In Texas, if you're not happy with your Property Tax Valuation, you are allowed to file for Property Tax Arbitration through the Texas Comptroller's Office, after you've already tried to talk with the Appraisal Review Board for your county. I am one of the Arbitrators you might pick to reside over your hearing.
A couple of weeks ago, I was assigned a new case. Right after I sent out the notice for dates, I then received a cancellation from the property owner. I receive many cancellations because the counties like to resolve the matters with the home owners directly if both parties are open to hear each other out. Usually, I just cross it off my schedule, but this time, I responded back to the home owner and asked why she was cancelling.
What I got next was not something I expected, but she told me her entire story, instead of a short answer. With her response, I thought I would write this to help explain the Arbitration process better than the Texas Comptroller's website.
I think Property Tax Arbitration is actually easier and less intimidating than going in front of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). With the ARB, they can use their own knowledge about other properties and cases they've heard. They can ask you questions that you might not be prepared for. The person representing the county is possibly sitting at a computer all comfortable looking for sales data to offset what you're saying, and it's almost like an attack on you, the home owner, as you're sitting in their domain at their office.
In Property Tax Arbitration, both parties must submit all their evidence ahead of time so each side can see what the other party wants to address. They even get time to submit new evidence if they want to rebut anything received.
The Arbitration hearing is at an unbiased location picked by the Arbitrator so neither party has the comfort of feeling like they're "at home". It's not at the Property Tax office or the Central Appraisal District's office. For Travis County hearings, I always pick my office. In other counties, I usually pick a local title company to hold the hearing at, in one of their conference rooms.
There is no one grilling you, the home owner. There is no computer for you or the other party to quickly look something up. You come with your data and just present it. I don't "question" your data or say things like "You're crazy, you know your house is worth $x". I cannot use my market knowledge. I can only use your data, and I can ask clarifying questions like, "On this map that you provided, can you clarify where your house is compared to the sales you mentioned?" or something like, "Can you clarify where you received these repair estimate values?"
The breakdown of the process is this:
- The home owner presents his/her information.
- The CAD (Central Appraisal District) can ask the home owner questions about their information or rebut anything presented.
- The CAD presents their information.
- The home owner can ask the CAD questions about their information or rebut anything.
- The home owner gives a final statement summarizing their evidence.
- The CAD gives a final statement summarizing their evidence.
It's very informal. All that I ask at my hearings is that you respect the other person while they're talking. Many times, conversations go back and forth, and as long as both parties appear to be ok with the direction the conversation is going, I will allow it, to a certain extent.
If you have questions about the process, call the Property Tax Arbitrator who was assigned to your case and ask their process. As the Arbitrator, I must remain impartial which means I can't talk with you about your specific case, but I can talk with you about general questions you have about the Arbitration process. Don't let the process scare you. It's really not scarey at all!
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Copyright© 2011 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* Texas Property Tax Arbitration after the Appraisal Review Board Process * was first published on donnahomesblog.com.