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You have options after the Appraisal Review Board hearing

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Property Tax Arbitrator

Texas property taxes are substantial and unavoidable. Since foreclosures and property values are stagnant, if not declining in some areas, homeowners may want to consider binding arbitration as a method to minimize property taxes if they have not been resolved through the CAD or ARB.

Effective Sept. 1, 2005, the Texas Legislature amended the Texas Property Tax Code (Binding arbitration – section 41A of the Texas Property Tax Code) to allow property owners the option of using binding arbitration to appeal an ARB decision for a property with a value of $1 million or less based on market value. The advantages of binding arbitration compared to judicial appeal include a lower cost, informal process, speedier resolution and the loser pays provision.

Also, the property owner does not have the burden of proof in a binding arbitration hearing.

While the appraisal district hires and pays the ARB members, the arbitrators are independent, not hired or supervised by the appraisal district, and remunerated by The Texas Comptroller’s office. The homeowners can select an arbitrator or the Comptroller’s office can draw from a random pool.

For further information on this process you can contact the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts or go to www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/arbitration05/.

Judicial appeals are also an effective tool in appealing property taxes. Unfortunately, they are not financially feasible for most homeowners.

Filing fees alone are approximately $300 and total costs for a judicial appeal typically range from $2,000 to $5,000. This expense is often too much compared to the possible tax savings.

For example, based on a median home value of $150,000, a three percent tax rate and a 10 percent reduction, a homeowner would save only $450 during a judicial appeal. For the homeowner with an assessed value of $750,000 to $1,000,000, it may be possible to hire a property tax consultant or an attorney on a contingency basis, but the process of a judicial appeal is still more formal and time consuming than binding arbitration. The protest filing deadline for property taxes is May 31 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed a notice of appraised value to you, whichever date is later.

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