Trey Rome Tackles Tax Questions of These Times

About eight years ago, Trey Rome left a vice president position at Amegy Bank and started Home Tax Solutions at his kitchen table.

Today, the Preston Hollow resident and SMU graduate oversees five offices throughout Texas.

“We are a company founded on the philosophy of caring about all the people with whom we work, a value I learned from one of my professors while at SMU,” he said.

Robert Puelz taught, “The most important thing about a business is its people,” Rome said.

The property tax loan originator Rome leads as CEO has drawn recognition from business publications and his alma mater for its growth.

Last year, Cox School’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship honored HTS as one of the top 100 Dallas privately-held entrepreneurial companies.

This year, with a pandemic arriving between the appraising of properties and the setting of tax rates, could prove as confusing as any.

Q: Why are property taxes going up in this pandemic?

Trey: The market value was set as of Jan. 1 and available in May for each property owner. However, in Jan. 1 of this year, which was pre-COVID-19, property values were still increasing.

The second way your property tax bill is calculated is through setting tax rates for each taxing jurisdiction. Now that the economy is struggling, your city and county, along with the local police, fire, hospitals, and schools are short on funds from other tax (sales) revenues from the state. The shortfall needs to be made up by, you guessed it, property taxes.

Q: Can you explain what the Disaster Declaration by Gov. Abbott means to homeowners?

Trey: The law was intended for physical disaster from storm damage, not the economic disaster we are currently living. The Texas Municipal League is telling its city members that because Gov. Abbott issued an emergency disaster declaration, these governments could increase their budgets to just under 8% instead of 3.5% to avoid elections. That means your taxes would go up.

Q: Is there any general advice you can give homeowners regarding paying property taxes?

Trey: 1. The first golden rule: make sure that you have your homestead exemption applied for your place of residence. This drastically reduces your tax bill.

2. If you bought your house in the last two years and CAD values are higher than your actual contract price, bring your contract to the appraisal district, and they will almost always honor the price on your contract.

3. Dallas has notoriously been tough budging on land values. If your improvement values have increased (without any new substantial remodeling or improving), you have a great case to lower your values.

4. If you are like most people and don’t have the time to protest your taxes yourself, engage a reputable property tax protest company, and they will automatically protest your taxes each year. Most are contingent-based and only take a percentage of the savings you save on your property tax bill.

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