This change addresses the ability to reschedule an appraisal review board an unlimited number of times for “good cause”. It will be most interesting to see if the appraisal districts and appraisal review boards honor the intent of the legislature. It is unlikely they will. The legislature did not define “good cause”, but leaves interpretation to appraisal districts and appraisal review boards.

The reason we do not believe appraisal districts and appraisal review boards will honor the intent of the legislature are primarily: 1) appraisal districts and not appraisal review boards will generally make the decision about whether or not to reschedule the hearing and 2) “good cause” is a legal term of art subject to interpretation.

Let’s take the case of someone whose spouse has terminal cancer and is also trying to protest an unreasonable property tax assessment. Unfortunately, the problems that arise and the need for medical care are unpredicatable. However, assuming you have already used your request to reschedule and you call the day before the hearing because your spouse has a doctors appointment the following day. Will the clerk who answers the phone agree to reschedule the hearing a second time?

The issue is appraisal districts are focused on certifying the tax roll. Your protest can be resolved by having a hearing or dismissing it because there was no hearing (since you did not appear). For the appraisal district, a “no show” is the ideal resolution, since it completes the hearing without the effort of actually having it, and moves them closer to certification.

While the intent of this change in the Tax Code is favorable, don’t expect appraisal districts or appraisal review boards to follow the intent of the law. The term “good cause” is subject to interpretation, and there is really no practical remedy if they decline to reschedule for cause.