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Old 11-30-2018, 11:31 AM   #1
batmaninja
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Default Building on raw land and the tax consequences

Wanted to see if I could get some opinions from the campfire crew.

I am working through building a cabin in Gillespie County. Recently had a well dug and am in the process of working with a local retired plumber to get the plumbing run in the cabin. I know that digging the well pinged with a few local authorities, even had the Hill Country Underground water authority call me so they could inspect the well. I know of 4 other wells that are being dug off of the dirt road that I am on, and I want to say 3 different very large homes are being built. Plumber is telling me that the appraisal district is flying properties with drones to keep up with the development, I know of other counties that use a Google Earth type program to do the same.

I am starting to worry about what the cabin will do to my property taxes. I have a wildlife exemption and honestly pay very little in taxes. And I hope that I can keep it that way. Just wanted to see what other ran into tax wise when they built on their property. One thought is to not have indoor plumbing so that I can make a better argumnet of it being a ďcabinĒ and not a house. It is a 16x40 footprint, open floor plan, with no real bedrooms. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:40 AM   #2
Stolle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Wanted to see if I could get some opinions from the campfire crew.

I am working through building a cabin in Gillespie County. Recently had a well dug and am in the process of working with a local retired plumber to get the plumbing run in the cabin. I know that digging the well pinged with a few local authorities, even had the Hill Country Underground water authority call me so they could inspect the well. I know of 4 other wells that are being dug off of the dirt road that I am on, and I want to say 3 different very large homes are being built. Plumber is telling me that the appraisal district is flying properties with drones to keep up with the development, I know of other counties that use a Google Earth type program to do the same.

I am starting to worry about what the cabin will do to my property taxes. I have a wildlife exemption and honestly pay very little in taxes. And I hope that I can keep it that way. Just wanted to see what other ran into tax wise when they built on their property. One thought is to not have indoor plumbing so that I can make a better argumnet of it being a ďcabinĒ and not a house. It is a 16x40 footprint, open floor plan, with no real bedrooms. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
We ran into the same thing. When we bought the property our taxes were $65 a year. A few years later the appraisal district found the cabin that was on the property for years and our taxes went up. They carve out an acre of land and tax you separately on that acre that has the cabin. So our property with wildlife exemption is still $65 a year and the one acre and cabin is $1400. Ours was a 32x20 cabin when we bought the place. We have added a skinning shed 45x20(20x12 enclosed under the roof) this is what we are currently taxed on. We recently added another 24x20 to the existing cabin. Hope it takes them a few years to find it
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:51 AM   #3
batmaninja
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Much appreciated Stolle. My current taxes are $97/year.

Any idea on how they came up with the value of your improvements? It cost me about $25K to build what I have (not counting the well), and I am hoping that I can use that as the value of the improvements. Think it helps any to tell them about it, or just let them find it on their own?
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Much appreciated Stolle. My current taxes are $97/year.

Any idea on how they came up with the value of your improvements? It cost me about $25K to build what I have (not counting the well), and I am hoping that I can use that as the value of the improvements. Think it helps any to tell them about it, or just let them find it on their own?
Just let them find it on their own, and they will. They'll put a value on it and if it's not to your liking then go protest it. Normally they come in lower than you think.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Much appreciated Stolle. My current taxes are $97/year.

Any idea on how they came up with the value of your improvements? It cost me about $25K to build what I have (not counting the well), and I am hoping that I can use that as the value of the improvements. Think it helps any to tell them about it, or just let them find it on their own?
Let them find it on their own and then protest them later if you feel they're too high. Most protests are accomplished by showing them "comps" or comparable properties, which is probably difficult in rural areas. Cost of improvements might be another route but probably a less desirable option because as you probably know, the cost of the materials does not equate to value of the materials as constructed.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:10 PM   #6
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Just build underground
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:30 PM   #7
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Just let them find it on their own, and they will. They'll put a value on it and if it's not to your liking then go protest it. Normally they come in lower than you think.
this.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:35 PM   #8
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Do they get to come inside to see how nice of a cabin? Or just based on outside building materials, known improvements like water electric, and SF of the building?

