The commercial property tax appeal process can be a stressful undertaking for property owners. It’s the possibility of paying more than one’s fair amount. It’s the idea of introducing conflict into day-to-day business practices. It’s the sheer uncertainty regarding what the process entails. At Lane Property Tax Advocates, part of our promise to unburden your business is helping you understand what to expect when you opt to begin a commercial property tax appeal. After all, while every protest will vary slightly, there are certain factors that come into play virtually across the board. Here’s a high-level overview of what you can anticipate.
The Calendar Will Be Your Best Friend
Commercial property tax payment and protest processes follow specific timelines set by the state government. In Texas, for instance, payments for the prior year’s taxes are due by January 31, while May 15 marks the deadline to submit a protest related to the current year’s assessed values. Other dates enter the mix, too. A missed deadline is more than a minor inconvenience. In many instances, it can spell the end of your protest that year.
Lane Tip: A complete tax calendar is available on our Resources page. Stop by and download your copy!
You’ll Need to Prove Your Property Values
It isn’t enough to allege that your assessed property values are too high. The county appraisal district (CAD) will want information that backs your claim up. From images of the property itself, to recent inspection reports and even receipts for completed or planned maintenance work, the better able you are to prove your point, the stronger your case will be.
You Might Experience Multiple Hearings
An informal hearing is typically the first “official” step of the property tax appeal process. At this stage, the property owner (or the team representing them) presents their case — and the appraiser does the same. After information is presented, if the two parties come to an agreement, they sign off and the process is complete. If an agreement is not reached, however, the process moves on to a formal hearing before a three-person appraisal review board (ARB). This formal hearing works much like a court case, with a verdict being rendered at the end of the meeting.
Your Protest Might Extend Beyond Hearings
Although the aforementioned hearings are often enough to get a property owner’s taxes lowered, that isn’t always the case. In certain instances, when the formal hearing fails, the process can move on to litigation or arbitration. A property owner has 60 days following receipt of the ARB’s final value decision to formally begin the litigation or arbitration process, and there are a number of factors to consider when deciding the optimal path. The fees associated with litigation and arbitration will vary, for instance, as will the time commitment required.
You Might Get Lost in the Details
The property tax protest process is rarely cut and dried. Because so much relies on your unique property, current market conditions and a wealth of related factors, it can become easy to get swept up in the minutiae — and to begin to feel overwhelmed. We recommend hiring a professional commercial property tax protest team that deals with such work on a daily basis. Not only can they put their expertise to work taking time-consuming tasks off your plate and walking you through the complicated process, but they can put your mind at ease along the way.
The commercial property tax appeal process doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a bit of preparation and a quality team by your side, it’s possible to make it just another annual to-do on your list. If you have questions about any of the above, or if you’re interested in learning how Lane can help make sure you’re paying your fair share for your commercial property taxes, feel free to contact our team. We’re here to help, and we look forward to working with you!