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State representative asks Texas governor to freeze property appraisals amid coronavirus concerns

Property owners will soon be facing property tax rates that may not accurately reflect their current property values.
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Think your property taxes will be less this year given the current economic downturn?

Think again.

Property owners will soon be facing property tax rates that may not accurately reflect their current property values.

That's because appraisals will be based on values as of Jan. 1, before the current economic downturn.

Proposed solutions

Given the current state of the economy coupled with job losses across Texas, many leaders including city, county and state elected officials have lobbied the state for permission to grant residents relief this tax season.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, of Canton, is one of them.

"It's a very serious problem that I think needs to be addressed," Flynn said.

Renters are unlikely to be immune because "rent is going to go up if property taxes go up," he said.

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Flynn sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott last week asking him to freeze last year's appraisal values for this year or require all appraisal districts to reappraise based on current market conditions.

"As long as people are being told they can't go work, we don't want their property values to continue to go up," Flynn said. "There's no question we are going to have a downturn in property values because of what's been happening."

WFAA has reached out to the governor's office to see if this is a move Abbott is considering. The office had not responded Thursday afternoon. 

Unless the governor waives or suspends laws regarding appraisals, property appraisals will be based on values as of Jan. 1.

"I would like to see each county given the flexibility to make a decision on what they want to do," Flynn said. 

He believes individual counties would need permission from the governor to do so.

What about protests?

Another piece to this puzzle is protests.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of people appealed their appraisals in Tarrant and Dallas counties.

So how does that work if there are stay at home orders in place?

While all property owners reserve the right to appeal their appraisals, it is likely that the process for filing an appeal may look a little different this year.

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Generally, appraisal notices are sent out at the beginning of April, giving property owners approximately six weeks to file protests.

But given the stay-at-home guidelines, employees for Tarrant and Dallas county appraisal districts are working from home.

In Tarrant County, property owners will likely not see their appraisals until around May 1. Due to the delay in sending out the notices, the Tarrant Appraisal District will extend the deadline to file a protest to June 1st.

Whether Dallas Appraisal District will follow suit remains unknown.

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