Informal Meetings

Informal Meetings

The Informal Protest Process

During the informal process, property owners who have protested their market value have the opportunity to receive a settlement offer from the appraisal district during the informal meeting. When a property owner files their protest, they can submit evidence to the appraisal district that shows why they believe their market value should be lowered. The informal hearing and formal hearing will be scheduled on the same day.  You will first meet with an appraiser to discuss your concerns and evidence during the informal meeting, if you do not come to an agreement with the appraiser you will proceed on to the formal protest process with the ARB the same day. 

Property owners who file their protests online can upload their evidence, review the appraisal district’s evidence, and review a settlement offer through their online accounts.  If you decide to file an online protest this will constitute as your Informal meeting.

There will only be one informal meeting with a GCAD appraiser per property.

Property owners may submit their protest and evidence through our online portal, by mail or by hand delivery to the District’s office.

Evidence Request (HB 201) 

  • You may ask for a copy of the data, schedules, formulas, and any other information that the appraisal district plans to introduce at the hearing. The appraisal district must deliver this information during the 14 days before the protest hearing. However, you must submit request in writing to the CAD or fill out a HB 201 request. (see forms)

Helpful Videos

How to Present Your Case – Homeowner

How to Present Your Case – Small Business

Should I protest?

The ARB must base its decisions on evidence. It hears evidence from both you and the chief appraiser.

Protest issues that an ARB can consider include:

  • The proposed value of your property too high. Ask one of the appraisal district’s appraisers to explain the appraisal. Verify that the appraisal reflects the correct property description, measurements for your home or business and lot, and any defects. Gather blueprints, deed records, photographs, a survey or your own measurements, statements from builders or independent appraisals to contest the appraiser’s decision. Collect evidence on recent sales of properties similar to yours from neighbors or real estate professionals. Ask the appraisal district for the sales that it used. If you protest the agricultural value of your farm or ranch, find out how the appraisal district calculated your value. Compare its information with that of local experts on agriculture, such as the county agricultural extension agent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other recognized agricultural sources. The Comptroller’s Manual for the Appraisal of Agricultural Land (PDF) may be helpful.
  • Your property is valued unequally compared with other property in the appraisal district. Determine whether the property value is closer to market value than other, similar properties. Ask the appraisal district for appraisal records on similar properties in your area. Is there a big difference in their values? This comparison may show that your property was not treated equally. A ratio study or a comparison of a representative sample of properties, appropriately adjusted, for determining the median level of appraisal must be prepared to prove unequal appraisal.
  • The chief appraiser denied an exemption. First, find out why the chief appraiser did so. If the chief appraiser denied your homestead exemption, for example, obtain evidence that you owned your home on the effective date of the exemption and used it as your principal residence on that date. If the chief appraiser denied a homestead exemption for part of the land around your home, show how much land is used as part of your residence. If the chief appraiser denied a homestead exemption for age 65 or older, disabled persons, disabled veteran’s, spouse of military member killed in action or spouse of a first responder killed or fatally injured in action, read about the qualifications for exemptions in the Comptroller’s Texas Property Tax Exemptions (PDF).
  • The chief appraiser denied or modified the assessment rating of a temporary exemption due to damage by disaster. If you disagree with the damage assessment rating determined by the chief appraiser, take evidence showing the interior of the property and repair estimates. The appraisal district may have used one damage assessment rating for a neighborhood based on its age and building structures which don’t take into account unique features that are specific to your property.
    The chart below illustrates the different levels of damage that may be applicable in counties where the governor has made a disaster declaration:
  • The chief appraiser denied agricultural appraisal for your farm or ranch. Find out why the chief appraiser denied your application. Agricultural appraisal laws have specific requirements for property ownership and use. Prove that your property qualifies for special appraisal based on its productivity and intensity of use. Gather your ownership records and management records or obtain information from local agencies that provide services for farmers and ranchers.
  • The chief appraiser determined that you took your land out of agricultural use. Is agricultural activity still taking place on your land? If you have taken only part of the land out of agricultural use, you may need to show which parts still qualify. If you are letting land lie fallow, show that the time it has been out of agricultural use is not excessive or is part of a typical crop or livestock rotation process for your county.
  • The appraisal records show an incorrect owner. Provide records of deeds or deed transfers to prove ownership. If you acquired the property after Jan. 1, you may protest its value before the protest deadline. The law recognizes both the old and new owners as having an interest in the property’s taxes.
  • Your property is being taxed by the wrong taxing units. An error of this sort often is simply a clerical error. For example, the appraisal records may show your property as located in one school district when it actually is in another.
  • Is your property incorrectly included on the appraisal records? Some kinds of taxable personal property move from place to place quite regularly. Property is taxed at only one location in Texas. You can protest the inclusion of your property on the appraisal records if it should be taxed at another location in Texas or out of state.
  • The chief appraiser or ARB failed to send you a notice that the law requires them to send. You have the right to protest if the chief appraiser or ARB fails to give you a required notice. Make sure that the appraisal district has your correct name and address. A notice is presumed delivered if sent by first-class mail with a correct name and last known address. In some instances, notices are sent certified mail, and the date of delivery is shown on the return receipt card. The timeliness of communications is determined by the post office cancellation mark, a receipt mark of a common or contract carrier or other proof it was deposited with the carrier. If you prove that you did not receive the notice, the appraisal district must prove that it mailed the notice properly. You cannot protest failure to give notice if the taxes on your property are delinquent. Before the delinquency date, you must pay a partial amount, usually the amount of taxes that are not in dispute. You may file an oath of inability to pay the undisputed taxes and the ARB will hold a hearing to determine if prepayment would constitute an unreasonable restraint on your right of access to the ARB.
  • The appraisal district or ARB took any other action that affects you. You have the right to protest any appraisal district action affecting you and your property. For instance, the chief appraiser may claim your property was not taxed in a previous year. You may protest only those actions that affect your property.

