Tarrant County

2023 Property Value Notices Sent Out by Tarrant Appraisal District

After receiving his 2023 property value notice, Tarrant County Judge tweets, "All taxing entities must provide tax relief for our residents.

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Property value notices for Tarrant County property owners were sent out last week by the Tarrant Appraisal District and began arriving at homes on Saturday.

The annual reappraisal of property values is done to account for changes in the local real estate market and to provide local taxing authorities with the current estimated value of property in the district.

But as property valuations have increased in recent years so has the tax burden for property owners.

"Every single person who owns a home or owns business property will tell you the same story -- taxes continue to go up and up," said Tarrant County Judge Tim O'Hare. “When our economy is not doing as well as it has in the past few years, when inflation is through the roof the way it is, I think it’s grossly irresponsible to increase taxes on people."

O'Hare, who was elected county judge in November 2022 and took office in January, tweeted over the weekend after receiving his 2023 property value notice that repeated annual double-digit increases in valuation are unsustainable.

"Our home appraisal came in the mail today from TAD. Not surprisingly, it came with another 10% increase to the appraised value," O'Hare tweeted. "These repeated double digit increases are unsustainable. 209% increase since 2018. All taxing entities must provide tax relief for our residents."

The 10% increase in value mentioned by O'Hare is the current maximum increase allowed for a property owner with a homestead exemption, regardless of the increase in the market value. So, if the TAD reports an increase in the value of a property of more than 10% if the property owner has filed a homestead exemption the taxable value can only increase by 10% that year.

The Tarrant Appraisal District is responsible for local property tax appraisals and exemption administration for 73 jurisdictions or taxing units in Tarrant County. The TAD does not set tax rates, those are established by each taxing unit (county, city, school district). Property appraisals are determined by the appraisal district and are then used by the taxing units to calculate and allocate the property owner's annual tax burden.

However, DFW's rapid growth over the years -- especially since the pandemic -- has made it hard to keep up.

"We've seen over the last three years, a 40% price appreciation, which is astounding. Price appreciation whenever average is 3 to 4% price appreciation per year," said Danny Perez, Founder and Managing Director of M&D Real Estate. "The last thing I would want to be this year is a tax appraiser because the county assessor's office, they have a very difficult task."

Texas ranks sixth in the country for high property taxes paid. Within the state, Tarrant County ranks in the top 10 in property tax rates.

“We have people relocating and businesses relocating here. And now there is more jobs here," said Perez. “So that pendulum has shifted. We're California from 20 years ago, that's what that DFW is.”

Perez said they are fielding a lot of questions and concerns from clients, while also trying to make future buyers aware of the situation.

"Our phones were actually blowing up last week from all of the tax notices that went out to everybody in Texas," he said. "Right now, we always advise our buyers when they're going in that we're in a very high appreciating market. Beware of your taxes. We're trying to prep them for that as much as we can."

While some local taxing authorities have taken steps to provide relief by lowering their tax rate those decreases are often offset or outpaced by increases in valuations.

“Nobody should ever have to move out of Tarrant County, or anywhere else for that matter because they can’t afford property taxes," said O'Hare.

At Tuesday's county commissioners meeting, Judge O’Hare said the commissioners court will talk about implementing a homestead exemption for Tarrant County taxes for the first time ever.

"The state offers up to a 20% homestead exemption. Tarrant County offers zero and we’re still trying to change that," said O'Hare.

In Austin, state legislators are working in the current session on various remedies to lower the tax obligation including increasing the homestead exemption and lowering the maximum increase allowed, but those proposals are still working their way through the Texas House and Texas Senate and have not yet been agreed upon by both chambers and are not yet law.

Right now, taxing entities are going through their budgeting process ahead of budget hearings in August before tax rates are set in the fall. O'Hare said now is the time to speak out.

“We need to put more money in their pockets not less," said O'Hare. "So what can you do? You cut the tax rates. But I think what the public needs to do is reach out to all of their local officials, city officials, school board officials, county officials -- every taxing entity. And say, 'Help us, we need help.'"

Meanwhile, property owners who disagree with their current valuation can protest the TAD's findings. Property owners should prepare for their hearing with the appraisal district ahead of time. The deadline to file a notice of protest in Tarrant County is May 15 (or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed the notice of appraised value, whichever date is later). Hearings with the Appraisal Review Board begin May 22.

"It's important to get with the real estate professional to give you comps to make sure that it isn't something that you should protest. And the main reason is because the county can't go to each house and give a value to it. They do a general survey," said Perez. "So definitely seek advice from a professional and then protest if it's necessary."

The TAD has been the subject of recent controversies, including the alleged targeting of a property tax consultant who helped residents protest and lower their tax appraisals as well as harassment allegations against an employee who was eventually fired.

The chairwoman of the TAD board of directors, Kathryn Wilemon, resigned in February after the Keller City Council voted to initiate a recall. Keller Mayor Armin Mizani said they brought forth the recall because the city had done its part to lower the tax burden for residents but said the appraisal district wasn't making progress on their end.

Mizani said the people who make up the Tarrant Appraisal District board of directors are appointed to two-year terms and are appointed by the taxing entities that make up Tarrant County. That means taxpayers do not directly vote for board members but instead rely on their elected city councils, school boards, and county commissioners to vote for board members on their behalf.

"When we cast our votes in December 2021, we expected progress on behalf of our taxpayers. We haven't seen that progress. It's time for change," Mizani said in February.

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