Dallas Fort Worth real estate news, local home price trends, statistics, and profitable insights written by Chandler Crouch Realtors.

Jan. 27, 2021

Property Tax Legislation Bills Being Proposed in 2021

Watch Chandler's disclaimer video

Passed

  • Schwertner R, et al: SB 725
    • Effective on 9/1/21
    • Relating to the qualification of land for appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes as agricultural land and the liability for the additional tax imposed on such land if the use of the land changes as a result of a condemnation.

 

  • Meyer R: HB 2429
    • HRO Bill Analysis
    • Effective immediately.
    • Relating to the alternate provisions for ad valorem tax rate notices when the de minimis rate of a taxing unit exceeds the voter-approval tax rate.

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Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 26, 2021

14 Property Tax Warts that Should be ILLEGAL

14 Property Tax Code Proposed Solutions

  1. 0:46 Exemption Improvements
    • Cap taxable value growth on homesteads to 5% maximum increase per year
    • Create a single-family residential exemption capping taxable value growth at 10% per year
  2. 6:23 Improve accessibility to free help
    • Turn "may" into "shall"
    • Sec. 6.16.  RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNER ASSISTANCE. (a) The chief appraiser of an appraisal district may maintain a list of the following individuals who have designated themselves as an individual who will provide free assistance
  3. 7:44 Define permissible grounds to recall a CAD board member
    • Amend section 6.03 L to include a provision that says: Must provide "permissible grounds for a recall."
    • For reference. Commentary on the bill when it was passed in 1985. See the section on pg 2 "Opponents say". #1 concern is that no reasons are given. 
  4. 10:19 Require Tax Entities to provide accurate contact info to CAD's
    • When Tax Entities report tax data to the county website as required by the new statutes, require them to provide accurate contact information for voting members of the Tax Entity
  5. 11:54 Protect homeowners from tax deferral revocation. If a homeowner's mortgage is sold from one lender to the next, the new lender may revoke the owner's property tax deferral. Protect them with one of these options:
    • Prohibit a homeowner from getting a deferral if they have a mortgage
    • Create a "Truth in Deferral" statement clearly disclosing the danger in getting the deferral to the owner
    • Prohibit a lender from revoking a tax deferral if it was approved by the previous lender
    • Prohibit assessor from foreclosing if the owner of the property was previou7sly granted a deferral
  6. 16:27 Encourage/allow CAD's to use the common terminology
    • Terminology is used by CAD's that don't align with the common usage of the terms. A law needs to be passed to allow/encourage appraisal districts to use terminology that doesn't match the tax code for clarification purposes. Terminology in conflict: Market value, appraised value, taxable value, assessed value
  7. 19:48 Eliminate loopholes in CAD board of director voting system
    • When electing a new CAD board of directors, the largest entities must vote at their 2nd meeting after the voting window opens
  8. 22:17 Create term limits for CAD board of directors
    • Appraisal District board of directors must have a maximum term limit of      years
  9. 23:28 Make it easier for notices to be sent electronically. I will have specific suggestions soon.
  10. 25:11 Make it so that property owners and the CAD can go back the same number of years to correct an error. Currently, CAD's can correct an error over the past 5 years and owners can only correct an error over the past 2 years.
  11. 26:09 VALUE RATIO STUDY INTRODUCTION     27:17 Value Study Ratio: Window of sales
    • Currently, the window of sales that CAD's are held accountable to are from July of the previous year to July of the current year, however, they must produce their report in January of the current year. This forces them to project high. The window of sales should be adjusted to be from January of the previous year to January of the current year.
  12. 29:16 Value Study Ratio: Improve tolerance levels
    • Currently, the tolerance level that CAD's are held to is 5% +/- the market value. This tolerance level should be adjusted to be 5% over or 10% under.
  13. 31:14 Value Study Ratio: Eliminate Alternative Sales Test 
    • The "Alternative Sales Test" tolerance is currently set at 3%. This criterion should be removed.
  14. 34:32 Agricultural exemption Change from 5 to 1 year
    • Require agricultural use only for one of the preceding years instead of 5 of 7
    • Article VIII, Section 1-s-1, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 23, Subchapter D, Texas Property Tax Code

CONCLUSION 36:14 How I can afford to do this

Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 19, 2021

Secret Taxes and Shifty Ways You're Getting Gouged by the Tax Man

There are little nuances and loopholes in the law that politicians and taxing entities use to increase your taxes. 