How do I file a protest

The chief appraiser must publicize annually the right to and methods for protesting before the ARB, in a manner designed to effectively notify all appraisal district residents. However, try to discuss your protest issue with the appraisal office in advance. You may be able to work out a satisfactory solution without appearing before the ARB by requesting an informal conference with the appraisal district.

  • File a written protest. The appraisal district has protest forms available, but you need not use one. A notice of protest is sufficient if it identifies the owner, the property that is the subject of the protest and indicates that you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the appraisal district.
  • File your notice of protest by May 15 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed a notice of appraised value to you, whichever date is later. Note that it is 30 days after mailing the notice, not its receipt. If you are an off-shore worker or on full-time military duty, you may be entitled to file a late protest.
  • If the chief appraiser sends you a notice that your land is no longer in agricultural use, you must file your protest within 30 days of the date upon which the chief appraiser mailed the notice. The chief appraiser sends this notice by certified mail.
  • If you file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you are entitled to a hearing only if the ARB decides that you had good reason for failing to meet the deadline.
  • If you do not file a notice of protest before the ARB approves the appraisal records, you may lose your right to protest. You also lose the right to file a lawsuit about the taxable value of your property.
  • If your protest is late because the chief appraiser or ARB failed to mail a required notice of appraised value or a denial of exemption or agricultural appraisal, you may file your protest any time before the taxes become delinquent or no later than the 125th day after the date you claim you received a tax bill from one or more of the taxing units that tax your property. You must pay some current taxes before the delinquency date to be entitled to this type of hearing. A notice of appraised value is not always required.
  • In some cases, you may file with the ARB to correct an error even after these deadlines. Contact your appraisal district if you have questions about clerical errors, substantial value errors, double taxing or other possible errors.

Can I request a postponement of an ARB hearing?

If you have not designated an agent to represent you before the ARB, you are entitled to one postponement without showing cause. You can also request a one-time postponement for additional time to prepare for your hearing. The ARB may grant additional postponements if you can show reasonable cause or the chief appraiser can agree to a postponement. The ARB must postpone a hearing upon request if the hearing starts two hours or more after its scheduled start time or if the protest is reassigned to a different ARB panel.

Must I appear in person to present a protest?

When protesting, you or your agent may appear in person, offer evidence or argument by affidavit without appearing in person, or you may appear by telephone conference call or videoconference to offer argument and offer evidence by affidavit.

You may contact the appraisal district or the Comptroller’s office for an Affidavit of Evidence to the Appraisal Review Board (PDF), but you do not have to use this form. If your letter contains all the information required, you may have your letter notarized and send it to the ARB.