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FAQ's - ARB

• What is the Appraisal Review Board?  [Read more...]

The ARB is a separate body from the Appraisal District Board of Directors and the Appraisal Office. Following the principle of checks and balances, the ARB is the judicial part of the local property tax system and is under oath to be fair and impartial. The ARB members are community members appointed from across the county, none are employees of the Cameron Appraisal District, nor employees or officers of any of the taxing entities of Cameron County.

The ARB has no role in the day-to-day operations of the Cameron Appraisal District office or in appraising property. It has authority to hear and resolve disputes over appraisal matters submitted to it. In resolving taxpayer protests the ARB is here to determine the fair market value of your property as of January 1 and to hear other issues you may have protested.

• What are the ARB’s Duties?  [Read more...]

Under the law, the ARB has these duties:

  • Determine protests initiated by property owners;
  • Determine challenges initiated by taxing units;
  • Correct clerical errors in the appraisal records and the appraisal rolls;
  • Act on motions to correct appraisal rolls under section 25.25;
  • Determine whether an exemption or a partial exemption is improperly granted and whether land is improperly granted appraisal as provided by Subchapter C, D, or E, Chapter 23;
  • After it has completed substantially all protests, the ARB approves the appraisal records.

• How do I protest my value?  [Read more...]

Protests to the ARB must be written. The ARB will not accept protest verbally.  The Appraisal District has forms for protesting, but an official form is not necessary. Any written notice of protest will be acceptable as long as it identifies the owner, the property that is the subject of the protest and indicates apparent dissatisfaction with an action or decision taken by the Appraisal District. Please identify the property in question (property address/account number), state the nature of the protest (i.e., market value) and it is helpful to attach any applicable documentation that you would like for us to review.  A protest must be filed by May 31st, or no later than 30 days after the Appraisal District delivers a Notice of Appraised Value to you, whichever is later. It is very important to file the protest on time. If you mail your protest, please mail it to the address listed on your Notice of Appraised Value or it should be mailed to PO Box 1010, San Benito, TX 78586. It must also bear a post office cancellation mark by midnight on the deadline date. If you deliver your protest in person, you must have it in our office before the office closes on the deadline date. The office doors are locked promptly at 5:30 P.M Mon - Thurs and 5:00 PM Fri. If you fail to file a protest on time, your options are limited. Once the written protest is received, a hearing is scheduled by the ARB. The ARB will give you at least 15 days notice of the date, time and location of your hearing. The Appraisal District will also send you a copy of Taxpayers' Rights, Remedies & Responsibilities (a publication of the State Comptroller's Office), a copy of the ARB hearing procedures, and a statement that you have the right to inspect the information that the Appraisal District plans to introduce at your hearing. There may be a charge for some of this information.

• Can I file a protest via Email or fax?  [Read more...]

Yes. Protests must be in writing and either mailed to our agency, hand delivered by the protest deadline date, faxed to (956) 399-6969 or emailed to . If mailed, the protest must be postmarked on or before the protest deadline date.

• I sent in documentation with my protest. Why have I not heard from anyone?  [Read more...]

Taxpayer phone calls, walk-ins and formal ARB Hearings take priority during this time of year. Many times appraisers are unable to review documentation attached to a protest until a day or so before the ARB Hearing.  However, if you attached documentation to your protest, then please call and ask to speak with an appraiser so they can pull your protest and review your documentation with you.  If they are able to make an adjustment that you are in agreement with, there may be no need for your formal ARB Hearing.

• I forgot to file a protest. Can I still get my value lowered?  [Read more...]

No. If a taxpayer does not file a timely protest, neither the appraiser nor the ARB can make a value adjustment to your property.  You should follow up on your issue(s) after August 1.  If you believe there are good cause reasons (i.e., hospitalization) as to why you could not file a timely protest, then you should write the ARB, state the facts and document (provide medical receipts on hospitalization) your reasons.  The ARB will make a determination and respond back to you in writing.  Forgetting to file a protest or not knowing the protest deadline are not considered good cause reasons to grant you a late protest.  If you believe there is a clerical error or substantial error associated with your property value, then you should speak to an appraiser who will clarify if there are any remedies available to correct the clerical error or substantial value error.

