AUSTIN (KXAN) — Taxpayers who successfully argued for a lower property valuation are going to get to keep their savings. The Travis Appraisal Review Board voted Wednesday to allow rulings from June 4 to stand. That was the first day of formal protest hearings, where taxpayers can dispute their home’ appraised from the Travis Central Appraisal District.
Agents that represent taxpayers in those hearings said TCAD did not, in some cases, provide their evidence 14 days in advance as required by law. Some review panels allowed the hearing to continue, others postponed. After hundreds of cases were heard that day, ARB chair Betty Thompson halted proceedings and said she would recommend all decisions from that day be thrown out — regardless of whether there were disputes about the evidence.
After meeting with lawyers behind closed doors Wednesday, the Appraisal Review Board voted against that recommendation, allowing those decisions to stand. That was good news for the taxpayers, who won the majority of the disputes that day.
“It’s important that property owners can trust the system. That when the ARB makes a ruling that the Appraisal District doesn’t get to ask for a do-over,” says J.P. Kruerger, CEO of Five Star Tax Advisors.
Krueger says 80% of his clients won their protests that day.
Wednesday’s decision relieves a little of the pressure on the ARB which is handling a deluge of protests this year resulting from the Travis Central Appraisal District’s decision to no longer settle disputes with informal, face-to-face meetings.
According to Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler, more than 140,000 Travis County property owners have filed protests this year. Texas Protax, another tax agency, says it settled 90% of cases last through those informal meetings.
Agents from Protax and Five Star question whether the ARB, with a beefed-up staff, will be able to handle the huge spike in protests.