AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 150 property owners banded together to sue those in Travis County who work with appraisals, claiming their protests were dismissed when they tried to reschedule their hearings.
Property appraisals determine how much tax people pay each year. In 2018, a record number of people disputed those appraisals, trying to adjust that amount.
The plaintiffs claim the Travis Appraisal Review Board and the Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler tried to prevent them from being able to attend protest hearings and have tax agent representation at those hearings, according to a lawsuit provided by their lawyer, Bill Aleshire. Those actions violate the Texas Tax Code and the Open Meetings Act.
“My clients and I believe that the appraisal district needs some bright sunshine shown inside its operation,” Aleshire said.
Two tax agent firms joined 113 residential property owners and 46 commercial property owners they represent in filing suit Monday. They all say they want their appraisal protests to have a hearing, as the law requires, and want monetary relief of $100,000. They also want Chief Appraiser Crigler and her staff to no longer have power to set schedules.
Multiple plaintiffs said after their hearings were scheduled, they wrote in to have the dates changes. They say in the lawsuit they were told their hearings would be rolled over, but then were told if they didn’t attend the originally scheduled hearing their protest would be dismissed. The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs never received notice their protests were dismissed, and there were no records a protest for them was even started.
The tax agents claim they were also scheduled for multiple hearings for different clients at the same time, and were not able to reschedule.
KXAN has reached out to the Travis Appraisal Review Board for comment and has not heard back.