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…)

Recently sold 3131 Turtle Creek offers glimpse into DCAD’s commercial problem

Whenever property taxes are spoken about, residential usually gets the most ink. The reason is simple. The commercial market offers a fraction of the data available to a residential assessor. In the residential world, similar homes are typically clustered together, placing them in the same valuation realm. There aren’t a lot of crackerboxes on Strait Lane.  However in the commercial world, a four-story building can be next to a skyscraper.

Also, unlike residential, there is no centralized multiple listing service to get a view of commercial properties for sale. If residential is iPads and apps, commercial real estate is the equivalent of a quiet conversation in the back of a darkened, smoke-filled restaurant. It’s just more difficult.

I’ve made the suggestion that DCAD needs to hire appraisers to zoom around town and physically inspect commercial real estate to accurately assess its value. That’s because …

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921 N. Fitzhugh

It’s that time of year when most of us needed a bottle of Jack and a bullet to bite on just to open our property tax bills. Personally, my taxes are up nearly 52 percent in the past five years with this year alone squeaking in a nearly 13 percent rise. I’ve been increase-capped four years out of five.

One recent morning I saw a new listing pop in for a 616-square-foot home on Fitzhugh between Swiss and Gaston Avenues priced at $179,000. At $290 per square foot, I was curious, especially because as of this writing it’s under contract.

Turns out it’s a flip and bundled with 1001 North Fitzhugh, a 1,324-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home adjoining and sharing a driveway with 921 Fitzhugh. Both properties were listed at $478,000 or $246 per square foot. (Investment properties, same owner)

Being the season, I decided to look at their taxes. What a story they told.

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