Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a FREE Cursory Review and why do you offer it for free?
- What information can I expect in my FCR Report?
- I have multiple properties, can you help me?
- How are you able to get values reduced?
- Who attends the hearing and do I need to be there?
- Do you guarantee a reduction?
- I’ve seen free services and services that only charge if they reduce my value. Why do you charge a flat fee?
- I’ve used other services in the past and could never get a hold of them. Are you different?
- How much do you charge to file my exemption forms?
- I moved into my house 3 years ago, but never filed my homestead exemption. Is it too late?
What is a FREE Cursory Review and why do you offer it for free?
The Gallagher Firm obtains a majority of its clients via personal referral and word-of-mouth. The Firm’s reputation for honesty, integrity, and quality service is what sets this boutique firm apart from other firms and property tax consulting companies. One of the many quality services offered by The Firm is the FREE Cursory Review (“FCR”). FCRs are available to all potential and returning clients, FREE of charge, every year.
The Gallagher Firm strives to be successful in reducing tax burdens, and the FCR, in a majority of cases, provides potential and returning clients with valuable information that is personally evaluated, calculated, and reported back to the requesting party by Ms. Lowery Gallagher (“FCR Report”). The FCR Report reflects an evaluation and calculation of whether or not a Property Tax Protest is warranted for the Tax Year at issue. This is a free service offered by The Firm in order to provide value to potential and returning clients, as well as to the Tarrant County community as a whole.
The Gallagher Firm in no way guarantees that an FCR or FCR Report will be 100% accurate in every case, but historically the FCR and FCR Reports have proven to be extremely reliable.
What information can I expect in my FCR Report?
The Gallagher Firm accepts FCR Requests every year from April 15 through April 30. Turn-around time on receiving your FCR Report is generally 48-72 hours, sometimes less. The FCR Report will contain the following information, as applicable:
• Property Owner, Address, and associated TAD Account Number.
• TAD Proposed Value Data for the Tax Year at issue.
• Opinion of Ms. Lowery Gallagher, as to whether a Property Tax Protest is warranted, and if so, an opinion of estimated 1-year and 2-year potential return-on-investment (e.g. estimated potential tax savings vs. fee paid).
Again, The Gallagher Firm in no way guarantees that an FCR or FCR Report will be 100% accurate for every case, but historically the FCR and FCR Reports have proven to be extremely reliable. The Firm provides this free service to foster goodwill between the Firm and the community of Tarrant County.
*Restrictions: FCR requests are available until April 30, but if the Firm reaches Max Capacity before April 30, then FCRs will no longer be available.
I have multiple properties, can you help me?
Yes. I regularly handle Property Tax Protests for owners of multiple properties. I exclusively represent property owners who own residential property in Tarrant County, Texas, which includes personal homes and rental properties.
If any of your properties are outside of Tarrant County, I can refer you to another property tax attorney for those properties. If your property is located on a split boundary (e.g. you’re taxed from taxing units in Tarrant and Parker Counties), the protest services offered by the Firm will only affect your Tarrant County tax liability. The Firm does not handle property tax matters in any other county aside from Tarrant. I can refer you to another property tax attorney to handle property tax matters for the other county.
How are you able to get values reduced?
Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) uses a mass appraisal system to assign value to properties. This is not an individualized evaluation of your property by a person – rather, it’s a computer system that attempts to match “like” with “like” properties, which often results in an inaccurate determination of property value. It is of significant importance that you are taxed fairly and only on what your property is worth.
In order to achieve individualized evaluation, I personally evaluate every property. My custom evaluation and analysis, along with my proprietary evidentiary packet I submit to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB), puts me a step ahead in achieving value reductions. I know what information is most important to the ARB and TAD when it comes to value and fight to ensure you are only paying taxes on what your home is truly worth.
Who attends the hearing and do I need to be there?
Ms. Lowery Gallagher attends almost every in-person hearing with TARB. Your presence is not required, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, may not be allowed.
Do you guarantee a reduction?
I can’t always guarantee a reduction in your Tax Liability, because sometimes the evidence points to your property being worth the amount proposed by TAD.
