Now that the new year has kicked off, it’s time to start gearing up for tax season. If your home was purchased last year, it’s time to file for your homestead exemption. If you’ve lived in your home for a while and your property taxes increased, I encourage you to fight them. I’m available to answer any questions you may have when it comes to your homestead exemption and property taxes.
Last year I helped 12 people fight their taxes by providing free comparative market analysis as well as a trend report and I’m happy to report that 11 of my clients used the data I provided to justify savings. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you would like to help. There is NO charge and no obligation. If you know me at all you know that our high property taxes and Beirut like streets drive me nuts so I’m all about the fight on this one.
What is a Homestead Exemption?
A homestead is the property that you reside in, whether it’s a house, condo, townhome or manufactured home located on a piece of land. To qualify for the homestead exemption, you must live in the property that you want to be exempt from. The exemption itself removes part of your home’s value from taxation, saving you money on your property taxes. To earn the exemption on your property taxes, you must apply for it between January 1st and April 30th.
Do All Homes Qualify for Homestead Exemptions?
No. You may only request homestead exemption on the property in which you are living, and you must own and live in the property on January 1st of the year in which you are claiming the exemption.
Is There a Standard Homestead Exemption or Multiple Exemptions?
There are several types of homestead exemptions available in Texas.
- School Taxes: Homeowners may receive a $25,000 homestead exemption from the value of their home for school taxes.
- County Taxes: If your county collects a tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a $3,000 exemption may be available.
- Age 65 or older and Disabled Exemption: Residents who are over the age of 65 or disabled qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes in addition to the $25,000 exemption for all homeowners. If, as a homeowner, you’re both disabled and over the age of 65, you will still only qualify for one $10,000 exemption.
- Optional Percentage Exemption: Any taxing unit which includes the city, county, school, or special district, may offer an exemption of up to 20 percent of a home’s value. No matter what the percentage is, the amount of an optional exemption cannot be less than $5,000. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.
Additional information regarding Homestead Exemptions in Dallas County may be found here.
What is the Value of My Dallas Home?
At the beginning of every year, you should receive a letter from the Dallas County Appraisal District (DCAD) that includes information about the value of your home and how much you owe in property taxes. DCAD apprises the property at the market value as set by the Texas Property Tax Code Section 1.04. The market value is the price at which the property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions.
Can I Protest the Value of My Dallas Home?
Yes, you may protest the value of your Dallas home between April 15th to May 15th. There are a number of reasons to protest the value of your home, below are the most popular within Dallas County.
- The value of your home in Dallas is too high: This could be based on several reasons including incorrect information, defects within the home that the Dallas County Appraisal District isn’t aware of, or if similar properties have been selling for less money.
- Your home in Dallas is unequally compared to other properties in Dallas County: As a taxpayer in Texas, you have the right to equal and uniform taxation. If you feel that your property taxes are unfairly higher than similar properties in the area, you may protest that your house be treated equally and uniformly. Warning…this type of protest will require more evidence than other types of protest.
What is the Process of Protesting the Value of My Dallas Home?
You may submit your formal protest request online through the DCAD website using the Online Protest Program. While the Dallas County Appraisal District does offer official forms to protest your property taxes, any formal submission will be accepted.
You will need to identify yourself as the owner, the property address that is the subject of the protest and indicate your dissatisfaction with an action or decision taken by the Appraisal District. When you’re submitting the protest, it’s important to include any applicable documents which you would like to have reviewed as the reason for your protest, such as a comparative market analysis (CMA).
What is a CMA, and How Do I Obtain One for My Dallas Home?
To obtain a CMA for your Dallas home, all you have to do is request a home value report. Once the request is received, the team will get to work putting together your report. Simply put, a CMA is a report that reviews all the properties in your area that are similar to your home to determine the home’s value. The report compares size and amenities, such as beds, baths, total square footage, pool, media room, and location. While some homeowners believe they can pull the needed information themselves, it’s encouraged to use a Dallas real estate professional to put together your comparative market analysis because they have the knowledge and experience needed to conduct a proper report, and can usually do it in less time.