Image: The home at 12805 Pearson Road in Montgomery is for sale at $3.9 million, but the homeowners only pay taxes on an assessed valuation of $825,000.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, May 5 – Irregular and unfair taxation symbolizes property taxation more than anything else. Rather than valuing properties on their basis, such as the purchase price, appraisal districts each year re-appraise to determine the level of taxation on each property. That’s precisely where intense politics comes into play and where the policy-setting Board of Directors of Appraisal Districts have so much influence.
It’s bad enough that government entities, such as school districts and the Montgomery County government, tend to hide behind appraisal district increases in property tax valuation, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual fair market value of a property. The politics tends to override fairness, which is the reason it’s not surprising that former Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal initially enjoyed a tax valuation about one-sixth the value of his home, until this newspaper discovered and disclosed to the world that corruption. Uneven and intensely political tax valuations run rampant in Texas localities.
The Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD) with a politically-charged Board of Directors under the leadership of taxation icon Bruce Tough, who at one time served on a school district board and on the Woodlands Township Board, is no exception to the corruption of property tax appraisals.
This article focuses on one example, which a local realtor brought to The Golden Hammer‘s attention: 12805/12801 Pearson Road, Montgomery, Texas 77356.
The homeowners, Dennis and Becky Mathews, enjoy a main house of 5,774 square feet, a separate guest house of 1,082 square feet, a pristine barn, two ponds, and many other amenities on 30 acres. In fact, in their listing for the sale of this home, which is an active listing, the Mathews describe the property as follows:
“Exclusive and unique Montgomery county property. Gated entrance off of Pearson Road. Secluded behind a buffer of trees. Custom 2005 Jim Morris built 5,774 square foot home with 3 bedrooms, a media room, large office, sewing/craft room and screened in back porch with an outdoor kitchen that looks over the swimming pool. A butler’s pantry and wet bar are near the media room. Separate air conditioned exercise room located off the master bedroom with it’s own bathroom/shower. The pool has a beach entry, waterfall and recessed diving board. The house is surrounded with first class landscaping with a long concrete drive nestled between green pastures. 4 Car garage attached. Separate guest house. 1,100 sq/ft with 2 bedrooms and one bath. 5 stall barn with a one bedroom one bath living area on the second floor. Large barn, two ponds and scattered hardwoods throughout. Well manicured pasture with frontage on FM 1097. Currently used for cattle and horses. Beautiful rolling terrain.”
The home is for sale for $3,950,000.00. The MCAD, however, has appraised the property for $825,510. The 1 acre homesite has a tax appraisal of $823,970, but the 30 acres which include the rolling terrain, 5-stall barn with one bedroom apartment, two ponds, and scattered hardwoods with frontage on FM 1097, a major thoroughfare with intense commercial development, has a tax appraisal of $1,540.
You read that correctly. $1,540. The 30 acres enjoys an agricultural exemption mostly as a timber property, which seems strange, because there really aren’t that many trees if one looks carefully.
Clearly, the homeowners themselves don’t believe the tax appraisal of approximately $825,000 is an accurate assessment of the value of their property. Nevertheless, the MCAD has followed its politically-charged policy to raise taxes on other homes rather than assessing properties with higher values and likely more political influence.
Obviously, this newspaper opposes taxation of all sorts and more directly government spending. Nevertheless, this property reveals the political nature of property taxation and illustrates an important reason that it’s one of the most regressive and unfair forms of taxation available in the arsenal of money-hungry governmental entities.