This blog post is a compilation of different concerns people bring to me (in their own words) identifying these issues.

I cannot vouch for the validity of these comments. I just feel that this is an important conversation and these concerns need to be brought to light and affirmed then fought or debunked and dismissed.

Here you go:

 

Anticipation Notes are the new product for getting around the Voter-Approval Tax rate.

Contribution by JH: 

The Voter-Approval Rate is figured using this calculation: (No-New-Revenue Maintenance and Operations Rate x 1.035) + (current Debt Service Tax Rate). Increases in the Debt Service Rate are not applied towards the Voter-Approval Rate calculation.  

In light of the restrictions placed on local government entities by the recent passing of legislation, bond counsels and bond dealers have discovered a new way of using Anticipation notes to fill local government entities need to fund expanding government.  Bond counsel, like Bickerstaff’s David Mendez, are advising local government entities to forego the traditional pay-as-you-go approach to budgeting and begin using M&O funds -Anticipation notes- to pay for items that Mendez calls "routine capital items." According to him, these are things like "law enforcement vehicles," "gravel and road base material," "computers, or office equipment." This clever loophole allows local entities the ability to spend over the Voter-Approval rate and not be subject to a rollback election. Here is an article in the August 2020 Texas County Progress, titled ‘Using Anticipation Notes to Finance Capital Expenditures’ by David Mendez explaining it. https://dashboard.mazsystems.com/webreader/68481?page=20

Because the Voter-Approval rate does not take the Debt Service rate into account, entities can borrow as much money as the want each year as long as the financial market sees fit. And because Anticipation notes repayments can be back-end loaded, governing bodies can issue notes that do not hit taxpayers’ pocketbooks until years after they are passed. Or in the case of Aransas County, 5 years. How can taxpayers be expected to hold elected officials accountable for their actions when the actions took place 5 years prior, and the required notification was an agenda item on a 72-hour meeting announcement?    

The Legislature tried to help local citizens get government spending under control. Instead, I fear, what it really did was lead us more down the path of debt slavery.

___________

MUD's PID's and MMD's

Contributed by FT:

I have some issues with all the Special Local Law districts, created legislatively with little or no accountability to residents or the Counties and Municipalities they were created within.

They are another way to hide true costs of taxes from homeowners. Some of these assessments are as high as $5000/year to an individual homeowner. Additionally administrative costs can be increased each year.  http://www.texas-statutes.com/special-district-local-laws-code

Municipal Management District  (MMD)

Can be funded by an ad valorem tax (MUD) or assessment (PID). Usually created by State Legislature or Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

They are usually administered by law firms.

At issue is assessment and notification of buyers at contract, and cost controls in future years.

Take a look at this MMD document that “shall be” attached to home purchase contracts. This is from the MMD I just got out of. It contains a decent explanation. Many don’t see it until Title/Closing, which is typically too late. If used as designed and specified buyers would be fully aware and there would be NO issue with notification. Approximately 70% of buyers don’t recall being informed.

It’s still a government COST to buyers with little to no accountability or control of increases. It’s also lien-able if not paid.

Homebuyers who sell to others MUST disclose, but builders and developers typically don’t.

That’s the primer, 30,00 foot view.

Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 12, 2021

Legislative Preview: Addressing Citizens’ Painful Property Tax Bills

Our broken property tax system affects everybody - no matter income level, political party, homeowner, tenant or landlord.

The Texas legislature isn't going to pass anything to help unless you and I let our representatives know what we care about. Everything except property tax is getting attention this year. Thank God Robert Montoya is bringing property tax issues to the forefront. He just published an interview with Chandler in this article and does a great job revealing the massive problem we're up against.

 

Posted in Property Tax
Aug. 28, 2020

I Can't Afford My House Payment. What are my options?

 

My tax bill is too high. I can’t afford the house but if I buy in the same market its pointless so I’m just going to sit here.

Here are a list of options to consider...

