Those in the Dallas area know it as DCAD or the Dallas County Appraisal District … the agency that assesses our home property values and then sends us the nice green paper page with the damage due later in the year…..
Property Tax Protest
If you think your property value has been accessed too high … thereby making your property taxes too high, you may want to protest… Using DCAD or Dallas as an example, there are three different waves of property values accessments that go out at different times, each with different deadlines. (Only one per family, just three different mailings.)
Bottom line, check with the controlling agency in your area for details.
We have found success with these protests when the data is clearly inflated, however we have had more failures than success.
One last item, we have found the greatest success with in-person visits rather than hiring an outside firm, as long as the request is reasonable.
In many cases a mailing or an on-line protest may be a good idea… again check with your controlling agency for details.
Do some legwork by checking other homes of similar nature against yours… while you may think yours is over stated, if you find it understated against similar properties in the respective agency, you might think twice before protesting.
Homesteading Your Home
In the state of Texas and many other states (but not all) across the country, homesteading your home will give you a discount on your property taxes. Check your individual state for this option and generally you will have had to reside in the home on January 1 of the current year to complete a homestead. Again, check your state, but you will likely have no disadvantage to homesteading your home and will likely only be able to homestead your primary residence.
Here is a good definition of Homesteading from Wikipedia – our biggest favored option is again the discount on our taxes-
Homestead exemption laws typically have four primary features:
1 Preventing the forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors, usually except mortgages, mechanics liens, or sales to pay property taxes
2 Providing the surviving spouse with shelter
3 Providing an exemption from property taxes on a home
4 Allowing a tax-exempt homeowner to vote on property tax increases to homeowners over the threshold, by bond or millage requests
For the purposes of statutes, a homestead is the one primary residence of a person, and no other exemption can be claimed on any other property anywhere, even outside the boundaries of the jurisdiction in which the exemption is claimed.
In some states, homestead protection is automatic. In many states, however, homeowners receive the protections of the law only if they file a claim for homestead exemption with the state.
Have a good “Less Property Tax” Day!
John A. Kvale CFA, CFP