An obscure provision in the tax code allows vulnerable populations to apply for a property tax waiver, but TAD can remove the waiver if residents don’t verify their eligibility. One Fort Worth couple almost lost their house because they didn’t respond to TAD notices.
Jennifer CvengrosAwe...this makes me sad but it's a happy ending. Most people don't know anything about property taxes and the CAD's should be a little more sympathetic to people. Especially when there is good cause like this one.
Fourth CoatesThe following are excerpts from the St. Mary’s School of Law Journal article “Unequal & Unfair: Why Texas Should Require Mandatory Sales Price Disclosure to Reconcile the Texas Property Tax Code With the Texas Constitution” by Nathan Morey 5/10/2010
“All real property . . . shall be taxed in proportion to its value, which shall be ascertained as may be provided by law.” “It is not for taxing authorities to decide what property shall escape taxation; that right lies alone with the people in the writing of their Constitution and with the Legislature in the enactment of laws.” “The legislature has no power to sanction discrimination between taxpayers by taking away defenses.” The language quoted above, from the Texas constitution and the Supreme Court of Texas, might lead one to believe that all taxpayers pay the government an equal percentage of their property’s actual value each year. This, however, is not the case in the great State of Texas.
In Texas, Nothing Is Certain but Death and Unequal Taxation. The discrepancy between the cash value of a piece of land when it is sold and its appraisal value is not uncommon in Texas. Commercial property and high-end residential real estate are often undervalued by appraisal districts throughout the state. Because Texas counties, cities, and school districts depend on local ad valorem property taxes for revenue, this widespread problem of under-appraising properties has led to a growing concern that revenue is being lost and that the tax burden is being unequally shouldered by middle-class homeowners.
The problem in Texas is simple: the state’s constitution sets a standard that its statutory provisions cannot satisfy. On one hand, the Texas constitution requires equality in taxation, while on the other, the Tax Code does not give appraisal districts the necessary tools to achieve that result. While the constitution requires property to be appraised according to value, real world transactions indicate that this is not happening. If appraisal districts are, in fact, appraising commercial and high-end residential property as accurately as the existing Tax Code permits, then reform must come from either the courts or the legislature. While an attack on the constitutionality of the appraisal process and the Tax Code might seem appealing, such an action would be difficult to maintain due to the language of the Tax Code itself, which places the source of these unequal appraisals—lack of commercial and high-end residential sales data—beyond the reach of both courts and appraisal districts. The legislature has designated the remedies within the Tax Code as exclusive, an indication that it intends to constrain the courts’ participation in the appraisal process, limiting their remedial action to the specific provisions of the Tax Code. Because such an attack on the Tax Code is so problematic, the surest way to bring about equality and uniformity to ad valorem taxation is to pass new legislation requiring mandatory sales price disclosure in Texas
One thing is abundantly clear: the State of Texas must equip appraisal districts with the necessary tools to discover the market data sorely needed to equalize appraisals throughout the state. As it stands, many homeowners are stuck between a rock and a hard place or, perhaps better said, between an unequal appraisal and an inadequate Tax Code.
This is a link to the entire article: www.stmaryslawjournal.org/pdfs/Moreyreadytogo.pdf