Posts By: Brendan Reeder

What Happens at the Appraisal Review Board (ARB)

 Taxpayers and the Appraisal Review Board

Advice From an Expert

What is an Appraisal Review Board? 

An Appraisal Review Board, or ARB, is a group of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district. Texas Tax Code §Section 6.41 establishes the process for appointing the members of a local ARB. The goal of the ARB is to settle valuation disputes between the appraisal district and the property owner. If you file an appeal of your proposed value and cannot come to an informal settlement with the appraisal district, you will be given an ARB hearing date. Although the guidelines used in the ARB manual are published by the Texas Comptroller’s office, it is important to note that the ARB is independent of the appraisal districts.

What Should Taxpayers Expect?

Now that we understand the ARB’s purpose, what should a taxpayer expect when they find themselves arguing a case before the board? At an ARB hearing, both the appraisal district and the taxpayer will have an opportunity to present their case, with the taxpayer given extra time to rebut the appraisal district’s evidence. However, ARB hearings are rather informal, and a board can take its time asking both sides plenty of questions concerning submitted evidence. Taxpayers should expect to have their evidence scrutinized and doubted when they present their case. Moreover, taxpayers need to understand that the appraisal district will be at the hearing presenting their own evidence to the board and arguing against the taxpayer’s positions and opinions. This process can be daunting and intimidating to say the least. However, there are a few things taxpayers can do to increase their chances of success at an ARB hearing.

  1. Prepare Evidence

Preparing thorough, relevant evidence to your case is the best way to position your appeal for a reduction to taxable value. Comb through the market and find comparables that support your value, or do a comprehensive analysis of the income your property can generate in the current market. Whatever evidence you find that supports your position, make sure to organize it clearly in the packet that you will submit to the ARB. The easier it is to understand and navigate, the better your chances of persuading the board.

  1. Review the Appraisal District’s Evidence

As a taxpayer, you are entitled to all evidence the appraisal district used in setting your proposed value and plans to submit before an ARB. Request this evidence well in advance of your hearing and review it because you may find errors that need to be addressed. Raise any issues before the board.

  1. Be Respectful

I have seen many agents and taxpayers get upset before a board for many different reasons, but do not let this happen to you. Having an emotional response to your protest is ok, but remember that the appraisal district and ARB members are all just individuals doing their jobs. Being disrespectful or causing a scene will only serve to damage your reputation and put future appeals/hearings in jeopardy. 

Evidence

So really…that’s it! You can expect to have a ruling on your case at the conclusion of your hearing, and know that if you are upset with the ARB’s ruling, there is always an opportunity to further pursue your appeal through the court system. If you have any questions concerning your appeal, hearing, or ARB ruling, please reach out to our multifamily specialists.

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Suing After Deadline

Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes people miss deadlines. We’re all human. But if you are a multifamily property owner in Texas who has missed the deadline to file a protest of value with your local appraisal district, there may be little hope for suing in court. 

In Texas, deadlines are everything and there are consequences to missing them. The Texas Tax Code requires taxpayers to “exhaust their administrative remedies” before they are able to file a property valuation appeal to court. In layman’s terms, this means you cannot file a lawsuit against your taxing county unless you have attempted to lower your property’s value through their administrative appeal process. This creates big issues for owners who have missed their appeal date but feel their values are unjustifiably high. Most will be stuck with this value. However, certain factors could be in play that may just save a few owners.

Correcting Errors on the Roll

As stated in a previous article, there is hope for property owners who have missed their deadlines and can meet specific requirements. Section §25.25 of the Texas Tax Code allows a taxpayer to correct certain errors that can result in lowered taxable values regardless of regular appeal deadlines. These appeals can be filed all year round. While these protests do not allow taxpayers to skip the administrative appeal process and go to court directly, they do give owners the opportunity to again “exhaust their administrative remedies”.If there is an unfavorable result after following proper procedure (an appeal and resulting Appraisal Review Board), the taxpayer may then file a lawsuit against the taxing jurisdiction.

Wayfinder’s Guidance

Missing an appeal deadline can impact a multifamily property owner’s bottom line terribly, as well as the communities they serve. As an owner in Texas, you need a strong ally that can help guide you through this significant time and yield more tax savings.

