Dallas Central Appraisal District
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A Brief History

Prior to 1979, each tax agency in Texas could have its own tax office if it desired. Accordingly, Texas had over 3,000 separate tax offices, each following its own standards and local practices. This resulted in untrained and unqualified personnel administering local tax offices under procedures and policies that were often influenced by local politics. Values were inaccurate and inequitable. Property owners were required to visit multiple tax offices in order to resolve any dispute that may have existed for a single property.

In 1979 the Texas Legislature, reacting to a chronic and growing problem of inequitable and unfair taxation, passed new legislation in Senate Bill 621 requiring that a centralized agency be established in each county for the purpose of appraising property for ad valorem tax purposes. These agencies, called "Central Appraisal Districts", were organized to ensure that property taxation was fair and equitable as well as accurate. By law, a central appraisal district is to be managed by a professional staff having training and education prescribed by the State of Texas. Also a Tax Code was written that prescribed appraisal standards and appeal procedures and ensured regular review of each appraisal district by a state agency.

Today the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) appraises property in all of Dallas County. We cover an area of approximately 900 square miles and are responsible for valuing approximately 858,000 properties.

Our agency is organized very similarly to a corporation. We have a Board of Directors that represents the 63 governments of Dallas County. The Board appoints an Executive Director/Chief Appraiser who is responsible for the daily operation of the district. Staffing of the district varies according to the workload, and is currently budgeted for 244 employees.

Each year our agency has a financial audit performed by independent auditors. In addition, the Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Property Tax Assistance Division conducts either a Property Value Study (PVS) to assess the uniformity and level of appraisal or a Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) review to verify compliance with mandated operating procedures.

In 2003 the DCAD installed MARS (Mass Appraisal Record System). The MARS system allows our appraisers to remotely access the appraisal file with the use of iPads. While on a property site, our appraisers can review data concerning the property as well as measure, inspect, and value the property. Our appraisers have remote access to data , including digital color photographs of each improved property, Geographic Information System (GIS) information, such as flood plains, city limits, school district and other political boundaries, etc. All of this information is used to help the appraiser make a fair and equitable appraisal of your property.

In 2012 Dallas CAD was the recipient of three outstanding awards for accomplishments in various operations. In July 2012 Dallas CAD was awarded a Special Achievement Award from ERSI for its work in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) area for implementing a solution in property tax assessment whereby the parcel fabric is an editable environment for property boundary information. In September 2012 the District was the recipient of the Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction Award from the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) for its successful implementation of three programs: the general homestead application online filing system; a mobile website that allows the public to easily access information via smart-phones; and an electronic notification system which allows property owners the choice of receiving communications electronically from the District. This is the third time the Dallas CAD has won this award. In October 2012 Dallas CAD received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for its preparation of budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting. This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.

Over forty years have passed since the DCAD was first organized by the State. Our agency has matured into one of the most advanced, cost efficient and accurate appraisal districts in the State of Texas.

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