Now that you’ve attended the Appraisal Review Board hearing, you must await the Board’s decision. Once the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) rules on your protest, they will send you a written order by certified mail telling you the appraised or market value of your property. If you are dissatisfied with the ARB’s findings, you have the right to appeal their decision to the state district court in the county in which your property is located. You should consult with an attorney to determine if you have a case. Within 45 days of receiving and signing for the delivery of the ARB’s written order, if you want to appeal it, you must file a petition for review with the district court and make a partial payment of taxes.
The partial payment of taxes is usually the amount of taxes that aren’t in dispute. You may ask the court to excuse you from prepaying your taxes; to do so, you must file an oath attesting to your inability to pay the taxes in question and argue that prepaying the taxes restrains your right to go to court on your protest. The court will hold a hearing and decide the terms or conditions of your payment.
District Court vs. Binding Arbitration
At the district court, you may ask to have your appeal resolved by a jury or by a judge. As an alternative to filing an appeal in district court, a property owner is entitled to appeal through binding arbitration. You must attend the Appraisal Review Board hearing to reserve your right to request binding arbitration. The appraised or market value of a homestead property does not have a value limit. The appraisal review board’s determination can be arbitrated if:
- the appraised or market value of the property as determined by the order is $3 million for non-homestead properties or less. The value ceiling goes up to $5 million on Sept 1, 2017; and
- the appeal does not involve any matter in dispute other than the determination of the appraised or market value of the property.
To apply for binding arbitration, you must file a request within 45 days. You must complete the request for binding arbitration form prepared by the Comptroller and submit the form and a $500 deposit (a money order or cashier’s check) to the appraisal district in which the ARB order was issued. If the property does not qualify as your residence homestead and the appraised or market value per order is more than $1 million but not more than $2 million or not more than $3 million the deposit is $800 and $1,050 respectively. The money order or cashier’s check must be made payable to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. The appraisal district will forward your request and deposit to the Comptroller.
The Comptroller will appoint an arbitrator that both you and the appraisal district agree upon to arbitrate your case, or will appoint an arbitrator randomly if no agreement is reached. The arbitrator will arrange for an arbitration proceeding. After considering the evidence of the parties, the arbitrator will issue a decision concerning the value of the property. If the arbitrator’s decision is closer to your value, the appraisal district will pay the arbitrator’s fee and the Comptroller will refund your deposit less the 10 percent that the law allows the Comptroller to retain. If the arbitrator’s decision is closer to the appraisal district value or equal to half of the difference between your value and the appraisal district’s value, then the arbitrator’s fee is paid from your deposit. The arbitrator’s decision is binding. If you are not happy with their decision you can protest again next year.
However, we would recommend you protest each and every year, even when you receive a favorable decision at any level of the protest process.
If you would like to quickly find out if your property is fairly assessed, go to the Texas Fairness Checker at CutMyTaxes.com. You only need to enter your address and within less than a minute, you will see if you are unequally appraised.