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Property Tax Value Appraisal 41.43

Section 41.43 – Protest of Determination of Value of Inequality of Appraisal

Property tax appeals are the only time when rules favor the property owner instead of the appraisal district of the tax entity. The appraisal district sets the noticed value and the property owner has to timely file a protest. If taxes are not paid timely, the owner is burdened with substantial penalties, interest and (in some cases) attorney fees.

Key advantages for the owner regarding the appeal are 1) the appraisal district has the burden of establishing the value of the property by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing, 2) the right to appeal unequal appraisal, and 3) the right to obtain the appraisal district evidence 14 days before the hearing (known as a HB201 package).

Since the appraisal district has the burden of establishing the value of the property by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing, it must have some evidence and that evidence must be somewhat more impressive than evidence presented by the owner (or the owner’s property tax consultant). It does not mean the appraisal district has to prove its value beyond doubt. It simply means the appraisal district needs to present better evidence at the hearing (for property tax appeals on market value and unequal appraisal).

Owners who request the appraisal district provide the evidence 14 days before the hearing limit what can be presented at the hearing to what was provided. If the appraisal district fails to provide any evidence regarding either market value or unequal appraisal (and the owner timely filed a property tax protest for both), the law requires the owner wins if he can produce some evidence on the relevant basis of appeal.

Burden of proof is a legal concept with a complex level of nuances. Many appraisal review boards do not understand or choose to ignore this section of the Texas Property Tax Code. For example, during a hearing at the Dallas County Appraisal District in the summer of 2006, appraisal review board members declined to rule in favor of the property owner on unequal appraisal even though the appraisal district presented no evidence on unequal appraisal. There are numerous less-subtle cases where it appears the property owner clearly presented better evidence and the appraisal review board ruled in favor of the appraisal district.

Appraisal review boards have made meaningful progress in understanding and following the Texas Property Tax Code. It is likely more appraisal districts and appraisal review boards will more closely follow the law in the future.

Sec. 41.43. Protest of Determination of Value or Inequality of Appraisal.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (d), in a protest authorized by Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2), the appraisal district has the burden of establishing the value of the property by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing. If the appraisal district fails to meet that standard, the protest shall be determined in favor of the property owner.

(b) A protest on the ground of unequal appraisal of property shall be determined in favor of the protesting party unless the appraisal district establishes that:

(1) the appraisal ratio of the property is equal to or less than the median level of appraisal of a reasonable and representative sample of other properties in the appraisal district;

(2) the appraisal ratio of the property is equal to or less than the median level of appraisal of a sample of properties in the appraisal district consisting of a reasonable number of other properties similarly situated to, or of the same general kind or character as, the property subject to the protest; or

(3) the appraised value of the property is equal to or less than the median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted.

(c) For purposes of this section, evidence includes the data, schedules, formulas, or other information used to establish the matter at issue.

(d) If the property owner fails to deliver, before the date of the hearing, a rendition statement or property report required by Chapter 22 or a response to the chief appraiser’s request for information under Section 22.07(c), the property owner has the burden of establishing the value of the property by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing. If the property owner fails to meet that standard, the protest shall be determined in favor of the appraisal district.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 170, ch. 13, Sec. 137; amended by 1983 Tex. Laws, p. 4924, ch. 877, Sec. 2; amended by 1985 Tex. Laws, p. 6149, ch. 823, Sec. 3; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 3601, ch. 796, Sec. 35; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws., p. 3915, ch. 1039, Sec. 37; amended by 2003 Tex. Laws, 78th Leg., ch. 1041, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; 2003 Tex. Laws, 78th Leg., ch. 1173, Sec. 11, eff. Jan. 1, 2004..

Cross References:
Median level of appraisal, see Sec. 1.12.
Appeal based on unequal appraisal, see Sec. 42.26.

Note:
To determine an unequal appraisal protest in favor of the property owner provided by Tax Code Section 41.43, the appraisal review board’s appraised value should be used since that is the only appraised value in existence when a protest is brought before district court. No conflict exists with Section 42.23 because the appraised value is simply the most current one on the tax rolls and admitted into evidence whether or not it was revised by the appraisal review board. Harris County Appraisal District and Harris County Appraisal Review Board v. Michael Duncan, 944 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th District] 1997, writ denied).

These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller cities including:

  • Volente
  • Prestonwood
  • Northlake
  • Taylor
  • Terrell Hills
  • Humble
  • Farmersville
  • Lake Dallas
  • Avondale
  • Shady Hollow
  • Bedford
  • Lake Jackson
  • Roanoke
  • Magnolia
  • Sansom Park
  • Grapevine
  • Jarrell
  • Seagoville
  • Jones Creek
  • Converse

The Texas Property Tax Code applies to all property types in Texas including:

  • Service station
  • Office building
  • Restaurant
  • Skating rink
  • Single-tenant retail
  • Airplane hangar
  • Land
  • Mini-warehouse
  • Warehouse
  • Manufacturing/processing

O’Connor & Associates offers property tax services to all property owners of all land uses across Texas.

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