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A letter to property owners from Rep. Hugh D. Shine

Property owners recently received their appraisal notices from County Appraisal Districts (CADs). Keep in mind that Texas does not have a state property tax or a state personal income tax and that is why local taxing units fund local services by assessing property taxes by setting tax rates against property appraisals.

It’s up to these local taxing units to provide local services for schools, streets and roads, police and fire protection, and other infrastructure that support the needs of their communities.

There rarely is a situation when the value and market circumstances are the same in analyzing a protest. Accordingly, every protest, arbitration, and lawsuit stands on its own. The facts of each protest case can and usually do vary. However, for a homeowner, there are certain pieces of information that should be secured prior to a hearing. The property owner should be aware that the burden of proof – whether it’s the market value or the equal and uniform value of a property – is always on the CAD in the administrative protest process.

Filing Protests

The process of assessing property taxes begins with the CADs’ annual appraisal of property values determined on January 1 of each calendar year. Notices of appraised value are prepared and delivered to property owners beginning in April. Property owners have 30 days from the date of the notice (not delivered date) to respond by filing a protest if they disagree with the appraisal. Protests are filed with the Appraisal Review Boards (ARB) electronically, by physical mail or in person.

It is important for those filing protests to request evidence supporting the CADs’ appraised value of the property. This information must be provided to the property owner fourteen days prior to the hearing concerning a protest. If the CAD fails to provide this evidence in accordance with the fourteen-day statute, the CAD cannot introduce any evidence at the hearing, except for rebuttal purposes.

The Bell CAD employs a taxpayer liaison officer (TLO). A TLO essentially is an onsite taxpayer assistance officer. The TLO is available as a resource for:

  • securing information and documents,

  • helping taxpayers with protest case preparation and presentation information,

  • explaining CAD processes and procedures as well as taxpayer rights and remedies,

  • taking applications to becoming a member of the ARB,

  • taking complaints relating to the CAD and/or the ARB, and

  • resolving non-value related complaints.

The TLO can be of great value to taxpayers as they navigate through the protest process.

Preparing for a Protest Hearing

Meeting with an Appraiser / ARB

Taxes Based on Appraised Values

Working to Provide Transparency

Since 2017, my goal as a legislator has been to provide greater transparency and accountability with less property owner intimidation. Those goals have been behind the previous session’s passing of House Bill (HB) 988 and the current session’s passage of HB 1285 and HB 4101. I have led the effort in the Texas House of Representatives to provide meaningful taxpayer protection and recourse in the property tax system.

It is important that Texas’ Property Tax Code sustain fairness, efficiency, and a clearly understood process. Provisions that give property owners protection and a grievance process in the event CAD’s violate statutes or fail to carry out legislative intent must be reviewed, evaluated, and revised routinely.


State Representative Hugh D. Shine

House District 55


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