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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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T&P Warehouse: Historic building remains in limbo as area redevelops

For years, the historic T&P Warehouse on West Lancaster Avenue downtown, built in 1931 to house freight for the Texas Pacific Railway, has sat vacant and deteriorating.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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Glen Garden sale closes, distillery on tap

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. closed late Wednesday on its purchase of the historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth, with plans to convert it into a whiskey distillery and bucolic visitor attraction.

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Fort Worth may audit homestead exemptions

By Scott Nishimura
snishimura@bizpress.net

Fort Worth may conduct an audit of existing homestead exemptions in the city to make sure they’re valid and the city isn’t losing property tax money.

The City Council is scheduled to vote April 15 on whether to approve a contract with a vendor. Tax Management Associates, that would audit homestead exemptions. The vendor would be paid a flat fee per exemption removed, once the city collects the tax revenue, the staff told council members in a report.

The amount of the proposed fee was not immediately available.

According to TMA estimates, “the city may achieve a net gain from the audit in the first year even after fees are taken into account,” the staff report said. “Greenville County, S.C., was able to recover almost $2.5 million in additional revenues during the first 18 months after having TMA perform such an audit.”

The report also said, “this audit will provide a long-term benefit by helping ensure that going forward, the city receives the revenue that it is owed.“

The audit will validate application, but won’t change the structure of homestead exemptions, the report said.

If the audit finds exemptions the audit states may be invalid, the property owner would receive an initial notice from TMA, with information about the state’s homestead exemption and who to contact for questions.

If the Tarrant Appraisal District reviews the documentation and agrees the exemption “appears to be in error,” the property owner would receive a second notice stating the district intends to remove the exemption and the property owner has 30 days to protest.

If the exemption is eventually removed, the property owner would see a tax bill within two to six weeks for the amount owned, and would have three to six weeks to pay before penalties and interest apply, the report said.

If the audit finds the exemption has been incorrectly awarded for multiple years, the taxpayer would be required to pay additional taxes for up to the last five years in arrears, the report said.

The homestead exemption allows taxing entities to exempt up to 20 percent of a home’s value for property tax calculations. Fort Worth's is 20 percent.

To claim a homestead exemption for a given year, the property owner and spouse must have owned and occupied the home as their principal residence as of Jan. 1 that year. Only one homestead exemption is allowed per taxpayer.

Condos and mobile homes qualify.

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