Why Are Property Taxes So High in Texas?
The three key reasons for Texas’ high property taxes are:
- The state has no personal income tax.
- Local taxing authorities set their own property tax rates.
- Appraisal values on real estate continually go up.
Because there is no income tax, every county relies heavily on property taxes to fund essential public services, such as schools and police and fire departments. Texans definitely enjoy the lack of income tax, but why are Texas property taxes so high? That money has to come from somewhere. And, since different localities have different needs (and can make their own decisions on how to appraise real estate and other taxed property), rates vary wildly even across the state itself.
Are Texas Property Taxes Too High?
When compared to other states, Texas property taxes are significantly higher. While the national average tends to fall between 1.08% and 1.21%, Texas’ average effective property tax rate is above 1.83%. On top of that, the state sales tax rate is 6.25%. According to the Tax Foundation, that makes the overall state and local tax burden for Texas 7.6%. So, are Texas property taxes too high? That’s a matter of perspective, but they’re undoubtedly high, and there’s a reason so many residents are concerned about facing delinquency.
Five of the Highest Property Taxes in Texas by County
Below, you’ll find Texas’ highest property tax rates by county. While we’ve done our best to include accurate information, be sure to check the official website of your local appraisal district or Tax Collector-Assessor for the most up-to-date information as it does change year to year.
Harris County: 2.09%
Harris County, which includes Houston and its neighboring areas, has an average effective property tax rate of 2.09% — much of which goes to the school districts. Harris is the most populous county in Texas, with over 4,090,000 people and has a median home value of $154,100.
Tarrant County: 2.16%
Next up is Tarrant County, with an average rate of 2.16%. Plenty of the cities there have higher rates individually, with the city of Mansfield topping them all at 2.47% — even higher than Fort Worth and Arlington. The median home value is about $158,200, and the population sits above 1,800,000.
El Paso County: 2.22%
With a population of more than 800,000, El Paso County’s average effective property tax rate is 2.22%. While the median home value is $116,600, which is lower than the national average, the average homeowner pays hundreds of dollars more than the typical American — a perfect example of Texas’ high property taxes.
Webb County: 2.22%
Tied with El Paso, Webb County also has a rate of 2.22%. However, the median home value is a bit lower at $115,500 — and the population is much lower at around 250,000 people. While more populous areas tend to have higher rates, Webb County is proof that that’s not always the case in the Lone Star State.
Fort Bend County: 2.23%
Finally, the county with the highest property tax in Texas is Fort Bend at an average rate of 2.23% — about double the national average. A lot of this comes from various special tax districts that impose specific levies. Fort Bend County has more than 811,000 people and a median home value of $233,300.
While we’ve chosen to display this information by county, it bears noting that the tax rates also vary by city within these counties. Additionally, Texas’ highest property tax rates tend to be in large metropolitan areas that may span across multiple counties. For instance, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex covers 11 different counties.
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