Can my local property tax appraisal district tax me for my fireplace after never taxing it for 10 years?

Asked by Gracie, Kingsville, TX Mon Dec 29, 2008

There are some very sneaky people working for my local appraisal district. This year I received a notice adjusting the tax assessment of my home. It went up. My husband and I went by there. They said they had made an error the past 10 years, but that my fireplace was never coded as taxable. The appraiser said it was considered an amenity, just like a swimming pool. Is this true? She also asked if I would call her and let her know if my neighbors had a fireplace. I told her NO, that is your job! Well, I asked some of my neighbors who do have a fireplace if they were being taxed. All said NO. Is there something I can do to have this removed or try another avenue to reduce my taxes? I have the homestead and the disability exemption.

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T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Dec 29, 2008
Yes a fireplace is an amenity and it increases the value of a house by about 1K to 3K depending on how elaborate it is. I would suggest that you get a market analysis of homes that sold in the neighborhood with a fireplace and dispute it if the value is much cheaper than yours.

Most Realtors are usually happy to provide this service free of charge. I would but I don't have access to the MLS system in your area.

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Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Tue Dec 30, 2008

If it's there and they can tax it they will. I've heard of full homes not being know about for years and then WHAM they find out about them and of course start taxing. At least normally there's no retro tax. You can always fight your taxes with the first method being an appeal when the valuation comes out. This is normally about April or May timeframe. That is if you think their valuation is over the real value of your home. You need to take evidence and support your value. That might be contracts from neighbors, CMAs from realtors, pictures of your house and others, maps and traffic counts, etc. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself there are often people that will fight for you. You can look at my website and click on the vendor link. There under tax you will find links to several firms that can help you fight your valuation.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Dec 29, 2008
Difficult to go against city if that is code for tax fireplace you have no choice.
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