The Protest Phase
The Williamson Central Appraisal District presents…
The Protest Phase.
The following presentation is provided to educate Williamson County residential property
owners about what takes place during the protest phase of the appraisal year.
Mailing the majority of residential value notices at the beginning of April provides the
appraisal district the capability to utilize the rest of the month to informally meet with property
owners. During this time, scheduled appointments are not required to review the property with
an appraiser. Appraisers are available to explain the mass appraisal process, illustrate data used
to establish value, consider information presented from property owners, and confirm or adjust
values of property discussed. A property owner and appraiser may come to an agreement and
conclude any further process, or he or she may choose to file the notice of protest with the
appraiser that day, or by the indicated deadline. The Appraisal Review Board will then mail
notification of the date and time of a formal hearing. Scheduled hearings take place from May to
July. At the scheduled date and time, the property owner will first meet informally with an
appraiser to review the property and exchange evidence. If an agreement is reached, the protest
will be finalized. If an agreement is not reached, the property owner will proceed directly to a
formal hearing with the Appraisal Review Board.
Examples of common evidence property owners are encouraged to bring to informal
meetings and formal hearings are: sales documents of the subject property, sales prices of similar
properties in the same area as the subject, construction cost documents, repair estimates,
appraisals, and photos. Sales information normally considered has occurred from January of the
prior year through March of the current year.
If market value is protested, a district appraiser will utilize the appraisal database to
illustrate selected sales comparables most similar to the subject property. Quality, age, and size
are a few commonly considered characteristics. The sales comparison report is used to make
adjustments for differences that may exist between the subject property and comparables. The
report then assists in determining if the property has been appropriately appraised or requires a
If unequal appraisal is protested, an analysis following the guidelines of Texas Property
Tax Code 41.43 (b) (3) is applied. Then comparable properties to the subject are selected. Next,
they are appropriately adjusted for the differences to determine if the property is equally
appraised, or requires a value adjustment.
Following the examination of all evidence in the informal meeting, the district appraiser
will indicate whether the market value or appraisal equality is appropriate or requires
adjustment. Property owners not in agreement with the appraiser’s decision may proceed to a
formal hearing to present their evidence before the Appraisal Review Board.
The Appraisal Review Board, or ARB, is the administrative review arm of the property tax
system. It is a separate and independent, quasi-judicial entity with responsibility to conduct
formal hearings between property owners and appraisal districts. The ARB only has authority
over protests submitted to it and has no role in the day-to-day operations of the appraisal office
or in appraising property.
A district appraiser is responsible for presenting the evidence discussed in the informal
meeting. The law requires that prior to a hearing both district appraiser and property owner must
sign affidavits swearing to tell the truth, and that information about the property has not been
previously discussed with any member of the ARB. The hearing is administered by the ARB panel
chairman, and he or she begins by explaining the rules of the proceedings. Property owners have
the opportunity to present evidence first, followed by the district and members of the ARB may
ask questions to either party. Testimony is closed once the appraisal district and property owner
have finished presenting evidence. Any member of the ARB can then offer a motion indicating
what action to take in response to the evidence considered. If a motion is seconded, an oral vote
is then taken. A majority vote is required to pass the motion and conclude the hearing. A letter
containing the decision, final value determination, and further rights of appeal will be mailed to
the address of record.
We appreciate your interest in the presentation explaining the protest phase of the
appraisal calendar and hope the information presented offers a better understanding of the
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