This lawsuit is necessary because the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) is hiding information about (a) how the Chief Appraiser creates the appraised values he establishes on property tax purposes and (b) how he decides on which properties to send notices of appraised values promptly and on which properties he’ll strategically delay sending such notices. Specifically—despite and in defiance of a ruling by the Texas Attorney General ordering them to turn over the records—HCAD is hiding its complete procedure by which the Chief Appraiser selects properties that are comparable to the property being appraised, a crucial procedure for making sure properties are appraised equally and uniformly. In addition, this year the Chief Appraiser held back over 240,000 notices of appraised value from being sent out when the other notices went out, and then claimed to have no written information about how properties are selected to receive delayed notices. And the Chief Appraiser is concealing the tentative value on those delayed-notice properties, even though those properties are comparable to properties already in the ARB protest hearing process. CDC contends that withholding the information is part of a deliberate scheme by HCAD and its Chief Appraiser to put taxpayers at a disadvantage in ARB protest hearings on the values the Chief Appraiser sets.

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