Property Taxes and a World Class House Discussion

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Property Taxes and a World-Class House

Ross Perot, Texas billionaire and candidate for president in 1992, owns an 8,264-square-foot house with four fireplaces and five baths on more than twenty- five acres of land in North Dallas. His estate also has a 5,327-square-foot rental house with 2.2 acres he purchased around 1988. This parcel has been for sale for about a year, with an asking price of $1.2 million. In 1992, the Dallas Central Appraisal District assessed the main house and land at $12,279,600 and the rental property at $1,220,340. (Those had been the assessment levels for three years.) For 1993, the values were $11,870,550 and $1,200,000 in recognition of declining residential prop- erty values in Texas. The district uses full-market-value assessment in its appraisals, but often estimates values by area rather than conducting detailed assessments of each parcel.

The district received 65,000 assessment protests in 1993, one of them being from Mr. Perot. He had not protested in earlier years, but comparable sales in the neighborhood led him to conclude that his properties were overassessed. After the initial hearing, his assessment was reduced by $96,100; he filed suit for further reduction in state district court, the normal avenue to continue the appeal. Following routine procedure, assessing officials will inspect and appraise the property; that is the normal approach to beginning negotiations

Consider These Questions

1. What approaches may apply in this assessment question, and what problems do they have?

2. What is your view of the assessment system briefly outlined here?

3. What help does the asking price for the rental property give the assessor?

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