Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I file a property tax protest this year?
- I saw something on Facebook about new property tax laws. Will they help me this year?
- Why shouldn’t I do the Automated Market Review or walk into the TAD offices and settle with them outright?
- Why shouldn’t I use a free service, contingent fee service, or non-attorney service?
- What is the difference between the various types of final orders and settlements?
Why should I file a property tax protest this year?
Values continue to increase in Tarrant County. If you allow the margin between your Market Value and Appraised Value to grow, unchecked, you will be less likely in future property tax protests to be able to successfully reduce your tax liability. It is important to file a property tax protest every year and keep your Market Value and Appraised Value as close to the same amount as possible.
I saw something on Facebook about new property tax laws. Will they help me this year?
New laws affecting property taxes and property tax values were passed in 2023, 2021, and 2019.
Effective immediately, homeowners with a qualified residential homestead exemption will see an increase in the state-mandated homestead exemption amount. The prior exemption amount was $40,000 and it is now $100,000. Further, the state implemented a 20% cap on non-homestead properties which will be in effect for at least 3 years.
Effective January 1, 2022, homeowners may file their homestead exemption, and have it applied as of the date of move in, as opposed to waiting until the first occurrence of January 1 following the date of move in.
One of the most important laws that passed limits the Tarrant Appraisal District’s ability to raise the value of a property that was the subject of a successful property tax protest in the previous year in which the value was reduced. This is why you see some of your neighbors’ property values stay the same for two (2) years in a row, while other neighbors’ property values experience an increase every year. Protesting regularly and obtaining ARB-determined Orders for value reduction (which are more likely to roll to the next year) can help you for two (2) years, or more in some cases!
Essentially, this law raises TAD’s burden of proof and requires that it provide clear and convincing evidence that the value increase TAD is proposing is supported. This is a much higher standard than a regular protest and it’s much higher than past years. It’s big step in the right direction for preventing significant year-over-year value increases that eventually price people out of their homes.
Historically, I would take almost every case to ARB hearings in order to obtain ARB-determined Orders for value reduction, not only because it gave my Clients a better chance at a 2-year return-on-investment, from a rolling value, but also because it was in my Clients’ best interest. After a change in management in 2023, I’ve noticed that TAD is more willing to work towards fair values, informally, and if that practice continues I’ll be able to file Joint Motions with TAD without the necessity of an in-person hearing. Read more about the different approaches to arriving at a fair value HERE.
Settlement & Waivers do not hold the same weight as an ARB Order, and neither do Hearing Agreements (i.e. when the TAD Appraiser agrees to your proposed value at your hearing).
Why shouldn’t I do the Automated Market Review or walk into the TAD offices and settle with them outright?
First, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with attempting to settle with TAD outright – but don’t feel obligated or pressured to take the number the TAD appraiser gives you, especially if that number isn’t below your Appraised Value. As far as the Automated Market Review, it’s just like TAD’s mass appraisal system: it is not a person individually evaluating your property – it’s a computer system attempting to match “like” with “like” properties, which often results in an inaccurate property value.
Further, unless the Automated Market Review suggests a value that is acceptable to you and below your Appraised Value, you will not reduce your Tax Liability.
I see social media posts all the time, and hear numerous complaints from property owners calling the Firm for help, saying that they accepted an Automated Market Review value and were shocked to learn that it did nothing to affect their Tax Liability. This happens because the property owner accepted a value that was higher than their Appraised Value.
If you don’t know what to do, contact the Firm. I’m always happy to advise someone debating whether or not to take an Automated Market Review value or settlement offer. If I can help you help yourself through a quick call, text, or email, I’m happy to do it.
You may request a Free Cursory Review HERE. #HappyProtesting
Why shouldn’t I use a free service, contingent fee service, or non-attorney service?
First things first: nothing is free. You are either paying with money or paying with your information. Facebook takes your information; that’s how you pay them, and in turn they make money advertising to you. You also pay with your information for free property tax protest services from real estate agents; you’re now in their database and they can advertise to you.
Further, from what I have learned about the free services offered here locally, most of them operate like the Automated Market Review, and several of them don’t take all of their clients’ cases to a hearing before the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). They aren’t incentivized to actually obtain meaningful reductions. They informally settle property tax protests with TAD appraisers, which does not hold the same weight as an ARB determination.
For the most part, ARB determinations have historically given property owners the benefit of at least 2 years at that ARB determined value. Of course, there are outliers where a value has been raised in a year subsequent to an ARB determination, but it’s not common.
Insofar as contingent fee and non-attorney services, there’s nothing wrong with using them. In fact, several have stellar reputations. But, none that I know of can represent clients in a legal capacity (and if they do, without a license through the State Bar of Texas, that’s breaking all sorts of Unauthorized Practice of Law laws).
Further, most of these services do not limit their markets to become experts in one county. They file property tax protests in numerous counties all over the state.
It’s practically impossible to become a market expert in every county in the State of Texas. I am exclusive to Tarrant County, and can represent you as your attorney on all matters relating to your Property Tax Protest, from initial Property Tax Protests and hearings all the way through appeals, arbitration, or court proceedings (separate fees apply to appeal procedures – contact the Firm for pricing).
What is the difference between the various types of final orders and settlements?
- Settlement & Waiver: Settlement & Waiver forms are binding for the tax year at issue and are not appealable in binding arbitration or court. I do not advise signing any Settlement & Waiver form without consulting with me or another property tax attorney.
- Joint Motion: Joint Motions essentially operate in the same fashion as a Final Order issued by the Appraisal Review Board after an in-person hearing. The title of the official order issued by the Appraisal Review Board after a Joint Motion has been filed and ruled upon is an Agreed Order. Agreed Orders are not binding for the tax year at issue and may be appealed via binding arbitration or in court.
- Final Order: Final Orders operate the same as Agreed Orders except that they are a result of an in-person hearing with the Appraisal Review Board rather than an informal review with TAD that is then ordered by the Appraisal Review Board.
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This is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for legal advice, nor is it intended to deter you from contacting the Firm with your questions. If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out!