  1. Ask us for a free insurance quote. Your house payment likely includes taxes, insurance, principle, and mortgage interest. If your payment has increased, there is a good chance your insurance rates have increased. Many people are significantly overpaying. We have expert insurance agents on staff that shop A-rated insurance carriers and get them to compete to provide the best quote… for free. We save some clients a ton of money. Just send us an email and we’ll be happy to get you a free quote.  
  2. Reduce your utility cost. This company is saving Chandler over $250/mo on average (and it only costs $10/mo!!!). It’s borderline magical. We wanted to offer the same service to you, so we partnered with them. Use this link to sign up, and you get the exact same service paying the exact same as you would if you went directly to them. The only difference is by using our link they agree to contribute $2 to help fund our free tax protest service for every person that signs up. Go here to see how much you can save. 
  3. Reduce your utility consumption. Here are 50 ideas that can help reduce your electricity consumption. 
  4. Ask your mortgage company to spread out your escrow shortage over 24 months. If you have a mortgage and your monthly payment has increased in the past year or so, it is likely due to an escrow shortage because your taxes and/or insurance have gone up. Your mortgage company likely uses a 12-month payment plan by default to pay off your escrow shortage, but they usually don't tell you that you have additional options. To help lower your payment just call your mortgage company and simply ask them if you can pay out the escrow shortage over 2-3 years. Most of the time they just say yes without any issue or push back. A 10-minute phone call could drop your payment by hundreds. I’m keeping track of which companies agree to this and which ones won’t. Please let me know if your mortgage company agrees to spread out your escrow shortage or refuses. It will help me help others. Here’s what I have so far: Status on Mtg co’s
  5. Triple check to make sure your exemptions are in place. The appraisal district can actually cancel your exemptions anytime without a great reason, such as, if mail they send you is returned undeliverable. This video shows how to verify your homestead exemption is in place in Tarrant County.  If you find out you need to file, this page provides the form you need, step by step instructions, and a video to that answers all your questions.  Go here to get the form you'll need and a tutorial video that will answer all your questions and demonstrate how to fill out the form. 
  6. Buy a smaller house - Obvious, but it's still an option. Hard times call for hard decisions.
  7. Moving far enough away so you would be in a different tax district. Either a…
    • Different county
    • Different school district
    • Move out of your neighborhood if it has a PID (public improvement district)
  8. Move to a rural area so you avoid city tax all together
  9. Rent. Would it help if I had a list of every rent house and every apartment in the area that fits your price range?
  10. Move into a house that doesn’t have an HOA
  11. Move-in with a friend/family
  12. Buy bigger so you can rent out rooms
  13. Buy a house with a garage apartment and rent out the apartment
  14. Live in an RV (sounds crazy, but I routinely sell houses because people are doing this more and more)
  15. Consider a condo or townhouse
  16. Buy a barndominium
  17. Move into a tiny house
  18. Build a shipping container house
  19. Buy with land so you can raise animals, crops, eggs, and sell stuff to offset housing expenses.
  20. Rent out your current house and move into another home to create extra income.
  21. Biggest issue: Solve the cash-flow crunch by making extra income
    • This article & video covers at-home in-quarantine ideas
    • Sell your possessions (garage sales / online classifieds etc)
    • Eliminate debt
    • Cut down on luxury items
    • Rent out space in your garage to allow (item or vehicle) storage for other people
    • Rent out an extra bedroom on Airbnb 
    • Start an in-home business - childcare, adult care (skilled nurses/caretakers), pet care (boarding, walking), sell home-baked goods, make crafts to sell on Etsy, volunteer to host parties for MLM friends
    • Profit from your yard: Plant berries, vegetables, flowers to sell, make compost from worms
    • Provide fulfillment (boxing and shipping) services for other home-based entrepreneurs
    • Allow people to shoot movies/film at your house: https://gov.texas.gov/film/page/your_property_in_films

Have more ideas? We want to share them. Please email them to us at chandler@chandlercrouch.net

  • Options we’re trying to avoid, but are still viable options to consider
    • Stop making payments… forbearance, bankruptcy, foreclosure
Aug. 13, 2020

Tax Protest Update

We are at the final stage of this year's tax protest. Everybody's tax protest results will be available soon.

TAD's sent a little yellow postcard with a web address and it means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! It has caused unnecessary stress and concern to everybody. It was part of the SP2 bill that was passed. 

TAD was required to provide transparency into who receives the money when you pay your tax bill. That website is an attempt to give you an idea of where you're money is going to and what you can do if you want to protest the tax rate. 

I've got videos here that explain how you can go about protesting the tax rate. 

There's nothing to be concerned about. The website they made is good but they just need to work on the bugs out of it. It seems to be changing every now and then.

We will get your protest results soon and just watch your email. We should have it on your inbox in about a week.

Posted in Property Tax
June 10, 2020

Why So Many Protests in Tarrant County

Why So Many Protests in Tarrant County

The number of protests per county have increased dramatically, but why has Tarrant increased so much more than other counties? The issue is gaining attention.

