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Texas Jeff

2019 Property Tax Values are Out

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Can move this to 2020 once out but heads up for ProTax users. Got this email from them about how they are modifying how they are paid and looks to be adding at mandatory $150 to the process that can be deducted out of the performance fee.

 

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Your Texas Protax team has taken a look back at the 2019 year with careful consideration and come to the conclusion that in order to provide the level of service that our clients have become accustomed to, we can no longer operate under our current fee structure.

We have always prided ourselves on transparency and the reality is over the last few years the property tax protest process has changed dramatically.  Appraisal Districts are under unprecedented pressure from taxing entities and the legislature in relation to protest timelines, and other appraisal district day to day operations.  As the legislature enacts new law and appraisal districts continue to change their practices, we must also adapt our business model to better serve our clients.

In order to meet the new growing demands of the appraisal districts, we have had to increase our internal resources to assure that your protest is being researched and presented in a manner that will deliver the maximum successful outcome for you. Beginning in 2020, in conjunction with your current performance based fee, Texas Protax will begin charging an Advanced Administrative Fee of $150 per parcel per year.  This Advanced Administrative Fee will be credited towards (or deducted from) the performance based fee at the conclusion of the protest process.  

Additionally, for properties with a homestead exemption or an agricultural appraisal we will be charging a smaller performance based fee for value reductions that do not affect the taxable liability (i.e. reductions on capped properties or properties with special valuation). 

We will be sending out new agreements over the next few weeks through our DocuSign system reflecting the revised pricing structure. 

 

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I bought a new house this year. TCAD sent me a sales survey about what I paid for the property. Should I fill this out? Will it help them get my value right?

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I was going to go with responding GO FUCK YOURSELF TAXMAN in big block letters but NMAS’ advice is probably better. 

Edited by Anastasis

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2 hours ago, swraith said:

Today, I got a letter from Five Stone about 2020 protest. No mention of any change in fee structure.

In case you didn't know... They auto renew if you don't cancel.  They got me with that last year and I did not want the service.

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13 hours ago, drewlaws said:

I bought a new house this year. TCAD sent me a sales survey about what I paid for the property. Should I fill this out? Will it help them get my value right?

The answer to this actually depends on the value vs what you paid.  If you paid less than last year's tax appraisal, I would send it in along with a copy of the ALTA (main closing document).  There is a very good chance that you won't have to go through the protest process and you will get the valuation equal to what you paid.  However, if you paid more than the assessed value, I would follow NMAS's advice.

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There is no reason to send it in ahead of time. Wait and see what they appraise you for. If it is more than what you paid, your purchase price is good for up to 18 months. All you have to do is file an online protest and attach a summary sheet from your closing showing what you paid, and TCAD will lower it to exactly that price. But you should wait in (vain) hope that they appraise you for less. And fuck giving them any hard data to screw your neighbors with. 

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Do you have to provide any evidence or sign under oath? If not, I'd respond with a number $1,000 higher than their current valuation (assuming you paid more than what they currently have you at). If you do have to provide evidence/oath, then just wait and see as others have noted above.

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18 minutes ago, Murfdogg21 said:

There is no reason to send it in ahead of time. Wait and see what they appraise you for. If it is more than what you paid, your purchase price is good for up to 18 months. All you have to do is file an online protest and attach a summary sheet from your closing showing what you paid, and TCAD will lower it to exactly that price. But you should wait in (vain) hope that they appraise you for less. And fuck giving them any hard data to screw your neighbors with. 

Unfortunately, this is not a given.  I know of one person last year that the county decided that they paid too little and had to be a sweetheart deal (it wasn't), and they didn't give them the purchase price.  I believe that they then went in for the formal protest and got close to their price eventually.  Dick move by the county.

Edited by Catpfish

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2 minutes ago, Catpfish said:

Unfortunately, this is not a given.  I know of one person last year that the county decided that they paid too little and had to be a sweetheart deal (it wasn't), and they didn't give them the purchase price.  I believe that they then went in for the formal protest and got their price eventually.  Dick move by the county.