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Deadlines are Passing, but There is Still Hope for Tax Relief

It is now the middle of May, and notices of value for most Texas counties have been out for several weeks. The time for multifamily property owners to decide whether they should appeal their noticed value has come (and may have passed in some jurisdictions). Under most circumstances, Texas law requires property owners wishing to file a protest of their noticed value to file a written protest by May 15th or 30 days after the delivery of the notice, whichever comes later, as spelled out in section §41.44(a) of the Texas Tax Code.

However, it is common for property owners to miss this deadline, especially following the eventful year that was 2020 and the Artic freeze of 2021. For those that have made this mistake, there is still hope to reduce your taxable value.

Texas Loves its Taxpayers

As stated in previous articles, Texas is pro-taxpayer. They care about their citizens’ rights and offer them numerous avenues for tax relief. Taxable property values are no different. For property owners who missed the deadline to appeal their value, there is still a route for getting a reduction. Texas Tax Code §25.25 provides a taxpayer the opportunity to force a “Correction of Appraisal Roll”. This can be done by proving one of the following:

  • There has been a significant error on valuing the property
  • The appraised value exceeds one-third the correct value

The law is unclear what defines an “error” in this context, but some general examples are:

  • Incorrect square footage of a building
  • Calculation errors
  • Boundary/taxing power issues 

These have been some acceptable arguments in reducing values under Texas Tax Code  §25.25. The Texas Comptroller’s website has a form you can fill out and file if you believe you can meet the above requirements.

You are Not Alone

While a section §25.25 protest is the most common method for reducing values after a deadline passes, there are still several other options for taxpayers with unique circumstances surrounding their notices and properties. If you are a multifamily property owner and your deadline for filing an appeal has passed, do not throw in the towel just yet! Contact a multifamily property tax expert today and learn your rights as a Texas taxpayer. 

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Not In Love With Your 2021 Property Valuation?

Here’s How to Appeal Your Valuation 

As we enter the late second quarter of 2021, local taxing jurisdictions within Texas are sending Notice of Values to property owners. These values are instrumental in the property tax cycle because they are multiplied by local tax rates to establish a property owner’s taxes. Therefore, a higher value generally means higher taxes. These values are set by local government offices called Central Appraisal Districts that provide taxpayers with a proposed value and a deadline to appeal this value. All across Texas, property owners are now weighing their appeal options as property values are jumping, according to ABC 25. Appealing this value may seem intimidating, but anyone can start the appeal process in three simple steps.

Steps to Appeal Your Valuation

Step 1 – Obtain a Form 50-132 from the Texas Comptroller’s office. The title of the form is Property Owner’s Notice of Protest and can be found here

Step 2 – Follow the instructions on the form and fill it out completely. If your appeal is not settled with the Appraisal District and you need to attend a hearing before an Appraisal Review Board, you must decide whether to attend the hearing via phone/computer, in person, or simply submit evidence on the record. Remember, if you wish to file an appeal on multiple properties, you need to fill out and file multiple forms

Step 3 – File the protest with the appropriate Appraisal District. Your appeal is with the appraisal district where the property is located, not the Comptroller’s office. For example, if you have property located within Ector county, you need to file your protest(s) with the Ector County Appraisal District. However, the Texas Comptroller’s office does have a directory for counties to assist taxpayers with proper filing of protests. 

Additionally, you must file this protest on or before the listed deadline date on your Notice of Value form you received from the appraisal district.  More and more counties are moving toward online/paperless filing of protests. If you would like to avoid mailing in your protest, check with the appraisal district you will be filing the protest in to see if they allow for email or online portal filings. It will make your life that much simpler. 

Congrats on Filing Your Protest! Now What?

Now that you have filed your Property Owner’s Notice of Protest, you will have to defend your reason for the protest, put forth your own opinion of the property’s value with supporting evidence, and convince either the appraisal district or an Appraisal Review Board that your opinion is justified. This is not an easy task. However, do not worry if you find yourself intimidated or feeling lost in this upcoming process. Wayfinder specializes in Texas Multifamily valuation appeals, and we know how to guide owners through this difficult path to tax savings. 

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