If you let them "find it on their own" can they come after you for back tax? Say it takes them 3-4 years but they look on google earth and can confirm it has been there the 3-4 years? Then slam you with 4 years of tax at one time.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:39 PM   #9
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I have 217 acres and have it on timber exemption. I built a 1200 sq ft house on it and put up a 20'x40' carport with a slab. When they connected the dots my taxes went up to over $2K a year. If I had it to do over I would just invite them down to take a look. I think there might be a little "get even with the landowner" at work. I've since sold the place, to close in late December, so I'm not worried about it now, but if I ever do it again, I might just do what Efren said. I've always wanted an underground house anyway.

Edit: Where I live we have 84 acres and 2,600 sq ft under roof and my taxes are cheaper here than they are in Rusk Co. Go figure !

Last edited by Drycreek3189; 11-30-2018 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:42 PM   #10
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I don't know if they can back tax you or not. They only started taxing me after they found it.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:56 PM   #11
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Hide the air conditioning unit. Barn buildings will be reclassified. Also, a poured floor gets them going.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:59 PM   #12
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Do yourself a favor and submit to county that it will only be a shell... there is a standard icc building code that most city's counties will follow to issue you u the permit.
I did mine and went with bare shell no insulation just storage shop with lighting.
Heres the spec sheet as of earlier this yr.. with an example of how they calculate the permit cost..
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:01 PM   #13
M16
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They found my stuff at the South Texas ranch about 12 years after I built it. They just sent a bill for the current year. I felt real bad about them loosing around 25k dollars. But not bad enough to write them a check.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:05 PM   #14
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If u show it as nothing more than a utility shed then it wont hit the radar and trigger a later inspection that will reveal your buildout inside later
Also if u can just build a pole barn style with no floor u can easily go back after permit is done and final coo is issued and have your plumber run pipe etc and use a pump truck to pour the slab afterward...lots of ppl do this

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Old 11-30-2018, 03:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Much appreciated Stolle. My current taxes are $97/year.

Any idea on how they came up with the value of your improvements? It cost me about $25K to build what I have (not counting the well), and I am hoping that I can use that as the value of the improvements. Think it helps any to tell them about it, or just let them find it on their own?
I'm not sure how they came up with the value, but it seams to be in line of what we have out there. I'm not going to ask since we have made more improvements.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:56 PM   #16
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Thank you for all of the responses. Some good info to chew on.

Since I know they already know about the well, and I am going to run a water trough before ever connecting it to the house. I am going to tell them about that through my annual Wildlife report. With all of the rock in the area, I plan on running a "poor boy" septic, so I would prefer to keep the inspections to a minimum.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Thank you for all of the responses. Some good info to chew on.

Since I know they already know about the well, and I am going to run a water trough before ever connecting it to the house. I am going to tell them about that through my annual Wildlife report. With all of the rock in the area, I plan on running a "poor boy" septic, so I would prefer to keep the inspections to a minimum.
Itís easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
This is Texas, get with it
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:15 PM   #18
1riot1ranger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Thank you for all of the responses. Some good info to chew on.

Since I know they already know about the well, and I am going to run a water trough before ever connecting it to the house. I am going to tell them about that through my annual Wildlife report. With all of the rock in the area, I plan on running a "poor boy" septic, so I would prefer to keep the inspections to a minimum.
just curious, what do you do for a "poor boy" septic? I've seen some different designs and had one on another place but, never built one. I'm going to do something similar with a small metal barn/living area
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:42 PM   #19
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Travel trailer will save you lots
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:43 PM   #20
batmaninja
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I dont really know. But have been looking on youtube and pinterest, and will probably end up combining a few ideas. Nothing I see online has anyone working in the amount of rock that I have.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:04 PM   #21
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They base it on the sq/ft of the building. At least most counties do.

Good luck. I know there are a few on TBH that bought crap land, improved it on their own dime (or hundreds of thousands) and then had to pay stupid high taxes because they fixed it up.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:57 PM   #22
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Here's a suggestion....
*As long as you maintain your Ag Exemption per guidelines it will continue
*ANY residential building you do will be evaluated and taxed per COUNTY tax regulations. You can still claim up to 1 acre where your home sits for Homestead Exemption. This will NOT disqualify your AG exemption unless the ONE acre Homestead subtracts from the acreage specified for AG exemption per the county your are in.
*They are NOT allowed to come inside your residence, rather from my experience they will visit, unannounced and see what has been added...Hood County based.
***If you put up additional "out buildings....Barn, Game Room, Shop, etc., this is what I did and it saved $$$."

