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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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