How To Protest Your Property Tax in Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas in 2020
Why Protest Property Taxes?
Property valuation by different appraisal districts is a largely automated process that updates values of the homes based on a number of factors including current real estate market conditions etc. So your home value may be increased to a value that is above where it should be. Unless you protest the updated value, it becomes the default value for next year's increase.
Why Is Tax-assessed Value Different Than Market Value?
The tax-assessed value is what your county believes your property is worth. The county attempts to set their values at a market value. However, they do not evaluate comparables nor do they perform individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the house. Meaning, the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities and condition of the specific home.
Impact of COVID-19 on Property Values in DFW
COVID-19 did not start impacting real estate values until March of this year. The appraisal districts have a legal obligation to value your property as of January 1st, so there is a high likelihood your appraisal notice will result in a value increase from last year. Your tax rates are also vulnerable to increase due to special provisions in the law that are triggered when a “state of disaster” has been declared. This will be one of the most important years in property tax since 2008 - 2009. The most direct action you can take is to file an online protest, but you must wait for your appraisal notice to arrive first (see dates below).
How Do you Determine your Market Value to Protest Property Taxes?
You can determine your home's market by requesting a comparative market analysis (CMA) and assessing comparables in your neighborhood. You can also use our Home Value Analysis Tool (link below) to determine a rough estimate of your home's market value.
Contact us if you need help understanding market information, collecting information from neighbors who have recently purchased their homes, or contracting a company who specializes in assisting with tax assessor valuation protests.
Should you Appeal your Property Valuation?
If the market value on your home is lower than your tax-assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value is higher, then you should not appeal.
When Should you Receive your Property Valuation and How Long Do you Have to Appeal?
The County Appraisal Districts began mailing property valuations sometime after April 15th. Most homeowners should have received their valuation on or before May 1st. Homeowners have until 30 days from the date they receive their valuation to appeal. Please see the chart above for updated dates.
How to Protest Property Taxes
If you believe your property valuation is higher than the current market value, you should appeal your taxes. When people don’t appeal, the taxing authority accepts that their value is correct which affects all homeowners in a given area. By appealing the assessed value, we all help keep our real estate taxing authority valuations in line with market value.
File your protest using the protest form available from the appropriate County Appraisal District. After you have filed, it can take several weeks for your County Appraisal District to schedule your informal hearing.
At the hearing: The purpose of the informal hearing is for you to present your evidence and facts to support your claim that they have over-valued your Dallas home or condo.
In Dallas County, you can protest online. Watch a video about online protests at dallascad.org/onlinevideos.aspx. Skip ahead to 29:25 on the counter.
Present Your Evidence
The following information can be helpful to present at the hearing:
Comparable Market Analysis: A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar to yours in size, age, location and type of construction. Use our website to learn about current market and find comparables in your neighborhood.
Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Condition: Do you have foundation issues? Plumbing problems? Anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home should be documented. Take photographs and bring them with you to your hearing.
Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Location: Once again, anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home is evidence that you can use in your appeal. (ie: if home backs up to a busy street - consider printing off a Google map to document your location.)
Recently Purchased Homes: If you purchased your home in the last several months, and the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a copy of your settlement statement.
Things to Keep in Mind for the Day of your Hearing
The Appraisal District is responsible for setting the appraised value, they have nothing to do with the tax rate.
You are not going to the hearing to protest your tax rate or how much you are paying in taxes, you are only appealing the county’s assessed value of your home.
Be polite and courteous.
Bring an extra copy of your supporting documentation to leave with the county.
New - Online Tool to Help with Protest
PropertyTax.io is a web application that will instantly tell you if the comparable sales in your area can help you reduce your property tax value, saving you money. Last year, they were featured in an article by Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News titled: Here’s a new and inexpensive way to get help protesting your 2018 property tax. The analysis is free and requires no sign up ahead of time. According to the statistics on their website, about 80% of the users last year achieved a reduction, with an average savings of about $450. The analysis includes data from the appraisal district such as building quality ratings and condition values, along with MLS information. This allows you to see how the comps would look in the appraisal district’s system.
If the comps can help you, I have partnered with Propertytax.io to secure a $10 off discount for my network using this promo-code: P38290, bringing the cost down from $75 to $65. If they recommend you make a purchase and you do not get a reduction, there is a 100% money back guarantee. Their product is a “Do It Yourself” appeal packet that is nicely organized and ready for you to submit to the appraisal district either in person or through the district’s online protest method. You can view a full sample report here (view a sample report).
Their help center is very robust and offers excellent advice on filing an appeal (link to help center). If you have any questions and cannot find the answer in their help center, they have a nice live chat feature. I hope you find value using this resource and good luck with your appeal should you choose to pursue one. Please let me know how you did!
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