• What are different protest reasons?  [Read more...]

You may file a protest if any of the following is true about your property:

  • Value is over market value.
  • Value is unequal compared with other properties.
  • Property should not be taxed in a taxing unit.
  • Failure to send required notice.
  • Exemption was denied, modified, or cancelled.
  • Change in use of land appraised as ag-use, open-space, or timber land.
  • Ag-use, open-space or other special appraisal was denied, modified or cancelled.
  • Owner's name is incorrect.
  • Property description is incorrect.
  • Property should not be taxed in this appraisal district or in one or more taxing units.

• Are lessees allowed to protest their values?  [Read more...]

A person leasing tangible personal property who is contractually obligated to reimburse the property owner for taxes imposed on the property is entitled to protest before the Appraisal Review Board a determination of the appraised value of the property if the property owner does not file a protest relating to the property.  A person bringing the protest is considered the owner of the property for purposes of the protest.  The Appraisal Review Board shall deliver a copy of any notice relating to the protest and of the order determining the protest to the owner of the property and the person bringing the protest.  The property owner shall timely send to the person leasing the property a copy of any notice of the property’s reappraisal received by the property owner.  Failure of the owner to send a copy of the notice to the person leasing the property does not affect the time within which a person leasing the property may protest the appraised value.

The party initiating the protest must file a written notice of the protest with the Appraisal Review Board by the protest deadline.  The property owner, not the lessee, must initiate any corrections to the appraisal roll.

Informal Review with Appraisal District Staff

• Do I have to go to an ARB Hearing to settle my issue(s)?  [Read more...]

No. We encourage all taxpayers to try to resolve their issues with an appraiser prior to their formal ARB Hearing.

Many times your protest can be resolved with a staff member of the Appraisal District in an informal manner without going to the ARB for a formal hearing. You should be prepared to present whatever documented evidence you have to convince the appraiser of your point of view. The Appraisal District has adopted a set of Standards of Documentation that details the type of data and information that you should present. You may talk to an appraiser up until the day before your hearing, if you have filed a protest. If you have not filed a protest, you may discuss the value until May 31 or thirty (30) days after you received your Notice of Appraised Value.  The protest deadline is printed on the Notice of Appraised Value.  If we are able to resolve your issue prior to the ARB Hearing, then there is no need for an ARB Hearing.  However, if we are unable to resolve your issue(s), then an ARB Hearing is needed.

• Do I need to make an appointment to see an appraiser informally?  [Read more...]

No. To see an appraiser, all you need to do is come to our office and sign in and you will be seen in the order in which you signed in. It is encouraged to take into consideration that there are informal appointments scheduled throughout the day which do take priority over walk-ins.

• Can I negotiate a value over the phone?  [Read more...]

No, not typically.  In order for an appraiser to make an adjustment, he/she needs to follow the ARB’s Standards of Documentation (which is the same as adopted by the Appraisal District), which means he/she needs to support a value adjustment with documentation provided by the taxpayer.

Formal Hearing Before the ARB

• What is a formal hearing before the ARB?  [Read more...]

If you are not able to resolve the protest informally with an appraiser, your protest will be heard by the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The ARB is a group of citizens who are authorized to resolve disputes between Appraisal Districts and taxpayers.

A hearing before the ARB is conducted very much like a court case, although less formal.  The ARB sets their own procedures with guidelines from the State Comptroller’s Office. Generally, ARB panels are three-member panels, but may be more. Typically, after formal introduction of the parties and the property involved, the ARB will hear evidence from the property owner and the Appraisal District and make a judgment based on the evidence presented.  The entire hearing typically takes approximately 15 minutes and the property owner will know the ARB’s recommendation before they leave the hearing.  After, a decision is made by the ARB panel and approved by a quorum of the entire Board.

The final determination by the full board will be sent by certified mail to the protesting property owner. A property owner may appeal the ARB decision through (1) district court, (2) under limited circumstances, by binding arbitration or (3) in Cameron County, to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). See the Property Taxpayer Remedies pamphlet for more information and for time frames for filing.

