Perhaps commercial property owners will soon be paying their fair share of property taxes if this news from the Dallas Central Appraisal District is any indication.

Last June, I reported that HEB owned a block of Lemmon Avenue between Reagan and Throckmorton Streets that was to have been a new Central Market. Those plans shifted to a more ambitious project at Lemmon and McKinney Avenues. However, DCAD had already planned on the Reagan/Throckmorton block being developed and had gutted the block’s assessed values (as they routinely do prior to development).

Each of the four townhouses was valued at $1,000, while rating as “very good” or “excellent.” The land the four sat on was also not reflective of market rates. Net-net, each of the four had three years where they were valued at less than half their 2015 market rate. While you and I likely got walloped with large increases, multi-billion dollar HEB benefitted from DCAD’s shoddy benevolence.

It’s nice to know DCAD reads CandysDirt.com, because things changed for 2019’s proposed valuations.

In 2015, 3929 Bowser was valued at $331,220 before spending the next three years assessed at $141,950. The property’s 2019 proposed valuation is $427,140. For 3520 Throckmorton, 2019’s proposed valuation is $456,750. Neighboring 3516 Throckmorton sees a 2019 proposed valuation of $464,100. Rounding out the four townhouses, 3512 Throckmorton’s proposed 2019 value is $388,920.

Are even these valuations fair?

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homestead

Photo courtesy Flickr

 

Easter is over, but we’re going to quote a rabbit anyway — if you’re waiting to file your homestead exemption for your property taxes, you may find yourself late, late, for a very important date.

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NeaveOn the heels of the revelation that Dallas County is suing State Rep. Victoria Neave for more than $26,000 in late property taxes on her Abrams Road home, Richardson ISD has filed documentation that would bring Neave’s total delinquent tax tab to more than $50,000.

The district filed an intervening motion March 1 that added its $23,948.58 to Neave’s previously reported $26,760.73 the county already named in the suit filed on Feb. 28.

The potential for the intervention was mentioned in the original suit, which said, in part, that Richardson would likely also join as a party to the suit, “because it may have a claim for delinquent taxes against all or part of the same property.”

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

Complaints about skyrocketing property tax bills are nothing new, but few people take the time to find out exactly what goes into that number. For many, fighting property taxes has not been a priority because they could ultimately write-off the amount on their income taxes. That changes this year.

Under the guidelines of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed at the end of 2017, write-offs are now capped at $10,000. In Dallas County, that’s about the average tax bill of a home valued at $450,000.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand that and they are going to be shocked this year,” local entrepreneur and Allie Beth Allman & Associates agent Stephen White said. (more…)

Protesting property taxes is global. Landowners in India take to streets.

Around the time property tax appraisals are mailed in April, I think every address in Texas gets a flurry of postcards from property tax protest firms.  They all seem to have some combination of “property” “tax” and “protest” in their names. Searching Google for “Texas property tax protest service” nets about 25 million results.  Clearly, Texas property owners are unhappy with their biggest state tax. By comparison, the next highest Texas tax is sales tax, but its protests net only about 773,000 results on Google. If the first few pages of results are any indication, sales tax protests are pretty much a business-level expense, not consumer.

Anyway, after a few years of big increases (remember, I’m up 53 percent in five years) I decided to put all those postcards in a drum and pick one (not really). My initial plan was to out the one I used, but in speaking with others who have performed the same experiment, my results are typical. So why point to one firm when my experience is far more widespread?

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TRE

Dallas ISD trustees Dan Micciche and Justin Henry talked to supporters of a Tax Ratification Election before Thursday’s board meeting (photo courtesy Rob Shearer).

It took three tries, but a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election (TRE) was passed by the Dallas ISD board of trustees in a special called meeting Thursday night.

The vote (which was seven for, one against, and one absent) will place a measure that will increase the district’s maintenance and operating tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17.

There has not been an increase since 2008.

A cheer from the gallery went up as what various advocates had been asking for — a chance to put a potential property tax increase on the ballot — finally passed after three tries over as many years.

If voters approve the measure on Nov. 6, it will provide an additional $126 million every year to support early learning, racial equity, and choice school programs, as well as compensation. (more…)

electionWhen Justin Henry received the most votes — but not enough to avoid a runoff election — in May, a mere 69 votes separated him and Dallas ISD District 9 incumbent trustee Bernadette Nutall.

Saturday night, with all 47 precincts reporting, Henry won by more than 600 votes.

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Beginning in 2014, Central Market parent HEB began snapping up parcels on the city block bounded by Lemmon and Bowser Avenues between Reagan and Throckmorton Streets. Their intent was to open a Central Market. That plan has been abandoned for what I last heard was a Central Market planned for the old Albertson’s location on Lemmon and McKinney Avenues.

The main reason the deal failed was zoning. The parcels facing Lemmon Avenue are zoned for commercial operations while the Bowser-facing lots were zoned for residential use. The Oak Lawn Committee told HEB there was no way they’d support a commercial encroachment into a residential area. I’m sure the fear was that if they’d said “yes” here, other Lemmon Avenue businesses would want to convert the residential backs of their blocks to commercial too. (more…)