Here are the numbers. This is the percentage increase per county since 2015:

 

"Harris County 11%

Bexar County 27%

Travis County 36%

Dallas County 50%

Tarrant County 265%!!!

Seriously? What's up with that?"

(Posted on Facebook by TAD Board Member Rich DeOtte)

Here is a link to his research

 

I've been trying to objectively consider this. 

Increased protests may be an indication of a good thing or bad thing. 

Regardless, I wholeheartedly agree that answering the question about the cause of increased protests is among the most important tasks that TAD can focus on, and it is of high public interest. TAD is considering an audit to reveal the cause.

 

Positive Perspective:

TAD has received glowing reports/audits of various kinds (eg financial, cyber security). If TAD's increased protests are an indication of uniquely good appraisal practices, they should be proud and wear their protest numbers as a badge of honor because they are doing a public service by helping owners that are being mistreated because of the flawed property tax code that TAD is forced to abide by. 

 

Negative Perspective:

If you believe the Tidwell Weaver audit, the increase could be evidence of a persisting significant dysfunction that cannot be ignored. 

 

These are the theories I've heard that people have used to explain the increase. I can easily dismiss many, however until someone seeks to find the answer, nobody will really know:

 

  1. Instant answer/automated protest made available by TAD
  2. More Agents protesting significantly more than other counties
  3. Chandler Crouch protesting for free
  4. More advertising/advocating promoting protesting
  5. Tarrant starting earlier contributes to more attention
  6. More properties are valued incorrectly compared to other counties 
  7. Residual effects of 2014/15 software debacle (perhaps people lost trust causing a spike)
  8. Its easier to win in Tarrant so the success of reductions attract more protesters
  9. ARB panels are friendlier
  10. TAD does a great job being more organized, accessible, and educational
  11. It's not actually higher in Tarrant, we just count them differently
  12. 2015/16 low values caused TAD to overcorrect which created a shock effect that motivated property owners (if true, watch out in 2021. ouch)
  13. Property values have increased more in Tarrant than other places

Why do you think so many more people protest in Tarrant County than anywhere else?

Posted in Property Tax
May 22, 2020

How to Eliminate Property Taxes - Solutions & Ideas to Consider

Protesting is a great idea, but wouldn't it be nice to eliminate the need to pay property taxes?

This link explains a feasible way to eliminate a significant portion of the property taxes: https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2018/06/21170102/Robin-Hood-School-Property-Tax-Belew-Sass-Ginn-Peacock.pdf

 

On a live stream video aired 5/22/2020 Chandler Robert Montoya and Fran Rhodes discuss what you can do to make sure local governments don't increase property taxes. 

 

 https://texasscorecard.com/metroplex/keller-isd-rewards-pro-bond-vendor-with-taxpayer-backed-bond-money/?highlight=VLK

____________________

Chad Prather says...

I propose we reduce property taxes at 50, 60 and 70 years old 10 to 15%. This is offset by consumption tax added to the sales tax. It’s a start. Thoughts?

Also...I believe property tax shouldn’t exist at all. No one wants to hear that.

____________________

HB3770, filed by White:

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB03770I.pdf#navpanes=0

Here's some info on it:

https://thegoldenhammer.net/white-files-texas-tax-reform-act-of-2021-to-eliminate-state-property-tax-franchise-tax-current-sales-tax/

 

Here's a TPF article from a while back that is very interesting and informative:

https://www.texaspolicy.com/abolish-property-taxes/

 

 

 

Posted in Property Tax
May 18, 2020

Property Tax Consultants Chandler Recommends

Every professional tax agent/consultant offers a different level of service and they often specialize in certain property types. The best way to make sure you are getting the tax agent that specializes in the area's most important to you top notch service is to talk with a few different agents and compare what they offer.

These are agents that I have had personal experience with and would feel comfortable hiring myself:

  • IntegraTax
    • info@integratax.net
  • The Gallagher Firm
    • www.tgfpllc.com promo code: 2020PCR10
  • www.OlaTax.com
    • Bobby Ola
Posted in Property Tax
April 17, 2020

County Appraisal Districts in Texas

Appraisal Districts without websites:
Borden, Irion, Briscoe, Kenedy, Cochran, Oldham, Foard, Hardeman, Throckmorton, Hemphill.

Download this list as a PDF document.

Here's another list with contact information.

 

These are organizations we're learning about:

 

 

Posted in Community, Property Tax