Property taxes are a significant burden on Texas homeowners, especially in Dallas County. Luckily, there are ways that you can secure lower bills for your home. Some savings are as easy as ensuring you're approved for the exemptions due to you under the law.
Others take asserting your rights as a Texas taxpayer. While exemptions can lead to lower annual property tax bills on your home, a successful property tax protest can result in larger savings for the typical homeowner.
The first step for Dallas homeowners is to verify they are receiving all qualified property tax exemptions. While most residents will only qualify for the homestead exemption, it is critical to evaluate whether you meet the criteria for additional savings. You won’t be granted an exemption you are qualified to receive unless you apply for it.
Texas law requires every school district to grant a $40,000 property tax exemption for a homeowner's primary residence. This exemption only applies to your principal residence, not a second home or investment property.
There are additional exemptions for the primary residences of homeowners who are 65 or older or permanently disabled. These homestead exemptions can include a freeze on your school district taxes, ensuring they do not rise as you age.
Homestead exemptions are also available to disabled veterans and their surviving spouses, as well as the surviving spouse of someone over age 65, someone who had a disability exemption, or a member of the armed forces or first responder killed in the line of duty.
Beyond homestead exemptions, Dallas County residents can qualify for other tax savings on their property. For example, if you use your land for agriculture, you may be entitled to a different calculation of the land’s total taxes, resulting in smaller bills.
Likewise, charitable and religious organizations have exemptions for property owned and used for exempt purposes. While most homeowners will not qualify for these exemptions, it is vital to apply for them if your property does qualify.
Additionally, there is another exemption for disabled veterans and their survivors. Unlike with the homestead exemption, veterans with a disability rating of less than 100% can receive a break on their property taxes. This exemption can also pass to surviving children of the disabled veteran, not just a surviving spouse.
Applying for and receiving all your qualified property tax exemptions is a reliable way to lower your taxes. But a property tax protest in Dallas County has the potential to slash a homeowner's annual tax burden.
During a property tax protest, you challenge the tax-assessed value of your home as determined by the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD). The DCAD must assess your home at its fair market value and cannot value your property unequally when compared with similar land.
If your assessed value is too high, it’s vital that you assert your rights and file a protest to fight for lower bills. Successfully protesting your home's assessed value will lower property tax bills. It also can secure long-lasting savings because the DCAD cannot ignore the lower value when assessing your home in future years.
You can also protest that DCAD improperly denied any qualified exemptions. For example, if you are the surviving spouse of someone who qualified for the age 65 or older homestead exemption, you want to enforce your right to continue the exemption on your family home.
Filing a property tax protest grants you the right to a hearing before the local Appraisal Review Board (ARB). DCAD has a guide to the protest process on its website. Though the deadline for filing a 2022 protest has passed, the 2023 tax season is just around the corner.
Every spring, DCAD allows homeowners to file a property tax protest online, usually for about a one month period. Once you receive your tax bills (and possibly a Notice of Appraised Value) in the new year, you can begin planning a protest. Filing online is a great way to create a trail of evidence that shows you took the proper steps.
During the entire protest process, you are allowed professional representation. It is essential to present evidence indicating that your home was over-valued in the appraisal.
The experienced team at Watchtower Protest can create a compelling case, negotiate with DCAD informally for a reduction, and advocate on your behalf during a formal ARB hearing. Best yet, Watchtower's services are offered for zero out-of-pocket costs. Sign up for our protest services today through the easy-to-use online portal.
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