taxes Property Tax Assistance

Regular Binding Arbitration

Tax Code Chapter 41A gives property owners meeting certain criteria the option to request regular binding arbitration (RBA) as an alternative to filing an appeal of an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) decision to district court. In RBA, an independent, neutral arbitrator hears and examines the facts of an appeal and makes a decision that is binding on all parties.

The Comptroller's office is responsible for maintaining the Arbitrator Registry, processing requests, remitting payment (PDF) to the arbitrator when appropriate and refunding any portion of the property owner's deposit as applicable, but is prohibited from giving advice or direction on a matter relating to a pending arbitration.

Property owners are required to read and be familiar with Tax Code Chapter 41A and Comptroller Rules as part of the arbitration.


Qualification and Filing

A property owner may request RBA if:

  • the property in dispute is real or personal property;
  • the ARB has issued a determination on the appraised or market value of the property or an unequal appraisal determination;
  • the disputed property's value, as determined by the ARB, does not exceed $5 million, except for residence homesteads for which there is no value limit;
  • taxes have been timely paid; and
  • a lawsuit has not been filed in district court on the same matter.

The property owner must complete and file all the following with the county appraisal district within 60 days of receiving the ARB order of determination:

A request for binding arbitration with deposit must be filed with the appraisal district within 60 days of the property owner receiving the order of determination. Do not file the request with the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Settlement and Withdrawal

Once an RBA is processed by the Comptroller's office, the case will enter a 45-day settlement period. During this time, the parties have an opportunity to settle the case or otherwise determine that the request should be withdrawn prior to the assignment of an arbitrator. Upon the expiration of the 45-day settlement period, an arbitrator will be assigned to the case if the Comptroller’s office has not been notified of a withdrawal.

An arbitration case may be withdrawn during this 45-day settlement period by notifying the Comptroller's office and the appraisal district in writing. The Comptroller's office provides Form 50-830, Notice of Arbitration Withdrawal (PDF), that may be used for this purpose.

  • If the case is withdrawn during the 45-day settlement, the property owner will receive a refund of the deposit, minus a $50 administrative fee retained by the Comptroller’s office.
  • If the case is withdrawn after it has been accepted by an arbitrator, the arbitrator is entitled to charge up to the full fee amount (PDF) for the arbitration. The remaining deposit, if any, after payment of the Comptroller's $50 administrative fee and the arbitrator's fee, will be refunded to the property owner.
Arbitrator Appointment and Hearing

At the conclusion of the 45-day settlement period, the Comptroller's office will appoint an arbitrator to hear the dispute.

The arbitrator is responsible for working with the parties to set the date, time and location of the hearing.

More information about arbitrator qualification, the assignment process and the scheduling of hearings can be found on the Arbitrator Registry and Duties webpage.

At the conclusion of the 45-day settlement period, the Comptroller's office will appoint an arbitrator to hear the dispute.

The arbitrator is responsible for working with the parties to set the date, time and location of the hearing.

At the conclusion of the hearing the arbitrator must determine the value of the property based on the evidence presented by each party. If the arbitrator determines a value for the property that is nearer to the property owner's opinion of value than to the value as shown on the ARB order, the property owner's deposit will be refunded, minus the $50 administrative fee retained by the Comptroller's office and the appraisal district will pay the arbitrator's fee as indicated on the award form.

If the arbitrator determines a value that is not nearer to the property owner's opinion of value than to the value as shown on the ARB order, the property owner's deposit will be used to pay the arbitrator's fee as indicated on the award form.

Dismissal

Arbitrators are required by law to dismiss all RBA requests they determine to not meet the requirements of the law. In the event that a case is dismissed, other than when there are delinquent taxes on the property, the arbitrator may charge up to the full allowed fee and the property owner may not receive a refund of any of their deposit. RBA requests shall be dismissed for the following reasons:

  • Taxes on the subject property are delinquent for any prior year or were not paid before the delinquency date. Taxes under a current deferral agreement are not considered to be delinquent for purposes of filing for arbitration.
  • The ARB protest was not filed under Tax Code Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2) relating to the market or appraised value being inaccurate or unequal appraisal.
  • The value on the ARB order is over $5 million and the property does not have a residence homestead exemption.
  • The RBA was filed more than 60 days after the ARB order was delivered to the property owner.
  • Litigation was filed before the RBA request was submitted that involves the same issues for the same properties in the same tax year as addressed in the RBA request.
  • The property owner and appraisal district have reached a settlement.
Arbitration Rules