Travis County Binding Arbitration Filings

Travis County ranks second in the state for the highest number of binding arbitration cases and judicial appeals in 2021. According to the Harris Central Appraisal District, they reported 5007 binding arbitration cases, the highest in the state. Other counties with high numbers of binding arbitration filings include Travis County with 558 cases, Dallas County with 508 cases, Galveston County with 374 cases, and Tarrant County with 357 cases.

Travis County Judicial Appeal Filings

Travis County ranks among the top four counties for judicial appeals. Harris County leads the state with 6,652 judicial appeals, followed by Dallas County with 2,027, Travis County with 1,654, Tarrant County with 1,307, and Bexar County with 1,014.

Travis County judicial appeals filed in 2021 were at more than double the statewide level. Travis County property owners filed judicial appeals for $56.4 billion of $316 billion of property valued by Travis Central Appraisal District. This is 18% of Travis County value versus 7.5% of property subject to a judicial appeal statewide. Judicial appeals in Texas include property with a total value of $324 billion, out of a total of $4.335 trillion.

Travis County Judicial Appeal Tax Savings

In Travis County and throughout Texas, property owners have significantly increased their property tax savings through judicial appeals. In 2012, Travis County property owners reduced their property taxes by $52.1 million. By 2021, the savings from judicial appeals had risen to $59.7 million in Travis County, marking a 14.46% increase. Statewide, Texas property owners have seen a substantial increase in judicial appeal property tax savings, rising from $215.9 million in 2012 to $832.4 million in 2021, representing a 285% increase.

Binding Arbitration versus Judicial Appeals

Binding arbitration is restricted to properties that have a value not exceeding $5 million. Binding arbitration requires a deposit of $450 or more, which is refunded (less $50) if the filing is successful or if the property owner prevails during the hearing. Binding arbitration typically evades discovery, which can be particularly beneficial in appraisal districts notorious for their zealous pursuit of paper discovery. Filing and service fees (approximately $375), legal fees for counsel, and costs associated with expert reports are all expenses associated with judicial appeals. In contrast to the length of time that judicial appeals can extend from 12 to 36 months, binding arbitration disputes are typically resolved within a span of 6 to 9 months.

Value of Accounts in Judicial Appeal

The expenses of judicial appeals deter most property tax consultants and property owners from filing judicial appeals for amounts less than $20 million. The average value of single-family accounts in lawsuits in Travis County is around $18.5 million, and $4.1 million statewide in Texas. However, the average assessed valuation of multifamily properties in judicial appeal accounts in Travis County is $60.3 million and $32.6 million across Texas. The average value of the commercial property involved in a judicial appeal was $40.8 million in Travis County and $18.6 million statewide in 2021.


O’Connor Aggressively Coordinates Judicial Appeals – Provides Turnkey Service

O’Connor is in charge of teams that deal with judicial appeals, interact with clients, create expert witness reports on market value and unequal appraisal, and negotiate settlements. O’Connor pays for all expenses, including filing fees, attorney fees, and expert witness fees. Clients only pay if their property taxes are lowered in a judicial appeal below the appraisal review board threshold. It is uncommon to find rivals that pay the whole expense of judicial appeals. Most rivals only accept judicial appeals for accounts worth $10 to $15 million, whereas O’Connor is ready to coordinate judicial appeals for commercial accounts worth $750,000 to $1,500,000. O’Connor has the option of pursuing binding arbitration for properties worth less than $1,500,000.

O’Connor is not a law company; rather than offering just legal services, O’Connor coordinates and pays for lawyers, filing fees, tax consultants, expert witnesses, and staff coordination.

Are Property Tax Savings from Judicial Appeals Successful?


Total annual property tax savings in Travis County achieved through Judicial Appeals are close to $60 million. Regrettably, most Travis County property owners who could benefit from a judicial appeal simply quit after the appraisal review board (ARB).

Tax Tips – if you have Travis County commercial property valued at $750,000 or higher, you will likely benefit from a judicial appeal or binding arbitration.

O’Connor Handles Binding Arbitration

O’Connor oversees each phase of legally binding arbitration cases, including providing support for the arbitration deposit and assuming the liability for its loss (which can vary between $450 and $1,500). In contrast to the majority of property tax consultants, O’Connor handles the property owner’s binding arbitration deposit. In addition, O’Connor negotiates settlements, attends arbitration hearings, and/or supervises the filing of legally binding arbitration documents. Additionally, O’Connor generates expert reports concerning unequal appraisal and market value. Aside from the reduction of their property taxes—in which case the fee is a percentage of the property tax savings—there are no expenses associated with binding arbitration for clients.

Additional Reduction to Support Binding Arbitration

A dispute between $20,000 and $30,000 is sufficient to warrant binding arbitration with O’Connor. You only incur expenses if your property taxes are reduced below the threshold set by the appraisal review board; O’Connor covers the expenses. There are no upfront or fixed fees involved.

What is SOAH?

The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) functions as a quasi-judicial alternative to binding arbitration or a judicial appeal. SOAH judges preside over issues concerning Texas licensees, including brokers, appraisers, and barbers. Contrary to binding arbitration, there is no upper limit, but there is a minimum value of $1 million set by the appraisal review board, along with a required deposit of $1,500. If the matter is resolved, the deposit will be reimbursed, and it may be used to remunerate a SOAH judge in the event that the case proceeds to trial.

Under 100 SOAH files have been made statewide, but that number seems to be going up. There are times when SOAH is the right choice. For SOAH, discovery is usually limited, which lets the market value and unequal appraisal debates take center stage. In some judicial appeals, appraisal district lawyers focus on doing a lot of evidence that doesn’t really help settle the value disagreement.

Should You File a Judicial Appeal or Use Binding Arbitration?

While the majority of property owners fail to exercise their right to protest property taxes, appeals after the appraisal review board (ARB) happen much less often than protests in the first place. There are about 10,000 binding arbitration cases each year, while there are about 17,000 judicial appeals. Adding up all of these two types of cases, we get to about 27,000 cases. This number is small compared to the 2,190,000 initial protests that happened in 2021; only 1.2% of those went beyond the ARB. Property owners who end their appeals at the ARB may be missing out on tax savings. Property values are dropped below the values the ARB sets in a large number of binding arbitration and judicial appeal cases. When binding arbitration cases are filed in good faith, appraisal districts are willing to review them.

It is generally recommended to pursue binding arbitration in the majority of appraisal districts when the disputed value surpasses $20,000 to $30,000 and the case is strong. In general, appraisal districts favor resolving disputes based on thoroughly documented evidence. To receive an impartial evaluation of your alternatives following ARB, kindly contact us at 713-290-9700.

Travis County Appeals after ARB Exceeds Statewide Average

In 2021, there were 2,213 cases of binding arbitration and judicial appeals, compared to a total of 141,180 initial tax protests in Travis County. This extended the protests past the ARB by 1.5% of accounts, which is higher than the statewide average of 1.2%.

Do You Have Questions about Binding Arbitration? Whether It Makes Sense For YOU?

Dial 713-290-9700 to inquire about the potential benefits of continuing with the appeal after the ARB. O’Connor is in charge of a large number of cases involving binding arbitration and court appeals, as well as a few involving the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

The data comes from the Texas Comptroller’s evaluations of appraisal districts and protests. We assume no exemptions or homestead limitations and use a 2.7% tax rate to get the estimated tax savings. The Texas Comptroller, appraisal entities, or appraisal districts are not connected to the private tax reduction firm O’Connor.

Share Now