Equalization phase of the Appraisal Cycle
The Texas Property Tax Code, Chapter 41 contains the extensive definitions and information for the Equalization Phase. The following is a reduced format:
The equalization phase begins when the chief appraiser submits the appraisal records to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) for review. In this phase, an impartial board of citizens hears protests from taxpayers and challenges from taxing units on the proposed appraisal records submitted by the chief appraiser. There several important deadlines that occur:
By May 1st (April 1st for residence homesteads) or soon thereafter as practicable the chief appraiser must deliver notices related to appraisal, exemption application denial, and other matters to the property owner;
By May 15th, the chief appraiser must submit appraisal records to the ARB for review. The ARB must begin meeting to hear protests within 10 days of the date the first records are submitted. The ARB writes out (the written form is called an “order”) the changes it wants the chief appraiser to make, and notifies affected property owners as well. By July 20th, the ARB finishes its hearings and approves the appraisal records, making them the appraisal roll. The chief appraiser certifies an appraisal roll to each taxing unit. Any additional records the chief appraiser prepares following certification must also receive ARB review. These supplemental records become part of the appraisal roll after the ARB approves them; and
Before June 1st, most property owners must file their protests, and taxing units must file challenges
A key day for the equalization phase is July 20th. The code directs the ARB to complete substantially all protest and approve the appraisal records (creating the appraisal roll) by July 20th. The chief appraiser must certify rolls to the taxing units within five (5) days of the date the ARB approves them.
Notice of Appraised Value (NOAV)
Generally, WCAD delivers notices of appraised value annually to all property owners although notices are only required if:
- the appraised value of the property is greater than it was in the preceding year $1,000 or more;
- the appraised value of the property is greater than the value rendered by the property owner; or
- the property was not on the appraisal roll in the preceding year.
The chief appraiser is required to appraise property at market value as of January 1st each year by applying generally accepted mass appraisal methods and techniques based on the individual characteristics that affect the market value of the property.
All protests filed with the District are required to be in writing or online by the deadline indicated on the appraisal notice. If filed in writing, the protest may be delivered either in person or by mail. This may be done either on the form that is attached to the Notice of Appraised Value (NOAV), the standard form supplied by the State Comptroller’s Office, or by correspondence that identifies the property by legal description and/or by parcel ID. Protests may be filed online prior to the protest deadline by clicking on the Online Protest link. The protest deadline is 30 days after the date of the NOAV or May 31st, whichever is later. No faxed protests or e-mailed protests are accepted.
It is very important to file the protest on time. If you mail your protest, please mail it to:Williamson Central Appraisal District
625 FM 1460
Georgetown TX 78626-8050
It must also bear a U.S. Post Office cancellation mark by midnight of your protest deadline indicated on your appraisal notice. If you deliver your protest in person, you must have it in our office before the office closes at 5:00 p.m. on the date of your protest deadline indicated on your appraisal notice. If you fail to file a protest on time, your options are limited.
Before a protest is filed, property owners are encouraged to review their property appraisal with a member of the District’s appraisal staff. If the questions are answered and any valuation issues resolved, the taxpayer, or designated agent, signs a waiver of any further appeal. If the inquiry is not resolved, the taxpayer is encouraged to file a protest and reminded of the deadline date.
Appraisal Review Board Hearings
Once a protest is received, a hearing is scheduled by the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). At least 15 days before the scheduled date of your hearing, the ARB will mail a notice of the appointment stating the date, time and location of the hearing. The hearing notice will include a copy of Taxpayer Remedies (a publication from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) and a copy of the ARB hearing procedures.
It is important that you are on time for your hearing. Youmay be represented in one of three ways:
- You may appear in person.
- You may authorize someone else in writing to appear on your behalf. For a family member or friend to represent you, a notarized authorization form required. For someone who is paid for representing you, a notarized Appointment of Agent form prescribed by the comptroller is required.
- You may file your evidence in the form of a notarized affidavit.
It is the policy of the ARB that an informal hearing occurs prior to the ARB Hearing and that all information presented at the ARB hearing be exchanged and reviewed at the informal level. No new data will be allowed to be introduced by either side. Informal Hearings and Formal Hearings are scheduled on the SAME DAY. If the protest issue is not resolved at Informal Hearing, the parties proceed immediately to the ARB Hearing. The exception may be hearings concerning BPP (Business Personal Property). If the protest is settled prior to ARB at the informal hearing, the taxpayer or agent must acknowledge agreed values in writing. A faxed or email agreement is acceptable.
Real Property – Bring with you sale information such as settlement statements or purchase contracts, comparable sales of like properties; cost information such as professional cost-to-cure estimates, or recent engineer’s reports; and for income-producing properties bring rent rolls and income and expense statements, etc. Other helpful information includes photographs of the property, a recent fee appraisal, agricultural history documentation, wildlife management plan, a survey plat, etc.
Business Personal Property – Please provide evidence regarding your business such as an asset listing costs and year acquired, IRS forms such as depreciation schedule, balance sheets with inventory information, income and expense statements.
These types of evidence are helpful in determining the market value of your property.
ARB Reschedule Policy:
On request made to the Appraisal Review Board BEFORE the date of scheduled hearing, a property owner who has not designated an agent to represent the owner at the hearing is entitled to one postponement of the hearing to a later date without showing cause. In addition, and without limitation as to the number of postponements, the ARB shall postpone the hearing to a later date if good cause is shown by the property owner, or the owner’s agent, or if the chief appraiser consents to the postponement. The hearing may not be postponed to a date less than five or more than 30 days unless agreed to by the chief appraiser and the Appraisal Review Board chairman or his representative.
Alternatives to being rescheduled are:
- Designate someone to attend the hearing in your place by providing them with the proper required written authorization,
- Submit your documentation in the form of an affidavit prior to your ARB scheduled hearing. The hearing will take place and all information submitted will be considered at the time of your ARB Hearing.
If you no longer have an issue and want to withdraw your protest, please mail your request to the address located on your appraisal notice or email to email@example.com. Please provide your name, property address, Quick Ref ID, a daytime phone number, and indicate that you are withdrawing your protest.