property taxes

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Allen Gwinn is a number cruncher. Or a gadfly. Or a muckraker/local political analyst. By day, he teaches at SMU School of Business as a Professor of Practice.

Basically a detailed data miner, he has taught information technology at SMU Cox School of Business for 30 years. For years, Gwinn also ran a popular website called Dallas.org, which was 18,000 registered users rich, as large as many local media sites. As he puts it, “I had lots of bandwidth.”

Now Gwinn is gearing up a reboot of Dallas.org, because he believes that taxpayers need a constant stream of data about government spending. An informed citizenry, he feels, makes better voting decisions, which is why he analyzes public data.

“I’m putting together a bunch of data to analyze revenue and expenses at DISD,” he said by phone. “We can show exactly what tax dollars they are getting. It’s eye-opening. DISD historically has been very, very closed with the very data taxpayers need.” But before we dug into school taxes, I flipped out over his tracking of who pays property taxes. I hope a fainting couch is nearby:

Keep in mind that tax revenues levied on Dallas residents and renters have (not quite) doubled since 2013.” (more…)

Neave

Dallas County has filed suit against State Rep. Victoria Neave for back taxes on this Abrams Road home.

State Rep. Victoria Neave has found herself in hot water with Dallas County and is being sued for more than $26,000 in late property taxes on her Abrams Road home.

Documents filed Tuesday reveal that Neave is arrears to the tune of $26,760.73, and is listed in the suit along with her former law partner and ex-fiance, Mark Scott Jr.

Neave represents District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas and Mesquite. (more…)

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen took the gavel as Speaker of the House yesterday, and asked for cooperation across the aisles (Photo courtesy Rep. Bonnen’s Facebook page).

Bathrooms? That’s so 2017. The new hot legislative priorities lighting up Austin this legislative session are school finance and property taxes.

Think I’m kidding? New House Speaker Dennis Bonnen put it on a cup — actually, every cup in the Senate lounge is now emblazoned with “School Finance Reform, The Time Is Now.”

The session gaveled in knowing already that state Comptroller Glenn Hegar had told them that they would have about 8.1 percent more in funding available for public programs like schools and healthcare in the next two years, for about a $119.1 billion state budget. But he also cautioned legislators that they wouldn’t be able to make it rain — oil prices are falling and the U.S. economy is uncertain, leaving any prognostication as to how revenue will look a bit muddled.

But one couldn’t help but notice a sense of cooperation in both houses of the state legislature, one not generally felt in the last session, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick embarked on a much-lamented quest for passage of a bathroom bill and school vouchers, both of which failed.

Bonnen, in his address Tuesday, made a plea for more bipartisanship.

“In a state as big and diverse as Texas, there are plenty of ideas about what we should do on any one issue and these ideas often point in different directions,” Bonnen said. “It’s our job to reconcile the differences.”

The makeup of the two bodies is also different this time around. Democrats gained 12 seats in the house last November, with Republicans holding the Texas House with 83 seats to Democrats’ 67. In the Senate, there are 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Thanks to the three-fifths rule, a kill on an unpopular GOP bill like a bathroom bill would be just one Republican renegade away, unlike the last session, when the Democrats were outnumbered 20 to 10.

This pivot away from the unpopular bathroom bill, especially (Patrick even called it “settled” when asked about it Wednesday), bodes well for proponents of retooling public education finance, as well as property owners looking for relief from rising property taxes. (more…)

Special contributor Lydia Blair with Mary Doggett, VP of National Investors Title Insurance

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Property taxes are the talk of the town right now. Municipalities all over the Metroplex are proposing tax rate increases on top of the frequent increase in property values. This year’s tax bill may be a double whammy for our already steep homeowner taxes. If you’re thinking of avoiding those taxes, here is your warning.

“Texas is pretty efficient with collections or foreclosing because our property taxes are high,” says Mary Doggett, VP of National Investors Title Insurance.

Despite our strong homestead rights in Texas, you can lose your home if you don’t pay your property taxes. Rest assured that the taxing authorities will collect their money one way or another. There is no escaping it.

(more…)

ValdezWe’ve heard it before — after all, when you write about real estate, you do spend a fair amount of time talking about how difficult and expensive it is to pay property taxes: It’s not always easy to be a property owner in Texas.

We’ve talked about why property taxes are climbing. But Lupe Valdez, newly crowned Democratic candidate for governor, says that a story in the Houston Chronicle that revealed she is facing about $12,000 in overdue property taxes is a good example of why reform is needed. (more…)

property taxes

PropertyTax.io may just change the way people appeal their property taxes.

First, the bad news: A very important property tax deadline is coming up, and not many people are aware of it.

But the good news is that one company has created a way to make meeting that deadline so much easier.

PropertyTax.io was developed by Goodrich Realty Consulting, first as a tool for their tax consultants to use in the company’s property tax division. Last year, they released the tool to the general public, and it has the potential to really shake up the way people appeal their property tax bills.

“Our mission was to create a smarter, faster appeals process,” said Glenn Goodrich, GRC’s Director of Technology & Property Tax. (more…)

When it comes to property taxes, Texas homeowners pay some of the highest residential property taxes in the country, the research group Attom Data Solutions said last week.

According to economist Daren Blomquist, only New Jersey, Illinois, and Vermont posted higher effective property tax rates last year than then 2.15 percent Texans paid.

The company’s analysis showed nationwide that property taxes levied on single-family homes totaled $293.4 billion, up 6 percent rom $277.7 billion in 2016, for an effective average tax rate of 1.17 percent. (more…)

tax

The answer may not be can you deduct those 2018 property taxes you pre-paid, but should you? (Photo courtesy TaxRebate.org.uk)

Over the  Christmas-to-New-Years week, a steady question was being asked all over Texas, thanks to the new tax bill signed by President Donald Trump last month — “Can I pay my 2018 property taxes early to take advantage of one last deduction?”

The answer is well, yes and no. The Internal Revenue Service released an advisory last week to try to tamp down the rumors (we shared it on our Facebook page to give everyone the heads up). (more…)