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 type of property, you may be able to appeal to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) or to binding arbitration.
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 appraised value or if errors exist in the appraisal records regarding your property, you should file a Form 50-132, Notice of Protest (PDF) with the ARB. In most cases, you have until May 15 or 30 days from the date the appraisal district notice is delivered — whichever date is later. Property owners and lessees may appoint someone to represent them in handling hearings concerning their property. Form 50-162, Appointment of Agent for Property Tax Matters (PDF), should be filed if you elect to designate someone to represent you for the protest hearing.
After filing your protest, you will receive written notice of the date, time, place and subject matter for a formal hearing with the ARB. 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 chief appraiser. You may discuss your objections about your property value, exemptions and special appraisal in a hearing with the ARB. The ARB's decisions are binding only for the tax year in question.
If you lease property and are required by the lease contract 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, agent 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. Counties with populations greater than 120,000 will deliver the notice of order and a copy of the ARB survey by email if a written request is submitted to the chief appraiser and the property is not already part of an electronic communication agreement with the appraisal district. You must request email delivery in writing and provide a valid email address to receive appraisal district notices 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 change on the appraisal roll.
The ARB must send you notice of the date, time, place and subject matter of your hearing 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 Property Taxpayer Remedies (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 conference call, 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 date, time and place of your hearing and arrive on time, or earlier if possible. Counties with populations greater than 120,000 will deliver an electronic reminder of the date, time and place of your protest hearing if you submit a written request and provide an email address or telephone number where a text message can be sent.
You, or your designated agent, 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 the true value of your home 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 taxes are too high, but neither the ARB nor the appraisal district set your 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 wishful thinking will not get you anywhere with the 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 15th or the 30th day after the notice of value was delivered to the property owner, whichever is later. Under specific situations, you may protest after the deadline for filing a protest 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 a request for limited binding arbitration (LBA) to compel the ARB or chief appraiser to comply with certain procedural requirements.
Visit the LBA webpage to learn more about this process.
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 taxes that are not in dispute, before the delinquency date. You may ask the court to excuse you from prepaying your taxes; to do so, you must file an oath attesting to your inability to pay the taxes in question and argue that prepaying the 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 allowing the property owner to cure their appeal as a timely filed protest. You may also request that the parties 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 appraised or market value of the property 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 chief appraiser of the appraisal district within 30 days of receiving the order of determination from the ARB. 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 the SOAH's website.
As an alternative to filing an appeal to district court, you may have the right to appeal through binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is available for market or appraised value determinations by ARBs. Unequal appraisal determinations may also be the subject of a request for binding arbitration.
Binding arbitration is available only if your property is:
To appeal an ARB order to binding arbitration, you must file a request for binding arbitration with the appraisal district not later than the 60th day after receiving notice of the order. To apply for binding arbitration, 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. Although your deposit is made payable to the Comptroller's office, you must file it, along with your application, in the appraisal district in which the ARB order was issued. The appraisal district will complete the application and forward your request and deposit to the Comptroller's office. Visit the Arbitration Information page to learn more about the filing process.