The common law: crazy property taxes? Contesting your assessment at the CREF hearing – Chronicles


Own property in Travis County? Did you get sticker shock when you opened this year’s property tax assessment?

This first step in protesting the value of your property is to file a timely written protest before the deadline. See the May 2022 “The Common Law” column for more information on filing a written protest in a timely manner (the deadline to file the protest with the Travis Central Appraisal District for the 2022 protest season was May 16 May 2022). Once a timely written protest is filed, the owner usually has the opportunity to resolve the dispute informally with a TCAD representative.

If this informal effort fails, the next step is to appear before the Assessment Review Board. The ARB is a group of citizens appointed by a local administrative judge who are authorized to resolve disputes between ratepayers and the assessment district. The board listens to testimony from the owner and TCAD’s valuation representative and ultimately determines whether an adjustment to the value of the property is warranted.

Ask the appraisal district what information they used to set the value of your property. You should be able to get a copy of the data and related information that the assessment district plans to present at the hearing. Evidence that the appraisal review board might consider persuasive includes:

Comparison properties. If there is a large difference between the appraised value of your home and that of other similar homes in your area, legitimate comparable sales may demonstrate that your property has not been treated in the same way.

Incorrect measurements (land size, square footage, etc.). Locate deeds, surveys or plans and take photos to prove inaccuracy.

Defaults not mentioned in the district survey (cracked foundation, inadequate plumbing, etc.). Take photos and/or obtain supporting statements from builders, contractors or appraisers to support your position.

Be organized, stick to relevant facts, and keep your presentation simple and straightforward during the ARB hearing. The board must base its decisions on evidence. Check the Texas Comptroller’s website ( for other helpful suggestions.

Please submit your column suggestions, questions and comments to [email protected]. The submission of potential topics does not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information submitted is likely to be included in future columns.

Marrs, Ellis & Hodge LLP,

The content of this column is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute or replace legal advice. For advice on your specific facts and circumstances, consult a licensed attorney. You can contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, a public nonprofit service of the Austin Bar Association, at 512-472-8303 or

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