Property taxes are a major cost of doing business
in Texas. A property’s tax value is set by a
county Appraisal District. Sometimes, the Appraisal
District sets the property’s value at more
than is appropriate. When this happens, owners
may protest under procedures and deadlines
set out in the Texas Tax Code. These protests
end with a hearing before the county Appraisal
Review Board. Professional tax consultants usually
represent the taxpayer at Appraisal Review
Board hearings. The hearings lead to an “Order
Determining Protest,” which often lowers the
taxable value of the property. But sometimes
the Appraisal Review Board’s value remains too
What to do...
When this happens, taxpayers may file a lawsuit
seeking to further reduce the property’s assessed
value. These lawsuits are generally more stream-
lined and less expensive than typical litigation.
But there are rigid deadlines and procedural
requirements for these lawsuits. Many lawyers
do not know these deadlines and requirements.
Each year, numerous taxpayer lawsuits are dismissed
due to a taxpayer’s inadvertent non-compliance
with these requirements. Engaging a lawyer who
is familiar with the requirements will both minimize
the taxpayer’s costs, and also minimize the risk that
the lawsuit might be thrown out on procedural
Successful lawsuits are also based on strong factual
and legal arguments. If your tax agent believes
that you have a good basis for a suit to lower your
property’s taxable value, you should probably
proceed with a lawsuit. Similarly, if your tax agent
tells you that the Appraisal Review Board’s value
is appropriate, you should probably not file suit.
How do you begin a property tax valuation lawsuit?
The suit must be filed within 60 days of the Appraisal Review
Board decision. It is a good idea to engage a lawyer well before the deadline, if possible. To engage Van Kerrebrook & Associates P.C., you must enter into a signed engagement letter and pay either a retainer or flat fee. The flat fee covers most legal work
and expenses for the first six months of the lawsuit. Many property tax valuation cases settle by then.
You should provide the lawyer with:
- correct record title ownership name as shown in the most recent deed on real estate (or accurate ownership information on personal
- the Appraisal Review Board’s Order Determining Protest. If a property
has more than one tax account number, all of the pertinent Orders
Determining Protest must be provided.
When you engage a lawyer, the lawyer should give you other important
information necessary to maintain the lawsuit, and to maximize the
chances of a successful result.