• Do I need to appear in person?  [Read more...]

You have three choices: 1) you can appear in person; 2) you can appoint someone else to appear for you; or 3) you can file an affidavit stating your facts and presentation by mail.

Having Someone Else Appear For You:

You can authorize someone else in writing to appear on your behalf. If the person is your spouse or a co-owner of the property, you do not need to do anything to authorize the person. To authorize a friend or a family member other than your spouse, you must provide a written authorization for the person representing you, signed by you, the property owner. If you authorize someone besides a family member or friend (i.e., a Real Estate Agent), you must obtain a copy of the Appointment of Agent For Single-Family Residential Property Tax Matters form from the Appraisal District and file it with our office. To authorize somebody who is paid for representing you, you must use a special Appointment of Agent form. This form is available from the Appraisal District. The person you select should be able to discuss the property from personal knowledge and should file the form as soon as possible. The person must bring the appropriate form to the Informal Review or the ARB hearing.

Affidavits:

The affidavit and supporting documents must be received by the ARB before the scheduled hearing date. Delivering them to our office in person is best. If you mail them, it is a good idea to send them return receipt requested. Be sure to mail them in plenty of time and be sure the address is correct. The affidavit must state that you swear or affirm that the information it contains is true. Be sure to clearly place in the affidavit or a cover letter, the property owner's name, address, account number, property description, and the date and time of the hearing.

• Where can I obtain hearing information and data?  [Read more...]

For Residential and Commercial property, if you have protested your property, you will receive a Hearing Notification of the date, time and location of your hearing. You may go to the CAD Website, www.cameroncad.org, click on "Property Search" and enter the PID#, GEO ID#, address, or owner name and it will provide information and data on your property account. You may also visit the CAD offices and talk to a Residential or Commercial Appraiser who will supply information and data on your property for an appeal.

• What form of documentation will the ARB accept for the hearing?  [Read more...]

It is important to have copies of the evidence you will present in the hearing. All evidence will be scanned and retained in your permanent file. Please do not submit electronic devices as evidence such as: memory cards, floppy disks, digital or video cameras, etc.

TYPES OF EVIDENCE FOR REAL PROPERTY VALUE:

  • Recent fee appraisal (no later than 180 days old). The appraisal must be submitted to Cameron Appraisal District 14 days before the ARB hearing to be admitted as evidence
  • Closing statements or settlement statements (if sale occurred within 2 years)
  • Sales of comparable properties
  • Rental contract, if property is leased
  • Photographs of subject property, printed copies only please. Original photos are scanned and retained as part of the permanent record.
  • No memory cards, digital or video camera evidence. The room may not be equipped to present such evidence.
  • If the property is up for sale, evidence of listing price and time on the market.
  • Home insurance policy
  • Evidence or reports of structural damage (IE cracked foundation, inadequate plumbing, etc.)

TYPES OF EVIDENCE FOR BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY:

  • Asset Financial Report
  • Product Inventory Ledger
  • Certified Public Accountant Reports on Inventory and Fixed Assets

The Appraisal Review Board must base its decision on tangible evidence (as described above), provided by both sides.
The ARB has no control over property taxes, quality of governmental services or appraisal district operations, these topics should not be included in your presentation. The ARB is empowered to decide only on specific items, which you have protested.

• Can I reschedule my ARB hearing?  [Read more...]

You are entitled to one postponement of the hearing without showing a good cause if you have not designated an agent to represent you at the hearing. You are also entitled to postpone your hearing if you or your agent shows reasonable cause for the postponement. You must request this postponement to the appraisal review board before the date of the hearing.

• Can I cancel my ARB Hearing?  [Read more...]

If you no longer have an issue and want to withdraw your protest, please mail it to the address located at the bottom of your Appraisal Notice and provide your 1) name, 2), property address, 3) CAD account number and 4) date of the scheduled hearing.

• What happens if I do not appear at my scheduled hearing?  [Read more...]

If you do not appear in person and no evidence or documentation has been submitted, your protest will be dismissed.

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