levy – Fort Bend County versus Texas

The total Fort Bend County property tax levy rose from $1.44 billion in 2014 to $2.24 billion in 2021, a 56% increase. The rate of growth of property tax levy in Fort Bend County is more than double the rate of population growth, 26% during 2014 to 2021. The per capita property tax levy rose more quickly than population, indicating a high rate of property tax growth, which eventually in Senate Bill 2 which capped the property tax levy growth to 3.5% for cities and counties (3.5% plus new construction) and 2.5% for schools plus new construction.

Texas Levy Growth

Texas statewide tax levy grew from $43 billion in 2013 to $81 billion in 2021, a 69% increase or 8.6% per year, which is much faster than population growth plus inflation. This high rate of growth in the tax levy caused the tax level per person to climb an eye-popping 88% during 2013 to 2021. Senate Bill 2 pass in the 2021 legislative session should reduce the rate of per capita property tax growth.

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Fort Bend County versus Texas Per Capita Property Tax Growth

Fort Bend County’s per capita property taxes grew 25% during 2013 to 2021 versus 88% for Texas. The Fort Bend County per capita property tax grew from $1,990 in 2014 to $2,478 in 2021. The statewide per capita tax levy started lower, but the high rate of growth brought the statewide level to mirror the Fort Bend County level. Statewide property tax levy per person was $2,748 to Fort Bend County in 2021 versus $2,740 statewide in 2021.

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ARB Staffing – Fort Bend County versus Texas

Fort Bend County has a higher level of staffing for appraisal review board members compared to the statewide average. Fort Bend County Appraisal Review Board has 8,600tax parcels per appraisal review board (ARB) member versus 11,498 statewide. This makes sense since FBCAD has made liberal use of the appraisal review board.

ARB Compensation – Fort Bend County and Texaswide

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COVID Impact on Appraisal Review Board Staffing

Many, if not most, ARB members are retired. This puts them at risk of more severe health consequences if they caught COVID. Regardless, the Fort Bend County Appraisal Review Board grew from 39 in 2019 to about 45 in October 2023, a 15% reduction.

ARB Days of Hearings

Appraisal Review Boards in all counties pay appraisal review members to hear tax protests not resolved at the informal hearings. In Texas’ largest counties, the ARB meets 5 or 6 days a week for an extended period; many months. Harris County and Hays County tied for first place in highest number of ARB hearings in 2021 with 158 days of ARB hearings.

Fort Bend had 55 days of ARB hearings, consistent to most similar sized counties:

Residential 1,264 51%
Commercial 568 23%
All Other 653 26%
Total 2,485 100%

Why More ARB Hearings in Some Counties

The appraisal review board is the second of a three step process. The first two steps are the informal hearing and appraisal review board hearings, collectively referred to as “administrative hearings”. After the administrative hearings, property owners can elect: 1) binding arbitration, 2) judicial appeal, 3) State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) or do nothing. About 98% of owners elect nothing after the appraisal review board.

Practice Tip: consider continuing after the appraisal review board annually.

Appraisal districts typically have tax protests for about 10 to 25% of the tax parcels, which account for 38% of statewide value. Fort Bend County property owners file property tax protests for about 22% of tax parcels accounting for 43% of the value. More valuable homes are more likely to be protested. Most commercial, industrial, and business personal property is protested most years.

Owners Who Don’t Protest

Property owners under-represented in property tax appeals are owners of entry level and mid-range houses. There are a variety of reasons they do not protest. However, the fact that large commercial owners protest annually is indicative of their believe that annual property tax protests are the key to managing property taxes, instead of just accepting whatever value the appraisal district’s government computer spits out. However, most large commercial owners only do half the job; the administrative process.

Owners of Commercial Valued over $750,000

Most owners of commercial property should be continuing with the appeal process, past the administrative hearings (informal and appraisal review board). Chances are ~90% of another ~10% reduction based on appraisal district data compiled by the Texas Comptroller. These are not claims for our accounts. The reflect statewide aggregate judicial appeal results.

Who is Watching Your Interests?

Fort Bend Central Appraisal District has a budget of over $15.65 million, including $1.09 million for the ARB, to accurately value the 387,316 tax parcels in Fort Bend County. Fort Bend County in 2021 employed 144 total staff including 57 appraisers. The FBCAD appraisal staff attempt to accomplish the impossible; to accurately and consistently value real and personal property in Fort Bend County. So FBCAD is certainly attempting to make sure you are at 100% of market value, but what happens when they overshoot?

