In Texas, dealing with property taxes and property valuations can be a major chore. The appraisal review board (ARB) in your county is supposed to be the independent arbiter of all property valuations. In some cases, the ARB gets things right. But, there are other times in which the ARB sides with the county appraisal district's initial assessment of the value of your property. If this is the case, then you may feel like you're out of luck, even if you had a good case. Are there options to achieve a correct valuation after you've gone through protest hearings with the ARB?
1. Accept It and Pay Your Taxes
If the Appraisal Review Board decides that your protest is invalid, then they will send you a ruling and you will be liable for the taxes levied against you and your property. This is obviously a road that most people do not want to go down, but it may be the road with the least hassle. You won't have to schedule any more appeals or protests and you can simply live your life with a less hefty wallet.
2. Consult an Attorney or Other Tax Professional
When the ARB hearing is over and you think you may have been defrauded, you should talk to an attorney or tax professional. They will have the best advice for achieving a more favorable outcome for you. They can also tell you if you have a case or not. This is a much better option than just accepting the ARB's ruling and it opens up several other possibilities down the road.
3. Review by the District Court
If you are unsatisfied with the decision of the ARB, then you can choose to appeal. In order for this appeal to be applicable, you need to file a petition with the district court within 60 days of receiving the ARB's decision notice in the mail. The district court in your county will then review the ARB's findings and your claims to make a decision. Again, you should consult an attorney or tax professional before choosing this route.
4. Review by Binding Arbitration
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reports that individuals looking to settle the dispute through binding arbitration must file with the appropriate CAD within 45 days of receiving the ARB’s decision notice. If you chose to appeal through district court, you can choose binding arbitration with a judge or jury. Binding arbitration occurs between the individual in question and the CAD.
The CAD and the individual must mutually choose an arbitrator or the comptroller will choose an arbitrator for them. The individual must also provide a $500 deposit in cashier’s check or money order. If the arbitrator decides in favor of the individual, then they get their deposit back and the CAD is forced to pay for the arbitrator's services. Of course, if the arbitrator sides with the ARB, the arbitrator's fee is taken from the deposit.
5. Review by State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH)
You can also take your appeal to the SOAH if the property in question was appraised to be over $1,000,000 in value. Other conditions may apply when using this method. To employ this method, you need to file a "Notice of Appeal by Property Owner" with the chief appraiser at the applicable CAD within 30 days of receiving the ARB's decision notice. Although it may seem like you are all out of options when the ARB hearing is over, there are actually more possibilities than you might think. Appealing the ARB's findings is an important practice that can pay some major dividends.
Contact O'Connor and Associate today for more information on what to do after the ARB hearing is over.
Posted in: Protest Property Taxes Keywords: Texas Property Tax Protests, Harris County Appraisal District, Property Tax Company Houston, Property Tax Appeal Planning