**I had a 14x32 shop, 14x40 game room and a 24x32 guest house/storage...these were the delivered structures and left on skids. Just like a mobile, if they are not on a foundation and anchored to the dirt...well...the way to go.

Just some thoughts but been there and done that...do your research and discount most of what you get for advice..including mine, lol! But, hopefully it at least provides you some ideas and options...WHEN you get the REAL story from your county appraisers office.

Good Luck
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:00 PM   #23
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I’ve been curious about this subject, following
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:21 PM   #24
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I won't soon forget how the county showed up to check on my "new building" they had spotted from the air on a vacant piece of property less than a month after I had it built....




they are plenty nice to deal with, but they tend to 'assume' things in their favor just to get a peek inside or to drive the value up. The most recent deal was that they assumed that my barn was finished off on the inside....right behind the double 12'x14' doors.

He actually acted surprised when I opened the big door and there was no wall.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:27 PM   #25
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Very interesting topic. If someone accidentally kills an illegal deer and you don’t turn yourself people question your integrity, but it’s ok to lie about the type of cabin your building to keep your ag exemption.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:33 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klepdo View Post
Very interesting topic. If someone accidentally kills an illegal deer and you donít turn yourself people question your integrity, but itís ok to lie about the type of cabin your building to keep your ag exemption.
Itís ok to deceive the enemy.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:39 PM   #27
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Itís ok to deceive the enemy.
Youíre right thatís why I kill a deer a day. Is only illegal if they catch you.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:08 AM   #28
RiverRat1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klepdo View Post
Very interesting topic. If someone accidentally kills an illegal deer and you donít turn yourself people question your integrity, but itís ok to lie about the type of cabin your building to keep your ag exemption.
This has nothing to do with the ag exemption but I understand your point.

Although it could be argued that property taxes are BS level 10.

So at what point is it ok to lie? When they raise them how much? I mean they go up every freaking year and we have no control over it. Don't side step the question...

IMO when you buy a home your tax rate should stay the same as long as you own it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:55 AM   #29
batmaninja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klepdo View Post
Very interesting topic. If someone accidentally kills an illegal deer and you don’t turn yourself people question your integrity, but it’s ok to lie about the type of cabin your building to keep your ag exemption.
Do you not fight your property taxes? How about take any deductions on your personal taxes? Hire a CPA?

I never said I am trying to lie to anyone. Even the government, who lies to us all of the time

I like Kumas line of thinking. The structure isnt "attached" and by their own definition isnt permanent. Might throw a few used tires around the base just in case they show up unannounced.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:04 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
Do you not fight your property taxes? How about take any deductions on your personal taxes? Hire a CPA?

I never said I am trying to lie to anyone. Even the government, who lies to us all of the time

I like Kumas line of thinking. The structure isnt "attached" and by their own definition isnt permanent. Might throw a few used tires around the base just in case they show up unannounced.
Here they tax it unless it's under a certain size. Otherwise it's just considered like a mobile home. One can get away with RV's or tiny homes and I think that's about it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:13 AM   #31
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Here they tax it unless it's under a certain size. Otherwise it's just considered like a mobile home. One can get away with RV's or tiny homes and I think that's about it.
This

Tiny house - keep it under 400 sq ft - to live in

then build barn to keep your tools and equipment.

Can't tax you on tiny house only permanent dwelling.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:24 AM   #32
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The taxes all have to do with square footage of the building. If it's a portable building, ie, potentially removable that will help you out. If you do the "poor boy" septic, just remember the county health department can come in and shut it down and fine you for not obtaining a permit and having the septic installed by a certified county installer. I know this first hand I promise, lol, because we got this happened to me. I would not hide a thing from the tax office! If they want, they can back tax 7 years I believe.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:28 AM   #33
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I don't know how anyone can actually have any morals and work for the County Tax Appraisal District. It's theft plain and simple. We're getting off topic though. Good luck OP. Not sure if I missed your property size but definitely keep you cabin well off the road and out of sight. I'm sure that's a given though.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:35 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by RiverRat1 View Post
This has nothing to do with the ag exemption but I understand your point.

Although it could be argued that property taxes are BS level 10.

So at what point is it ok to lie? When they raise them how much? I mean they go up every freaking year and we have no control over it. Don't side step the question...

