DALLAS - The annual property appraisal process in Texas will be upended for some due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
In many counties notices won’t go out as expected. In places they will be sent out, many appraisal district offices are closed, meaning the in-person protest process is also in jeopardy at a time when property values are expected to go up.
Denton County will begin sending notices the last week of April, with Tarrant County not that far behind on May 1. Dallas and Collin counties have no specific date set so far, only saying the notice and protest process is “under review”
“The process to protest is still kind of up in the air,” said Chandler Crouch, a real estate broker who also protests taxes for free in Tarrant County. “The appraisal districts are still trying to figure out how they can legally reorganize the entire system to allow avenues to protest and come to an agreement of a fair value without having to appear in person.”
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Crouch says in North Texas property values have generally gone up and the timing couldn’t be worse. He anticipates more people may want or need to protest a higher value this yearto keep their taxes from increasing significantly.
“I think everybody knows that real estate is going to be affected by this virus, but the values that are being proposed are going to be values as of January 1. So I think that there’s a good, good chance that if someone receives that value notice in the mail and their value has gone up significantly it’s going to be a very difficult time for people,” Crouch said.
He said there are several ideas on the table for how appraisal districts statewide will handle this process, but it’s complicated and each solution has its obstacles.
In the meantime, some counties like Denton are encouraging people to use the online or by-phone appeal process.
Crouch said the best advice he can give right now, especially if for people concerned about increasing property taxes, is use the downtime to start collecting estimates from contractors about repairs that may need to be done. He said take photos and become well-acquainted with the condition of your house so you are ready when the time comes.