When filing a property tax appeal, you may have come across the word binding arbitration. If you are wondering what this means, you have come to the right place to find out. Arbitration refers to resolving a dispute outside of the court. Parties reach out to an arbitrator; the arbitrator listens to the disputes and arrives at a decision. This blog is a primer on binding arbitration. Find out how to qualify arbitration rules, whether or not to file for binding arbitration, and a lot more.

What is binding arbitration?

It is nothing but an alternative to filing an appeal of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) decision with the district court. An arbitrator listens to the facts of your appeal and makes a decision accordingly. The process is less formal when compared to that of a trial or a courtroom hearing, all parties are bound by the arbitrator’s decision.

Your role as a property owner during the entire arbitration process

 You may either present the case all by yourself or appoint an agent to represent you. When you present your case in binding arbitration, you will have the opportunity to present evidence including

How to qualify for binding arbitration?

Property owners can request a binding arbitration only if the property is real or personal property. If the property is a residential homestead, there is no limit to the property value, however, if not, the property value must be less than $5 million. To qualify you must first file the Form AP-219, request for binding arbitration form along with the deposit payable to the comptroller’s office. Your deposit will be between
$450 and $1,550, depending on the value of your property. This must be done within 60 days; from the time you receive an ARB order of determination.

The arbitration process

Once you submit the form, the appraisal district reviews the application and forwards the same along with the deposit made to the comptroller’s office within 10 days. An arbitrator is then appointed by the comptroller’s office to listen to your dispute. In the hearing property owners present their case and the county appraisal district will present the ARB case. Because you may file for binding arbitration within 45 days following your ARB decision, this will afford additional time for you to get ready for the case. Make sure you prepare and bring evidence along that explains why the value you mentioned is more appropriate than that of the ARB.

Should you file for binding arbitration if you are not satisfied with the value after the ARB Hearing

O'Connor explain if you should opt for binding arbitration

Do you need an attorney or CPA for arbitration?

As a property owner, you have the option to bring along an attorney, a CPA, or even hire a property tax consultant to attend the hearing on your behalf or with you. If it is the first time you are filing a binding arbitration, then having a property tax consultant may give you the peace of mind that you are not missing any critical details or evidence. The arbitrator takes into consideration all the information you present and notifies you about his decision at a later date.

The value is either reduced or left the same as the ARB value. In order to win the final value should be closer to your determination. If you win it means the value is closer to what you had determined. If you win the case, you will be refunded your deposit minus a $50 administrative fee. Contact us if you are interested in additional information about binding arbitration or would like to appoint O’Connor to
represent you.

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