Congratulations, average Tarrant County homeowner, the value of your home has increased 14 percent in the past year.
There’s a really nice “wealth effect” to that. You feel richer because the value of this very important asset has gone up.
Enjoy it while you can, but don’t be fooled. It’s not like it’s real money you can spend.
Yet it is directly tied to real money that can be taken away from you.
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Landing in your mailbox in the next few days should be a statement from the Tarrant Appraisal District letting you know how much your property taxes are likely to go up because of this year’s value increases.
If you’re a smart homeowner and you have claimed a homestead exemption on your property, by law the taxable value can’t be increased by more than 10 percent in any given year.
People in high-demand neighborhoods often hit that limit, but it’s rare lately that average property increases have been more than 10 percent.
Last year, residential property values in Tarrant County went up 5 percent.
Let’s say you own a $200,000 home in the Fort Worth school district. Unless the school board changes the tax rate, your school taxes alone — even with the homestead exemption — could go up about $270 this year.
School taxes usually make up the largest share of total property tax bills.
You might be able to take advantage of other exemptions. Or you might be over 65, in which case your property tax bill by law should be frozen and won’t change from year to year.
TAD says property value notices will go in the mail on Friday.
If you believe your appraised value is too high and is not an accurate estimate of your home’s true market value, you can file a protest with TAD. Instructions on how to do that will be included with your notice and are available on the TAD website.
The appraisal staff sometimes lowers appraised values, or you’ll have a chance to argue your case before the Appraisal Review Board.
You can’t just say your taxes are too high and you want them lowered. Find out about recent home sales in your neighborhood and see if you can put together a good argument that they show your home has been overvalued.
Argue about tax rates with your city, school and county elected officials.
Remember that we have to have taxes to pay for schools, hospitals, police and fire protection, streets and a long list of other public services.
If we’re going to do that through property taxes, we have to have a system of fairly appraising the fair market value of our homes and other property.