One of your most important rights as a taxpayer is your right to protest to the appraisal review board (ARB). You may protest if you disagree with the appraisal district value or any of the appraisal district's actions concerning your property.
If you are dissatisfied with the ARB's findings, you have the right to appeal the ARB's decision. Any ARB decision can be appealed to the state district court in the county in which the property is located. Depending on the facts and the property type, you may be able to appeal to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) or to regular binding arbitration (RBA).
If the appraisal district appraises your property at a higher amount than in the previous year, Tax Code Section 25.19 requires the appraisal district to send a notice of appraised value by May 1, or by April 1 if your property is a residence homestead, or as soon as practical thereafter. The notice of appraised value includes information on how to file a protest as well as an explanation of the availability of an informal conference with the appraisal district prior to your formal ARB hearing.
If you are dissatisfied with your property’s appraised value or if errors exist in the appraisal records regarding your property, you should file a Form 50-132, Property Owner’s Notice of Protest (PDF) with the ARB. Property owners and lessees may appoint someone to represent them in handling hearings concerning their property. You should file Form 50-162, Appointment of Agent for Property Tax Matters (PDF) if you elect to designate someone to represent you at the protest hearing.
Property owners or their authorized representatives are not required to use the notice of protest form to request a protest hearing. A notice of protest is sufficient if it identifies the property, property owner and any subject that indicates a level of dissatisfaction with a decision made by the appraisal district in writing.
In most cases, you have until May 15 or 30 days from the date the appraisal district notices are delivered — whichever date is later. Note that the deadline is 30 days from the date the appraisal district mails a notice, not upon the property owner or their authorized representative's receipt of delivery. Off-shore workers or full-time military service members may be entitled to file a late protest.
After filing your protest, you will receive written notice of the ARB hearing date, time, place, subject matter, and information on how to access your property's estimated taxes. You may request an informal conference with the appraisal district to try to resolve your protest before the ARB hearing. If you are not able to resolve your protest informally, you can continue your protest to the ARB. At the formal hearing, the ARB listens to both the taxpayer and the appraisal district representative. You may discuss your objections about your property value, exemptions, special appraisal qualification and circuit breaker limitation. The ARB's decisions are binding only for the tax year in question.
If you lease property and the lease contract requires you to pay the owner's property taxes, you may protest the property's value to the ARB. You may file a protest only if the property owner does not. The right to protest applies to leased land, buildings and personal property. The appraisal district will send the notice of appraised value to the property owner, who is required to send a copy to you if you are leasing real property. You may request that the chief appraiser send the notice of appraised value to you if you are contractually obligated to reimburse the owner for the taxes imposed on the property. If you protest, the ARB will send any subsequent notices regarding the protest to you.
The Comptroller's office is prohibited from advising a property owner, authorized representative or appraisal district about a matter under protest and from intervening in a protest.
Once the ARB rules on a protest, you will receive a written order by email or certified mail. In counties with populations greater than 120,000 you or your authorized representative can submit to the ARB an electronic delivery of communication form containing a valid email address to receive the hearing notice electronically. If the ARB rules in your favor, it will instruct the chief appraiser to notify the taxing units about the change. If you paid the taxes, the taxing units will send you any refund resulting from the appraisal roll change.
The ARB must send you notice of the hearing date, time, place, subject matter, and information on how to access your property's estimated taxes at least 15 days in advance of the hearing. At least 14 days prior to the hearing, the appraisal district must send you the Comptroller's Taxpayer Assistance Pamphlet (PDF), the adopted ARB hearing procedures and a statement to inform you that you can request copies of the information the appraisal district will use at the hearing. This information and the notice of hearing are often sent together.
You can appear at the ARB hearing in person, by telephone or videoconference or by filing a written affidavit. The ARB hearing procedures may tell you how many hard copies of evidence you may need for the ARB or panel members or what electronic devices may be acceptable for presenting your evidence electronically. You should become thoroughly familiar with the ARB procedures and adhere to them.
Be on time for your hearing and be prepared. ARBs try to conduct hearings as informally as possible, but they should be treated with the respect you would have for a court proceeding. Confirm the hearing date, time and place and arrive on time, or earlier if possible. Counties with populations greater than 120,000 will deliver an electronic reminder of your hearing date, time and place if you submit a written request and provide an email address or telephone number where a text message can be sent.
You, or your authorized representative, and the appraisal district representative will both have an opportunity to present evidence, examine witnesses and state an opinion of the property value (if applicable). You may elect whether to present evidence first or after the appraisal district representative presents evidence.
