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New arena at Will Rogers takes shape


The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

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Ex Rangers manager Washington apologizes for 'breaking wife's trust'

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington says he is embarrassed for 'breaking his wife's trust.'

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Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

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Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

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Trinity Valley School leader to leave in May 2015

Gary Krahn, head of school for the past eight years at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, will leave his position in May 2015 when he and his wife Paula will move

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Fort Worth's homestead exemption audit would cost up to $2.7 million

By Scott Nishimura

snishimura@bizpress.net

Fort Worth would spend up to $2.7 million to 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 staff made the estimate to the City Council in a report ahead of Tuesday’s council vote on whether to conduct the audit. The staff disclosed a week and a half ago that it scheduled the audit for the vote.

Tax Management Associates is the vendor, and it would be paid a flat fee per exemption removed, once the city collects the tax revenue. The council will vote on approving TMA and the $2.7 million maximum fee.

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 earlier 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.

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.

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 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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What do you think of the new plans for a new Will Rogers arena and changes at the Convention Center?