The Tarrant Appraisal District mailed out property value notices for 2022 this weekend.
You may have heard the real estate market is on fire so the value you see on your TAD Blue Form may not be a surprise to you. But if we’ve learned anything the past several years it’s that higher property values also likely mean higher property taxes.
There are a few things in place this year (HB3 & SB2) that the Texas State Legislature has done to minimize the impact of rising property values on our property tax bills. But you should still understand the process involved and do what you can to lower your annual property tax bill.
The Process of Calculating Your Tax Bill
Your property tax bill is actually a two part calculation that happens each year. Part 1 is happening right now from April-May and is where the Chief Appraiser for the Tarrant Appraisal District assesses the property value of each piece of property in the County. By State Law the Chief Appraiser is required to determine the taxable value of your property as of January 1 of the tax year and notify you by a certain date.
The Chief Appraiser will then deliver each taxing entity like the city, school district, and county a preliminary tax value number. That occurs on April 30th of the year.
We are then in what is commonly known as the “Protest Period.” This is where property owners have the right to protest the value of their property assessed by the Chief Appraisers office. The deadline to apply for your protest is typically around May 15, or 30 days after you receive your valuation notice. Property owners work with the Tarrant Appraisal District during this time period to come to an agreement of the fair market value of their property, based on January 1 of the taxing year.
During that time period the individual taxing entities begin preparing their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. At the end of the Protest Period, the Chief Appraisers Office delivers a Certified Tax Roll to each taxing entity. This moves us into Part 2 of how your tax bill is calculated. The certified tax roll is then what each taxing entity uses to determine what tax rate they need to charge in order to fulfill the budget they have built for the upcoming fiscal year. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate must be held prior to the adoption of the tax rates. These meetings typically occur each year in September as the fiscal year begins on October 1.
Your tax bill is then calculated by the County Tax Assessor Collector by taking your taxable value assessed by the Chief Appraiser, deducting out any eligible exemptions, and then multiplying those values by the tax rates that have been adopted by the elected officials. The tax bills are mailed out in November of each year, with a due date of January 31 of the upcoming year.
If you have an escrow account attached to your mortgage, your mortgage company will pay the tax bill on your behalf, typically in December of each year. If there is a shortage in your escrow account you are notified sometime later in the Spring of the shortage and given the opportunity to bring the account current and your mortgage payment adjusts so there is not a shortage again the next year.
So what should you do about your property value notice?
If the Market Value of your property is higher this year than it was last year, it is likely that your tax bill will also be higher when it is calculated later this year as rates don’t change substantially year to year. Your best chance to help yourself is by protesting your property tax value with the Tarrant Appraisal District.
The reality is, they have not looked personally at your property. They do not know the condition of your property. In many cases they don’t know what you paid for your home. They don’t know if it is updated or out of date. They don’t know if you have brand new windows or if your whole home is falling apart. They don’t know dozens of factors that help determine the actual value of your property. They’ve used computer algorithms and a database to make an educated guess. And their educated guess is often wrong. Their job is to get the appraised value accurate and the Protest Period is their (and your) opportunity to make sure they get it right. By minimizing the increase that the Tarrant Appraisal District adjusts your taxable value, you give yourself the best opportunity to avoid skyrocketing property tax bills.
If you’re a Mansfield ISD area homeowner, we’ve created a FREE tutorial that walks you through the process of protesting your property tax value with the Tarrant Appraisal District. You can sign up for that free tutorial here!