Property Tax Litigation
In Texas and other states across the nation, property owners may have the option of requesting binding arbitration with regard to their property tax bill. Not every real estate owner will meet all of the qualifications for binding arbitration. However, those that do may find that the process is enormously beneficial for their bottom line. Owners are recommended to work with property tax professionals who are familiar with the arbitration process in their state so that they may truly capitalize on the opportunity.
When a real estate owner does not agree with the assessed value of their property, they typically must dispute it with the local appraisal review board, or ARB. If they are not satisfied with the ARB’s decision, then they may have the option of either filing a lawsuit or requesting arbitration. Litigation tends to be time consuming and costly, which is why property owners tend to try arbitration first.
Binding arbitration is like a formal hearing in which a neutral arbitrator hears from both sides of the disagreement. The arbitrator is independent, and is empowered to review all relevant evidence. After sifting through the evidence and hearing all arguments, the arbitrator renders a decision that is legally binding. If the property owner remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they still may have the option of filing a lawsuit.
Laws in Texas, and other states where arbitration is an option, place restrictions on which real estate owners qualify for binding arbitration. Typically, the value of the property cannot exceed a certain amount. It also is necessary for the proceedings before the ARB to be concluded, and the ARB must have issued their order regarding the case. The property owner must not file a lawsuit before or concurrently with requesting arbitration as this would nullify the request. As with virtually everything related to property taxes, strict deadlines must be observed. The most critical deadline is calculated from the date that the ARB issues its order. Property owners may only have 30 to 45 days to take action from that date.
Requesting arbitration generally is handled through submitting a form and fee to the appraisal district for the country in which the property is located. Fees are reasonable as compared to the costs of a lawsuit, and usually less time is required. Nonetheless, thorough preparation is critical to prevailing in arbitration. The better documented the property owner’s case is, the more likely they are to receive a favorable outcome.
Most real estate owners are unfamiliar with the binding arbitration process. Accordingly, it is sensible to work with property tax professionals who have taken clients through the same journey on multiple occasions. Working with Assessment Technologies ensures that real estate owners are thoroughly prepared for arbitration. Through the guidance and advice of various property tax professionals, owners are able to protect their bottom line and limit their tax burden.
Read more about property tax litigation in Texas.