The Gallagher Firm will use its best efforts, but expressly does not guarantee that a reduction, or tax savings, will be achieved as a result of a protest. The only guarantee offered by the Firm is a reduction of proposed appraised value by at least 2.4% or the Firm will represent you at the following year’s administrative protest hearing, if warranted, at no cost the next year, subject to restrictions and limitations, as follows:
The guarantee offered by The Gallagher Firm only applies:
1) to a client’s property for which The Gallagher Firm filed the final, or ultimate, Notice of Protest with TAD;
2) to a client’s property that has a Proposed Market Value that is no more than 110% of the Proposed Appraised Value for the tax year at issue as reflected in the TAD records as of the date TAD published Proposed Values for that tax year; AND
3) on a property-by-property basis, meaning the Firm’s failure to meet the guarantee on any 1 or more of a client’s portfolio of properties protested entitles that client to free representation for only those properties for which the Firm did not meet guarantee;
The guarantee does not apply:
1) to any protest for a tax year in which a fee was not paid to The Gallagher Firm by the client for the client’s protested property;
2) unless the client timely completes the intake process and transmits to The Gallagher Firm a newly executed property tax representation agreement and appointment of agent form via the intake process on this website for the year in which that client is owed no-cost representation; and
3) to Early Bird Registration.
I know other services offer various guarantees or contingent fees, but so far as I know, those services’ guarantees are based on Proposed Market Value reduction. Unless your Proposed Market Value is reduced to an amount below your Proposed Appraised Value, your tax liability is not reduced (i.e. you’re not actually saving money). My offer applies to Proposed Appraised Value, and I don’t know of another firm that does that.
I’ve seen free services and services that only charge if they reduce my value. Why do you charge a flat fee?
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. The same is true with free property tax protest services from real estate agents; you’re now in their database and they can advertise to you.
Those offering free and contingent services are not incentivized to obtain meaningful reductions on all cases. Insofar as contingent services are concerned, I don’t know how else to say it, but common sense points to the fact that they spend their time working those cases where they will earn a higher fee.
For example: a home with a proposed value of $1,230,500 with a combined tax rate of 2.24% that gets a 10% reduction x 40% contingent fee = $1,102.53 contingent fee vs. a home with a proposed value of $123,500 with a combined tax rate of 2.24% that gets a 10% reduction x 40% contingent fee = $110.66 contingent fee.
I charge a flat fee and am equally incentivized to obtain meaningful reductions on all my cases, because if I don’t, then I’m likely doing the work for free the following year. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve used other services in the past and could never get a hold of them. Are you different?
Yes. I guarantee you a timely response to your inquiries. Lack of communication is extremely frustrating and part of the reason I decided, from the outset, to run a boutique law firm exclusively representing clients who own property in Tarrant County. I’m not trying to create a state-wide empire, here, like most property tax protest companies.
That being said, during Property Tax Protest Season, you can expect a response to your communication as follows:
• April 15–May 26: within 48 hours, even on weekends. If you’ve contacted the firm via email and 48 hours have elapsed without a response, there could have been technical difficulties, so please call the firm and leave a message if you get voicemail, otherwise I won’t know you need me.
•Post May 26: within 48–72 hours, no weekends.
Outside of property tax protest season, you can expect to hear a response in a timely manner, usually no more than a week.
How much do you charge to file my Homestead or Over-65 exemption forms?
TAD publishes all exemption forms on its website and you can download them for free, including Residence Homestead, Over-65 Exemption, Disabled Veteran, etc. You can access information about exemptions and applications HERE.
The Firm is no longer filing exemptions pro bono; however if you need advice on an exemption matter, please contact me. If I think it’s a simple fix, I will advise you on the steps you can take to resolve your matter. If I think it’s a more complicated matter I will quote you based on the complexity of the matter if you want the Firm to handle the matter for you.
Other exemption matters, including Homestead and Over-65 exemptions that need to be retroactively applied, are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the price charged is based on the level of difficulty and expertise required.
An important note: Please, be aware of solicitors who offer to file new exemption applications for the Tax Year at issue in Tarrant County. Some homeowners are being misled by letters or door-to-door solicitation from individuals or entities offering to help you apply for exemptions. These individuals and entities have you sign an agreement giving them the right to receive a portion of any refund from the tax office for over-payment to which you may be entitled. They also have homeowners change their mailing address to them, causing you to no longer receive important information from TAD, the ARB, and the Tarrant County Tax Assessor Collector.
Always reach out to the Firm if you are unsure whether or not correspondence sent to you is official or requires a response. New homeowner/new purchase surveys sent to you by TAD do NOT require a response.
I moved into my house 2 years ago, but never filed my homestead exemption. Is it too late?
It depends. Contact the Firm to discuss your case.
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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!