IMO when you buy a home your tax rate should stay the same as long as you own it.

IMO, the government should not charge me to own my piece of property.... They should get the F off my back. The idea of property taxes infuriates me.. Let me pay you this money that you are going to waste.. probably give it to some crackhead that keeps having kids just to keep their SNAP and WIC cards..... Greatest scam on earth
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:38 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by centex_aggie View Post
I don't know how anyone can actually have any morals and work for the County Tax Appraisal District. It's theft plain and simple. We're getting off topic though. Good luck OP. Not sure if I missed your property size but definitely keep you cabin well off the road and out of sight. I'm sure that's a given though.
It's also theft when people try to conceal improvements so the County won't tax them. Goes both ways, but you seem to be "wishing him luck" in hiding the fact that the cabin is there.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:08 AM   #36
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I am in the Hill Country. So even if the "mobile non-permanent temporary cabin" wasn't about 50 yards from the ranch road it would be very hard to conceal with the topography.

And for what it is worth, i feel my forefathers paid for the property back in the 1800s when they stole it from the Indians fair and square.

Wonder if the out house is grandfathered in? We have been pooping on the ground for out there for 7 generations, dont really see a reason to change it now
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:22 AM   #37
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I wouldn't worry about it...….
Every election, I hear how our politicians are going to address, the rising cost
of property taxes....
Along with rising, crime.....
Along with rising, illegal immigration.....etc..etc...
The only thing, that seems to be going down...…
Is our distain, for being bent over the fence.....
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:59 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Dirtymike View Post
Do they get to come inside to see how nice of a cabin? Or just based on outside building materials, known improvements like water electric, and SF of the building?

If you let them "find it on their own" can they come after you for back tax? Say it takes them 3-4 years but they look on google earth and can confirm it has been there the 3-4 years? Then slam you with 4 years of tax at one time.
Haven't had them ask to go inside anything of mine yet, and I have a response for them when they do ask. They do not have permission to 'barge' in.
Far as I know, they can drive by or fly over and look and determine square feet.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:16 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Stolle View Post
I'm not sure how they came up with the value, but it seams to be in line of what we have out there. I'm not going to ask since we have made more improvements.


Comps from the area Iím sure.


Skinny
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:20 AM   #40
Stolle
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Comps from the area Iím sure.


Skinny


More than likely sqft. Not many comps around.


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Old 12-07-2018, 11:48 AM   #41
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i would submit it to the appraisal district. If an improvement has been out there for quite some time, they can go back 5yrs if necessary. It just depends on the appraiser. As far as the value goes, keep up with all recipts so that way if they ave the building more than what you have in it, they can adjust it.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:00 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klepdo View Post
Very interesting topic. If someone accidentally kills an illegal deer and you donít turn yourself people question your integrity, but itís ok to lie about the type of cabin your building to keep your ag exemption.
There is nothing more American than tax avoidance.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:56 PM   #43
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Was poking around on Gillespie CAD website and found the 2 screen shots below. 1st just shows the program that they use to monitor changes, which I know I will ping. 2nd is the from the "personal property rendition" form, I am guessing that I what I would fill out if I want to notify them of the temporary cabin that I am building?
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:12 PM   #44
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If you add a structure with plumbing in Gillepsie county, the man that takes care of the septics will come looking. He is notified by the appraisal district.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:29 PM   #45
phibob808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frios View Post
This



Tiny house - keep it under 400 sq ft - to live in



then build barn to keep your tools and equipment.



Can't tax you on tiny house only permanent dwelling.


Tiny homes are taxable. These park homes that are 400sqft that are manufactured as a travel trailer are not taxable.


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Old 12-07-2018, 09:40 PM   #46
brokeno
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Don't put in a kitchen that will save you. Just don't ever let them inside your house or post what you have. I was on the appraisal board a few years ago and they get some information off what people put on Facebook, google earth and the use of drones. If it is appraised more than you paid bring paperwork with your cost.
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:30 PM   #47
donpablo
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What about those little prefab shed/cabins? Can they tax them? Does it depend on size? Does it vary by county?
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:06 PM   #48
TXHunter12
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I get taxed for a three sided shed with dirt floor for tractors!

Seriously you don’t own anything in this country! You pay rent in taxes and if you don’t pay they take it from you.
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