Tarrant County Taxes: Something’s Gotta Give

 

 

According to a recent report from CoreLogic, home prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex increased by nearly 4 percent from February 2018 to February 2019.

In the State of Texas, Fort Worth took home first prize as the municipality where home prices increased the most during that span with 5.7 percent increase.  Not a prize to be proud of, necessarily.

This is nothing new.  We have seen home prices increase since the Great Recession.  While price increases certainly aren’t fun for home buyers, they haven’t stopped the Dallas-Fort Worth area from being one of the hottest relocation destinations in the United States

Tarrant Tax Appraisal District Doing Its Thing

What is unsettling is that local municipalities continue to abuse this housing boom and overall strong economy to inflate property values when it comes to tax appraisal time.

In a recent story by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tarrant County chief appraiser Jeffrey Law was quoted that 2019 tax values would most likely increase 7 to 10 percent.

Can’t balance the budget or figure out pensions? Just raise property values. Thanks, City Hall.

Now I’m no mathematician but it certainly appears that Tarrant County is getting a little loose with their appraisals. Shocking. All these increases are okay because we are in a state that doesn’t have an income tax, right?  Besides, we are in a tremendous economy where all indicators show that slowdown will never happen … right? 

If your wallet feels like this, get in line.

Taxes Up, Prices Up. GDP, and COLA?  Not So Much

According to Kiplinger.com the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is predicted to be around 2.6 percent for 2019.  The GDP is one indicator of economic strength.  Other indicators of economic strength are  the COLA, or Cost of Living Adjustment, as well as the Inflation Rate.

COLA is how much money it will take every year to maintain a current standard of living.  When you hear about a cost of living raise, that is simply giving earners more money to maintain the same standard of living as the previous year.

COLA is currently predicted by the federal government for 2019 at 2.8 percent.

So taxes and values will increase at 10 percent, but income to maintain the current standard of living will increase by around 3 percent. Does that seem right? Something’s gotta give.

If you are putting faith in the Texas Legislature to do anything about property taxes, good luck.

Texas Legislature to the Rescue?

Don’t hold your breath.  As representatives gather in Austin and do their usual puffing of chests in regards to “helping their fellow Texans,” be prepared for a letdown.

Taxes aren’t going to be lowered.  Even if one representative or municipality start claiming victory for the property owners of the Lone Star State with capped tax rates or lowered percentages, just remember that it’s all smoke-and-mirrors.  Taxes never go down, they just are repackaged.

One of the favorite tactics in Tarrant County is to proclaim that the property tax rate isn’t going to rise, so they keep the rate the same but then raise appraised values of the home.  The following year they will say, “we aren’t going to increase the appraised value of your home,” but then raise the value of your land.  It’s an absurd ping-pong game of increasing appraisals of land then appraisals of dwelling every few years.

Can Anything Be Done?

The Bowtie Realtor always encourages homeowners to protest your taxes with your local tax board.  In the past, those boards have been staffed with cronies and sycophants of local government and difficult for any real discussion.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear that the Tarrant Appraisal District Website has a simple protest button to click then asks you about your value.  Ten seconds is what I’ve been told for an auto-response to approve a lower amount should you enter it.

So make sure you protest your taxes.

Other than that, no hope in sight.  Not from local government, tax appraisers and certainly not the Texas state government.  Greed doesn’t ever change.

Well, that’s all from Tarrant County Tuesday this week Dirty Readers.  Thanks for reading and following and sharing!  As always, if you have questions, comments or great ideas for a post … hit me up!


Seth Fowler is a licensed Real Estate Sales Professional for Williams Trew Real Estate in Fort Worth, TX.  Statements and opinions are his and his alone.  Seth has been involved with the home sales and real estate industry in the Fort Worth area since 2004.  He and his family have lived in the area for over 17  years.  Seth also loves bowties!  You can reach Seth at: 817.980.6636 or seth.fowler@williamstrew.com.  If you are looking for a Real Estate Sherpa to help you buy or sell … give Seth a call!

 

11 Comment

  • 10%? I wish! Tarrant County has blown many properties out of that water this year. It is THE topic of conversation at work. Try 30% difference for me- up $58,000 from last year. My mom’s house is up 21% and daughter’s house is up 19%. They have lost their every-loving minds.

    • mm

      Makes me sick to my stomach…thanks for sharing information…they are biting the hands that feed them. Are they going to lower tax rates or values if we go into a Great Recession again? Don’t count on it. What exactly are we getting for being #1 in tax increase in Texas? I have heard recent stories of “successful” online protests on the TAD.org site – that’s the best way IMO because if you file and go and try to be heard those clowns are just going to do bare minimum if anything at all…and make you feel like garbage for even thinking about getting a lower valuation. Protest! Go online and see if you can get a reasonable reduction…still won’t make huge difference but something is better than nothing…thanks for reading, following and commenting…stay dirty!

  • I pushed the protest button on TAD.org and was successful in lowering my value to the number I suggested. Now, I am a Realtor so have a good idea WHEN it is appropriate to protest and yes it is easy. But perhaps EVERYBODY should not try this. For example, when the appraised value is lower than what it COULD be for example. I would hate for their attention to be drawn to an undervalued property, which yes I have seen this year too, unfortunately. But the majority have skyrocketed by more than the 10% cap the homestead exemption gives you. And that is just not right!

    • mm

      True that Ashley…thanks for posting with some quality information. I’ve heard you only get one shot at inputting a number that you feel is legit value so if your home is market value at $550,000 then inserting $25,000 might not get the outcome you’re looking for…so do the homework and get to a happy place and crank up some Eminem because, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
      This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo – You better lose yourself in the (valuation) -The moment, you own it, you better never let it go!”

      • I did the online protest and their offer was reducing the market value by $1500. I rejected it. I’m only asking for $5000, so that was an insult when they raised my land value by $30,000 and appraisal value by 9.5%.

        • mm

          WOW that’s surprising – I heard from a 2018 buyer client of mine that they reduced almost as much as they increased. I’m sorry to hear that you got the shaft…typical government…so are you going to protest in person now? Good luck with that. Make sure you are prepared with facts and figures because it’s my understanding that the appraisal review board is just there for looks only – that they have their minds made up already and aren’t realistic at all…hope I’m wrong! Thanks for reading, posting, sharing…stay dirty!

  • We bought our home in June 2018 and the appraised value was $56k over what we paid for it! I was really nervous about using the online protest system since I didn’t want to “insult” their assessment and put a value too low that would be instantly rejected. Following some sage advice, I just put in what we paid for it last year and it was accepted! Now I feel that the taxes I’m paying reflect the true value but it was definitely stressful at first.

    • mm

      WAY TO GO!!! Hopefully your story will help encourage others to protest via online method – so glad that your value was reduced and that you didn’t have to over-pay in your beautiful home. That “sage advice” sounds like it came from one smart Bowtie Realtor! Thanks for commenting, following and sharing…hope you’re doing well!

  • How do you protest when it is land only, no house on it?

  • I have gone before the TAD board twice and feel that they listened when I presented sound factual data, no emotions need enter the room. Did in 2018 the push the button and they took my number. We just did our 2019 hearing last week and got $40K off the number but several of my neighbors did not protest who should have so next year they will use those as equity comps to lift our value back up. What a pain this is and such a waste of community and individual resources.