Take anything that will help make your case. It is up to you to have what you need to prove your case. You cannot go to the hearing and just say the appraisal district is wrong. You should gather all information about your property that may be relevant in considering true value such as:
Part of your hearing involves evidence and another part involves arguing your case. Arguing means presenting your case by a clear and concise presentation of your evidence. Do not get personal. You may feel that your property taxes are too high, but neither the ARB nor the appraisal district set your property taxes. While the ARB can consider the effect of general economic and environmental factors may have on your property value, it cannot take into account your personal economic situation. Emotional arguments or baseless claims will have no bearing on the decisions of an ARB, whose job is to certify the value on your home based on what the market dictates. The How to Present Your Case at an ARB Hearing video on our website covers information provided on this page.
The usual deadline for filing a protest is May 15 or 30 days after the notice of appraised value was delivered to the property owner, whichever is later. The ARB can grant a late protest hearing to property owners who miss the filing deadline if the property owner can provide good cause for missing the local protest deadline. Failing to provide good cause or submitting a protest after the ARB has approved the appraisal records may result in losing the right to protest. Under specific situations, you may protest after the protest filing deadline has passed.
After you have filed a notice of protest, if you believe the ARB or chief appraiser failed to comply with a procedural requirement relating to your protest, you may file an LBA request to compel the ARB or chief appraiser to comply with procedural requirements.
Visit the LBA webpage to learn more about this process.
In compliance with Tax Code Section 5.104, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts provides a survey as a reasonable opportunity for the following persons who attended ARB hearings to offer comments and suggestions concerning the ARB:
The survey captures information concerning the performance of ARB panels and full ARBs, but not the results of protest hearings. One survey should be completed per hearing conducted by a single ARB panel or the full ARB in a single day, whether concerning one account or several accounts and whether the accounts are related to the same property or not. Persons participating in protest hearings before the same ARB panel or full ARB on several days may complete one survey each day. Persons participating in multiple protest hearings before different ARB panels are allowed to complete one survey for each panel in a single day.
Survey respondents may submit the surveys directly to the Comptroller's Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) and are not required to complete surveys at the appraisal district office.
If you are dissatisfied with the ARB's findings, you have the right to appeal its decision to the state district court in the county in which your property is located.
Within 60 days of receiving the ARB's written order, you must file a petition for review with the district court. Before filing a petition, you should consult with an attorney to determine if you have a case.
You also are required to make a partial payment of taxes, usually the amount of property taxes that are not in dispute, before the delinquency date. You may ask the court to excuse you from prepaying your property taxes; to do so, you must file an oath attesting to your inability to pay the property taxes in question and argue that prepaying the property taxes restrains your right to go to court on your protest. The court will hold a hearing and decide the terms or conditions of your payment.
At the district court, you may ask to have your appeal resolved through arbitration, by a jury, a judge or by allowing you to cure your appeal as a timely filed protest. You may also request to engage in settlement discussions before the date of trial.
If the property value as determined by the ARB order is over $1 million, you may be able to file an appeal with SOAH. You may only appeal to SOAH if the appeal concerns the determination of the property's appraised or market or an unequal appraisal. This option to appeal is applicable to determinations concerning real or personal property, but not industrial property.
To appeal an ARB order to SOAH, you must file a Notice of Appeal by Property Owner (PDF) with the appraisal district chief appraiser within 30 days of receiving the ARB order of determination. You must also file a $1,500 deposit with the chief appraiser within 90 days of receiving the order of determination.
As soon as practicable after receiving a Notice of Appeal by Property Owner (PDF), the chief appraiser must indicate, where appropriate, those entries in the records that are subject to the appeal. The appraisal district will forward the deposit and Notice of Appeal by Property Owner (PDF) to SOAH and request the appointment of a qualified administrative law judge to hear the appeal. For more information on this process, visit SOAH's website.
As an alternative to filing an appeal to district court, you may have the right to appeal through RBA. RBA is available for market or appraised value determinations by ARBs. Unequal appraisal determinations may also be the subject of an RBA request for binding arbitration.
RBA is available only if your property is:
To appeal an ARB order to RBA, you must file a request with the Comptroller's office not later than the 60 days after receiving notice of the order. To apply for RBA, you must complete the Comptroller's request form and submit it with your deposit in the required amount based on the ARB's determination of the property value and property type. The appraisal district will submit required information to the Comptroller's office. Visit the Information page to learn more about the filing process.