Property appraisals in Tarrant County are up again and if you’re planning on protesting your home’s taxable value, you’ll get some extra time this year.
The deadline to file a protest has been extended to May 30, in part because of updates to the website and a high volume of traffic, according to the Tarrant Appraisal District website.
The appraisals reflect the taxable and market value of a property owner’s home and are used, along with tax rates from several government entities, to determine how much homeowners will pay in property taxes.
From the extended deadline to changes made to TAD’s website, Chief Appraiser Jeff Law answered a few questions from the Fort Worth Report on how to better navigate the appraisal system this year.
When were appraisals sent to property owners?
The Tarrant Appraisal District sent out over 600,000 residential appraisal notices on April 14. Commercial appraisals were sent April 28 and should start arriving in mailboxes soon.
Appraisals are determined by looking at what a property would be worth if it was put on the market on Jan.1, as mandated by state law.
What if I have not received mine?
If you have not received an appraisal yet, it could be one of two things.
First, about 20,000 residential accounts did not get an appraisal notice, Law said, because their value did not go up by more than $1,000.
“The rule is, if I raise the value by more than $1,000, then I’m required by law to send them an appraisal. And there are some properties out there that the value just simply did not go up,” he said.
The second reason a property owner may not have received an appraisal depends on whether they employ a property tax consultant. If you hired a consultant to protest your appraisal, they may be the ones receiving the appraisals on your behalf.
Property owners can call the district and provide their account number, Law said. From there, they can be informed whether they have an agent receiving their notices on their behalf.
What if my account on the TAD website says “pending?”
If your account says pending, it means your appraisal notice has not been mailed or that staff is in the process of finalizing a value, Law said.
According to Law, all residential accounts should be updated by now from pending to showing values. Since commercial accounts were just sent out, notices showing to be pending should change in the next few days, he said.
How do I access my account?
The Tarrant Appraisal District recently updated its website for cybersecurity and liability reasons, Law said. As a result, a two-factor authentication was added, which is forcing all owners to create a new account.
Don’t use last year’s login information, Law said.
Why is the TAD website slow?
The appraisal district’s website update has led users to report slow refresh and accessibility. Law said this has been caused by high volume and visitor traffic on the site.
“We ran some diagnostics and some analytics the other day. … We actually had 1.4 million hits on our website in a 24-hour period,” Law said.
The high traffic comes from property owners using the site as well as automated search bots. In response to the congestion on the site, Law said the district is working to add caching – which stores data in a temporary location to make it faster to access – to the site to help pages load quicker. They have also added some servers to their system to allow for more traffic capacity.
“I check it all the time on my cell phone to see,” Law said. “And I see times in which it is slow but also see times in which its speed is improving. We’re taking steps every single day to try to alleviate this issue.”
How do I file a protest and can I do it online?
Property owners can protest their appraisal notice by filling out the form on the back of their notice. That form can then be mailed to the Tarrant Appraisal District officer or dropped off in person.
The address is 2500 Handley Ederville Road, Fort Worth.
Owners can also protest online by logging into their newly created account and adding their property. Follow the prompts to enter the account number and pin number provided in their appraisal notice. The account number is located on the upper left-hand corner of the notice while the PIN number is on the upper right-hand corner.
Once a property is added, you can click on the account number and protest its appraisal.
“Whenever you add a property to your dashboard, it also gives you the ability to look at our data because we’re providing sales information about your property, we’re providing equity information about your property, we’re providing property record cards, we’re giving the property owner a lot of information,” Law said
As of April 27, about 9,400 protests have been submitted, of which about 4,000 were online, according to TAD.
Property owners can also hire an outside consultant to file their protest.
When is the deadline to file a protest?
Property owners have 30 days after their notices were mailed to protest their appraisal. For most people, that deadline was May 15, but now “any 2023 protests filed after May 15th but before May 30, 2023 will be considered a timely filed protest this year,” according to a message on TAD’s website.
When will the appraisals be certified?
State law requires all appraisals to be certified by July 25.
“The one thing that I never know is how many protests we’re going to get. We will be working very hard to make sure that we get the protest resolved, we go through that process of equalization, as we call it, and we certify the roll on or before July 25,” Law said.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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