Ok. My experience has been 2 for 2 on getting the first year’s appraisal knocked down significantly to the purchase price with practically no questions asked. If you pitch that you bought it for $200k below market value, then kudos to your savvy real estate prowess and enjoy your capital gains. 

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One other thing while I'm thinking about it.  You should always file a protest to get the evidence packet from the county.  I can count three different people last year that were being evaluated significantly over what the county's own sales comparison data showed.  All three people had to go in for the formal process, but they did get their valuation lowered to match the sales comparison number.  In one case, they had the sales comp value at $235,000 (which was right in line with the sales comps that I showed them), but the county was going to assess at a little over $284,000.  

A five minute formal protest got it lowered to $235,000 but the owner still had to take off of work.  The county knows that a certain percentage will never look at the data and they are going to rake them over the coals for as long as they can.

Edited by Catpfish
spelling and shit

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Thanks for the advice. I paid about 8% over 2019 CAD so I will wait and see what value they come up with on their own. 

Edited by drewlaws

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The new fee structure is as follows:

Advance Administrative Fee:

To begin each year, Client will pay Texas Protax a non-refundable administrative fee of $150 per parcel per year protested by Texas Protax.  The advance Administrative Fee will be billed annually each tax year and must be received by Texas Protax by March 31 or 30 days after billed.

This Advance Administrative Fee will be sent through DocuSign and will be required to be paid at the same time you are signing the DocuSign Agreement and Appointment of Agent Form. 

Failure to remit the Administrative Fee cancels the agreement between Protax and the Client for the tax year in which the administrative fee is not paid.  Protax will not represent Client’s property, without the Advance Administrative Fee paid.

Performance Based Fees:

The Performance Based Fee compares two formulas; A) The Taxable Savings Fee versus B) The Market Value Reduction Fee.  At the end of the protest process, both formulas are calculated. The totals are compared and the greater of the two will be the Performance Based Fee

The Administrative Fee is taken off when the Performance Based Fee is greater than $150.

For instance, if the Performance Based Fee is $180, then the Administrative Fee is credited off of the final bill. This makes the final bill only $30. If the results of the Performance Based Fee are less than $150, Texas Protax keeps the Administrative Fee to cover costs. No more is charged to the client. 

Taxable Savings Fee: Protax shall be paid 40% of all tax savings to client resulting from the efforts of Protax in excess of the amount of administrative fee paid.

Example only of fee calculation on a taxable value reduction from $1,100,000 down to $1,000,000.

(Notice Taxable Value minus Final Taxable Value) divided by 100 times Current Year Actual Tax Rate times Performance Based Rate = Total Fees in excess of administrative fee.  

(Notice Taxable $1,100,000 – Final Taxable $1,000,000) / 100 x 2.20 Tax Rate x 0.4 = $880 Performance Fee - $150 Administrative Fee = $730 due at conclusion of protest process.

Market Value Reduction Fee: For properties with a capped market value or a special use valuation, Protax shall be paid the greater of the taxable savings fee or $2.50 for each $1,000 reduction in the market value. 

Example only of fee calculation with a capped value – Value reduction from $1,100,000 down to $1,000,000, but capped/taxable value equals $900,000, so no actual tax savings achieved).

*Capped Market Value at $900,000; reduction equals no tax savings*   (Notice Market Value minus Final Market Value) divided by 1,000 times 2.50 = Total Fees in excess of administrative fee.  

(Notice Market $1,100,000 – Final Market $1,000,000) / 1,000 x 2.50 = $250 Performance Fee - $150 Administrative Fee = $100 due at conclusion of protest process.

 

Following this letter will be a DocuSign email from authorizations@texasprotax.com containing the new agreement for your approval. 

In order for us to file a protest on your behalf this year, please sign and return the new agreement and an updated Appointment of Agent form by March 31, 2020. 

If you no longer wish to continue with our services, or do not agree with the proposed fee structure, notify us in writing by emailing clientnotifications@texasprotax.com to close your account.

