Tips to Understand Dallas Property Tax

As Benjamin Franklin once famously opined, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Don’t let your property taxes be the death of you. Follow this guide to understand how your home is taxed, to whom you pay taxes, and money saving exemptions.

As Benjamin Franklin once famously opined, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Don’t let your property taxes be the death of you — follow this guide to understand how your Dallas home is taxed, to whom you pay taxes, and money saving exemptions.

Property Taxes in Dallas

The Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) regulates the taxation of properties in the whole of Dallas County. For a deeper understanding of how tax rates are determined and the timing of tax payments, visit our previous Dallas property tax blog.

Home Value “Market Rate”

Each year, you’ll receive a statement from DCAD that sets out the market value of your home. Don’t confuse this “market value” with what an appraiser would set as a fair value for your home. Texas imposes limitations on market values, typically resulting in values thousands lower than an actual appraisal would determine.

Sounds good, right? After all, your home might be appraised to sell at $250,000, but you may only pay taxes on a market value of $200,000. In actuality, this is a mixed bag. DCAD uses predictive modeling to adjust market values annually. Predictive modeling may not take into consideration factors specific to your home.

For that reason, DCAD allows homeowners to protest the market value of their properties. The DCAD Appraisal Review Board (ARB) begins considering protests on May 1st of each year and can make determinations on a wide range of issues, from assessed market value to agricultural property usage to the incorrect application of property taxing entities. It is your right to protest inaccuracies you perceive on your annual valuation notice.

Taxing Districts

Within Dallas, you’ll pay taxes to a number of taxing units. The main entities that benefit from your taxes include the City of Dallas, the Dallas Independent School District, Dallas County, the Dallas Community College District, and the Parkland Hospital District. Depending on where you specifically live in Dallas, you may also pay taxes to the Dallas County Flood Control District, the Dallas County Utility and Reclamation District, or the Dallas County School Equalization District.

Fortunately, for understanding’s sake, most of those names are self-explanatory. To learn more about each district specifically and the taxing rates they have adopted, visit the DCAD taxing units page.

Homeowner Exemptions

A penny saved is a penny earned, and never is that more true than when paying taxes. Rather than applying the taxing district rates to the market value of your home, DCAD enables residents to claim exemptions that lower tax bills. If you occupy your property as your primary residence, your most important tax saving instrument is the Homeowners Exemption. On top of that, you can also stack the Over 65 exemption, Disabled Person or Disabled Veteran exemption, and/or Surviving Spouse exemption, (either of a disabled person or a military member killed in action).

Multiple exemptions can be applied to the same property. Each exemption removes either a dollar amount or percentage of total amount from the property’s value for certain taxing districts. In addition, other exemptions are available for properties used for religious or charitable purposes, and for agricultural or pollution control activities. A complete list of exemptions is available through DCAD.

Now that you’ve learned about the market value of your home that is used for taxing purposes, the various entities to whom your Dallas property tax dollars flow, and various exemptions to save money, it’s time to dive into your own home’s particular value and taxing to ensure you’re paying only what you owe — and not a penny more!


Tiffany wasn't born in Texas, but she got here as fast as she could. She and her husband have gained extensive experience buying, selling, renovating and flipping homes in the DFW area. A professional freelance writer, Tiffany enjoys contributing real estate and home improvement articles to the Coldwell Banker site and working with other clients to craft content that's specially designed to generate interest while sharing valuable ideas.

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