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.
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 often at the Property Tax office or the Central Appraisal District's office, though it can be if that's the most convenient place, but it would be in a conference room away from someone's own desk or 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, if available and convenient.
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.
One of the biggest things you need to remember with Property Tax Arbitration is the evidence you can present in the ARB is different from the Arbitration. At the ARB, people like to compare their assessed value with a neighbor's "assessed valued". You can't do this in Arbitration. You can only discuss sold comparables in Arbitration, and the property that sold 2 years ago or 5 years ago doesn't count! It needs to be within the tax year.
I also wanted to let everyone know that I do Arbitrations across the entire state of Texas. For Property Tax Arbitrations in Travis and Williamson Counties, those will probably all be in person, as well as some in Hays County, Dallas, and Collin Counties. However, all other Counties not around Austin or Dallas will be a Teleconference or a Desk Review. This is for conveniences for all parties.
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!
And one last thing, remember that your tax bill will be lower if it's your Primary Residence and you've filed the Homestead Exemption!
**Are You Packed Yet?**
Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, CedarPark, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way.
** Multi-Million Dollar Producer Year after Year **
** Platinum Top 50 Finalist 2011 out of almost 9000 agents in Austin TX**
** Five-Star Professional 2011 & 2012 **
** RE/MAX 100% Club **
Copyright© 2012 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* Texas Property Tax Arbitration - I'm Now Doing Arbitrations Statewide * was first published on donnahomesblog.com.