If you're in the process of establishing a hearing with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB), then you may be compiling your evidences to prove your case. Of course, the county appraisal district (CAD) is doing the exact same thing. While it's good to have all your evidences in order, there are a few things that you should avoid. Contacting ARB members is on the top of the list of things you shouldn't do. Wanting to decrease the assessed value of your property is natural.
Obviously, a quality property tax company in Houston can make these issues a little easier to deal with. Not talking to the ARB before your hearing is also a good idea for a number of reasons.
1. Your Hearing Will Be Cancelled
Perhaps, the most important reason that you should avoid speaking with the ARB before your hearing is that you may not have a hearing when you’re finished. If you instigate a conversation with an ARB member prior to your hearing, the board may be forced to throw out your protest. This should be avoided at all costs if you want to continue on with the hearing process. In the state of Texas, any conversation with an ARB member about your appraisal protest can be considered a conflict of interest that could sway the member’s decision in your favor. The ARB is meant to be impartial, meaning that it can't look as if they have any external dealings with the property owner or the CAD.
2. The ARB Member Could Wind Up in Jail
If an ARB member talks to an official from the CAD about a particular hearing, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The ARB is set up to check the powers of the CAD. If members of the ARB and members of the CAD are working together or discussing properties outside of the protest hearing, it is a major conflict of interest. In most cases, the ARB and CAD are not in cahoots, but the CAD may mount impressive defenses against the property owner. In that case, it's important to have a solid tax company in Houston on your side.
3. Members Must Recuse Themselves from Hearings
If an ARB member discusses a property under protest with anyone outside of the actual hearing, then, by law, they must recuse themselves from the hearing. This means that even if you talk to an ARB member outside of the hearing, they legally wouldn't be able to sit in and make judgments on your case. Even if you are friends with an ARB member outside of the property protest arena, they cannot be swayed by any external conversations. Indeed, if an ARB member talks about your property protest with literally anyone, they should recuse themselves from your hearing.
In large part, the reason for not talking to anyone from the ARB is to avoid any bias or partiality. The process is supposed to be a wholly independent review of a property and its assessed value, and, when someone discusses these topics with a member of the ARB, it cheapens the whole ordeal.
Contact O'Connor & Associates today to learn more about your property taxes hearing!
Posted in: Protest Property Taxes Keywords: Harris County Appraisal District, Property tax company Houston, Property Tax questions Texas