If we do not receive the agreement back by March 31, we will close your account and not file a protest for the 2020 tax year.

We realize this can be somewhat confusing, so please call us to discuss if you have any questions or concerns at all.  Again, we sincerely appreciate the opportunity to represent you and look forward to continuing to help manage your property tax portfolio!

The performance based fee is new as well this year. I think it used to be you got charged if they actually reduced your tax bill. Now it seems that just by reducing the market value (even though taxable value stays the same and you don't save anything) you will get charged a portion of that. 

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Wasn’t there a cap passed in legislation last year where values can only go up by x amount? Like 2% I think I remember hearing.

Edited by Tailgate

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49 minutes ago, Tailgate said:

Wasn’t there a cap passed in legislation last year where values can only go up by x amount? Like 2% I think I remember hearing.

Taxes rates can only go up by 2.5% without voter approval. I think appraised values on homes can still go us as much as prior years (capped at 10% for ones with Homestead exemption)

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10 minutes ago, ZB'Tejas said:

Taxes rates can only go up by 2.5% without voter approval. I think appraised values on homes can still go us as much as prior years (capped at 10% for ones with Homestead exemption)

Gotcha...how can the appraised value go to 10% since that is what you would be taxed on...so a 10% increase? Where does the 2.5% come into play? Thanks for clarifying...not a math guy just trying to figure it out for this years Ass kicking.

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20 minutes ago, Tailgate said:

Gotcha...how can the appraised value go to 10% since that is what you would be taxed on...so a 10% increase? Where does the 2.5% come into play? Thanks for clarifying...not a math guy just trying to figure it out for this years Ass kicking.

I took it to mean that the underlying tax rate could only increase by 2.5%. For example the City of Austin tax rate is .4431%. That could go up only 2% but your appraised/taxable amount on your house could still increase from 500K to 550K. 

I also think that was only on City and maybe county taxes. It might not apply to the School District tax which is the highest rate anyway. (Austin ISD was 1.122% last year)

Edited by ZB'Tejas

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What’s there to figure out? We’re all gonna get our asses kicked. Hard.

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Well we may not need a 2020 thread in Travis Co.  The Statesman is reporting that the Travis chief appraiser told some local school districts that the appraiser will not be re-appraising residential properties for 2020.  Evidently TCAD is not allowed access to MLS data, but somehow they were deriving the data from other sources and the Austin Board of Realtors sent them a cease and desist order to stop doing that.  TCAD says they can't do their job without this data (which, in theory, they are not supposed to have?) so they don't plan to reappraise residential properties this year.  Seems like that is kinda their job.

So, if you live in Travis County your appraised value from 2019 may be your appraised value for 2020.  Will your taxes still go up?  Of course!  If you were limited last year by the 10% per year cap, your taxable value will rise even if your appraised value does not.  Also, I think the new SB2 caps on tax (2.5% for schools and 3.5% for county and city -- I think) apply to tax revenue and not to tax rates.  If true, this means that everyone except the school district can probably just crank up the tax rate to account for not having higher appraised values, to hit the maximum revenue values allowed under law.  And they will.

The school district tax works a little bit differently.  I'm not sure if Austin ISD is currently maxed out on tax rate or if there is a little room left to crank it up.

 

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"As for getting information from homebuyers voluntarily, Martinez said, “Last month we mailed out 22,000 questionnaires to Travis County property owners about their recent purchase of property and only got 2,300 back.” Some of the answers they received were less than helpful. Martinez said one new homeowner reported that “they paid $6 and gave a sexual favor” for their new home. "

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19 hours ago, Texas Jeff said:

Well we may not need a 2020 thread in Travis Co.  The Statesman is reporting that the Travis chief appraiser told some local school districts that the appraiser will not be re-appraising residential properties for 2020

Is that why protax chewing their fee structure?

