Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Protesting Your Property Taxes in Dallas County

The real estate market has significantly improved since 2013 and it continues to improve in 2014. Because of this, many of you have received new "fair market value appraisals" for your home. And, for many of you, this value is significantly higher than your previous market value appraisal, which results in higher property taxes. If you feel that your new fair market value does not accurately reflect current market conditions, then you can protest this new proposed value and even offer your own value recommendation complete with supporting documentation. This blog post will help guide you along this fairly straightforward process. 

A quick summary of the process is as follows: 
(1) file your online protest along with comparable sales and photos of "physical, functional, and economic obsolescence;" 
(2) a DCAD representative will email or call you with their informal response, which may include a complete denial or a new proposed value that you may accept or decline; 
(3) if you accept this new value then you're done! Congratulations!; or,
(4) if you decline this new proposed value, then you will need to schedule a formal hearing where you will go before the appraisal review board and plead your case at the DCAD headquarters. 

STEP 1 - Go to and click on Search Appraisals. 

STEP 2 - Search by name or by property address.

STEP 3 - Click on your property's address.

STEP 4 - Click on the "uFile Online Protest" link and follow the instructions.


Other important information you may need to finish the protest process.


Some residential properties may qualify for the uFile Online Settlement Offer Program. This program is only available when using the uFile Online Protest Program. If your property qualifies for the uFile Online Settlement Offer Program you will be alerted via the Internet when you file your protest on the uFile Online Protest Program. Residential property owners may be eligible to settle their property value by submitting documentation and evidence to substantiate their claim.

Some neighborhoods are not eligible for the Online Settlement Offer Program for the following reasons:
- the complexity of the market in those neighborhoods,
- if your property is represented by an authorized tax consultant,
- if your property is classified as a Land only account,
- if the property account has an existing protest filed, or
- if the protest reason is not value related. 

However, property owners may still file a Residential protest online even if the property does not qualify for a Settlement Offer.


You should provide documentation that supports your market value position. If you have recently bought your home, then you should provide a copy of your closing statement and/or fee appraisal if one was done for financing purposes. If you have not recently purchased your home, you should try to provide sale comparables, broker’s opinion of value, and/or any sales information that you feel supports your position. If your property has any conditional problems and/or repair issues, you should provide pictures and/or professional repair estimates of the problem areas. 
Sale of Subject Property A signed and dated closing statement is required. The closing statement will include a description of the property being transferred. A copy of the sales contract and the volume and page number of the deed filing will be required in some cases for sales within the last 3 years. Interior and exterior photographs of your property are also good forms of evidence. 
Sales of Comparable PropertiesSales of comparable properties with photographs should include the following information, if available: 1) property address; 2) sales date/sale price; 3) grantor/grantee; 4) volume and page number; 5) financing terms/source/confirmed by; and 6) appraisal of subject property, date and reason for sale.
Proof of Physical, Functional or Economic Obsolescence This type of information can be documented in a variety of ways. The best types of documents are usually estimates for repairs from contractors and photographs of physical problems. All documentation should be signed and attested. This means you must furnish “documented” evidence of your property’s needs. 

By law, the county may not increase your Homestead Value more than 10% each year. Therefore, if the the county last appraised your property in 2012, then your capped homestead value cannot increase by more than 20% in 2014. NOTE: "Homestead Value" is different than "Total Market Value." If you have a Homestead Exemption, then you are only taxed on the Homestead Value and not on the Total Market Value. You may ask that the Total Market Value also reflect the Homestead Value. You may also want to review my blog post on How to File Your Homestead Exemption.


Other counties will have similar processes to Dallas so I recommend starting out by going to your county's respective website and searching for your property to see if they have an "online protest" link. Here are links to other county appraisal district websites. 
Collin County Appraisal District - 469-742-9200  
Tarrant County Appraisal District - 817-284-0024
Denton Central Appraisal District - 940-349-3800