Can You Afford An Ally to Look Out for Your Interests?

How Can Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (FBCAD) Overvalue Property

FBCAD values 387,316 tax parcels annually using mass appraisal. At least every 3 years they “inspect” each property using aerial photography. Of course, it not possible to gain much information using aerial photography. Fort Bend Central Appraisal District uses “mass appraisal models” with incomplete property data to value property. Some properties are valued below 100% (but can still be appealed on unequal appraisal). Some properties are assessed in excess of 100% of market value.

Thought Experiment – would you make an offer to purchase a house based only on appraisal district records and an aerial photograph?

Are You Undervalued or Overvalued?

You will never really know if your property is over or under valued unless you:

  1. File a protest prior to the May 15th deadline each year,
  2. Request the hearing evidence the appraisal district plans to use at the hearing (this also freezes the information they can use),
  3. Prepare for and attend informal hearing (~70 to 90% resolved with a reduction), and
  4. Continue to the appraisal review board and beyond if necessary.

Practice tip: you property tax assessment can not be raised during an informal or appraisal review board hearing.

What does FBCAD Valuation at 100% Mean?

When Fort Bend Central Appraisal District values properties with a median level of assessment of 100% (relative to market value), it means:

  • Half of all properties have a market value higher than market value. When arrayed in a graph showing the relationship of the FBCAD value and market value, the data is represented in a bell curve. Some are just a bit low, and some are double market value and higher.
  • The ~50% valued at under market value are still prime for protest on both market value and unequal appraisal. When you file you protest, ask the appraisal district to send you the hearing evidence package. In most cases, the FBCAD comparable sales data will contain at least a few comparable sales that are helpful. If not, search your street, and neighborhood if necessary, for assessment comparable that support a reduction.
  • You can protest by either market value (they valued your property at more than it true market value) or unequal appraisal. The concept that a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted indicates a lower value. Regardless of the basis of protest, the impact of a lower tax assessment reduces property taxes.

What if You Don’t Have Time or the Temperament to Protest?

Hire us or a competitor. Analysis documents that people who protest consistently pay less property taxes, and the reduction in one year is often impactful in negotiations for following years by reducing the base value.

Benefits of O’Connor:

  • No flat fee, no upfront cost, no filing fees EVER. Just pay a portion of your savings.
  • Enroll on-line in 3 minutes; no fees and no credit card. Or call us if you prefer.
  • You can speak to a live person at O’Connor. Trained property tax experts answer your calls about 99% of the time. During the week of October 2 to 6, our customer service team answered 1210 inbound calls and only 10 calls were not answered.
  • O’Connor does more tax appeals in Texas than any other firm, handling appeals about 180 counties. We believe we are the most aggressive, often employing binding arbitration, coordinating judicial appeals, and also using State Office of Administrative Appeals.

Our core purpose at O’Connor: improving the lives of property owners through cost effective tax reduction. In 2023 alone, we saved property owners $220 million in property taxes. and $400 million in federal income taxes by preparing cost segregation reports to increase property owners depreciation (non-cash expense), thus reducing their federal and state income taxes.

Enroll now button / call to action- need call to action above the fold (on first page), at bottom and 1 or two others in between. No upfront fee and no flat fee ever. Just pay a portion of savings in years when we reduce your property taxes.

Source: Appraisal district assessment and protest data from Texas Comptroller. Tax savings are estimated based on 2.7% tax rate and no exemptions or homestead caps. O’Connor is a private company specializing in tax reduction and is not affiliated with the Texas Comptroller or any government entity or appraisal district.

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Property Tax Protection Program Benefits
  • No flat fees or upfront costs. No cost ever unless your property taxes are reduced.
  • All practical efforts are made every year to reduce your property taxes.
  • Never miss another appeal deadline.
  • Property taxes protested for you annually.
  • You do not have to accept the appraisal district's initial guesstimate of value.
  • We coordinate with you regarding building size / condition to avoid excess taxes.
  • Free support regarding homestead exemptions.
  • Some years are good - typically 6 to 7 out of 10 will result in tax reduction for you.
  • The other 3 to 4 years out of 10 we strike out. Most often due to people issues in the hearing process. Some years we get an easy appraiser at the informal; some years someone who is impossible to settle with.
County Tax Parcels Days of 2021 ARB Hearings
Denton 448,531 67
El Paso 431,191 97
Collin 402,482 52
Fort Bend 387,316 55
Panola 360,382 4
Gregg 354,507 11
Hidalgo 345,061 58