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59 minutes ago, Pasken said:

"As for getting information from homebuyers voluntarily, Martinez said, “Last month we mailed out 22,000 questionnaires to Travis County property owners about their recent purchase of property and only got 2,300 back.” Some of the answers they received were less than helpful. Martinez said one new homeowner reported that “they paid $6 and gave a sexual favor” for their new home. "

A 10% response to a government mailer in a Texas is actually pretty good.  Also, my friend wants to know this this $6 blowjob gal is, as his condo is on the market soon 

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20 hours ago, Texas Jeff said:

Well we may not need a 2020 thread in Travis Co.  The Statesman is reporting that the Travis chief appraiser told some local school districts that the appraiser will not be re-appraising residential properties for 2020.  Evidently TCAD is not allowed access to MLS data, but somehow they were deriving the data from other sources and the Austin Board of Realtors sent them a cease and desist order to stop doing that.  TCAD says they can't do their job without this data (which, in theory, they are not supposed to have?) so they don't plan to reappraise residential properties this year.  Seems like that is kinda their job.

So, if you live in Travis County your appraised value from 2019 may be your appraised value for 2020.  Will your taxes still go up?  Of course!  If you were limited last year by the 10% per year cap, your taxable value will rise even if your appraised value does not.  Also, I think the new SB2 caps on tax (2.5% for schools and 3.5% for county and city -- I think) apply to tax revenue and not to tax rates.  If true, this means that everyone except the school district can probably just crank up the tax rate to account for not having higher appraised values, to hit the maximum revenue values allowed under law.  And they will.

The school district tax works a little bit differently.  I'm not sure if Austin ISD is currently maxed out on tax rate or if there is a little room left to crank it up.

 

I bought a house in 19 with an appraised value 35% less than purchase price. I'm going to do cartwheels if they don't reappraise. 

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11 minutes ago, mapplewhite132 said:

I bought a house in 19 with an appraised value 35% less than purchase price. I'm going to do cartwheels if they don't reappraise. 

Same. I bought in 2018 and got the purchase price for my appraisal for 2019. I won’t see an increase until 2021 and have the homestead exemption to slow it down. We’ll probably move in 2022 (for school zoning) anyway so this is great. 

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21 hours ago, Texas Jeff said:

Well we may not need a 2020 thread in Travis Co.  The Statesman is reporting that the Travis chief appraiser told some local school districts that the appraiser will not be re-appraising residential properties for 2020.  Evidently TCAD is not allowed access to MLS data, but somehow they were deriving the data from other sources and the Austin Board of Realtors sent them a cease and desist order to stop doing that.  TCAD says they can't do their job without this data (which, in theory, they are not supposed to have?) so they don't plan to reappraise residential properties this year.  Seems like that is kinda their job.

So, if you live in Travis County your appraised value from 2019 may be your appraised value for 2020.  Will your taxes still go up?  Of course!  If you were limited last year by the 10% per year cap, your taxable value will rise even if your appraised value does not.  Also, I think the new SB2 caps on tax (2.5% for schools and 3.5% for county and city -- I think) apply to tax revenue and not to tax rates.  If true, this means that everyone except the school district can probably just crank up the tax rate to account for not having higher appraised values, to hit the maximum revenue values allowed under law.  And they will.

The school district tax works a little bit differently.  I'm not sure if Austin ISD is currently maxed out on tax rate or if there is a little room left to crank it up.

 

I have to say shame on TCAD. There may be a legitimate argument that the sale prices are the most accurate values for appraisals and should be used. But that argument is forfeited when TCAD went sleazy and paid the CoreLogic company a bribe with our tax money to steal the MLS data instead of raising the issue and putting public or legal pressure on the realtor associations. Now they are fear mongering about school districts getting screwed by greedy realtors and home owners not wanting to “pay their fair share.” Austin city and Travis county populations have exploded, new properties created, appraisals way up, tax rates up...all these things compound for exponential growth of tax revenues. I haven’t seen exponential growth of city services, police, firemen, teachers, etc. Don’t cry about being underfunded. 

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1 hour ago, Anastasis said:

Is that why protax chewing their fee structure?

I'm gonna guess ProTax knew this ahead of time and got as many $150 fees up front to stay in business until next year. They got my $150 a week ago unfortunately.

 

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