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TITLE 34PUBLIC FINANCE
PART 1COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
CHAPTER 9PROPERTY TAX ADMINISTRATION
SUBCHAPTER DAPPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD
RULE §9.804Arbitration of Appraisal Review Board Determinations Issued for Tax Year 2017 and Previous Tax Years

(a) Definitions and instructions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings and are subject to the stated instructions and provisions.

  (1) Owner--A person or entity having legal title to property. It does not include lessees who have the right to protest property valuations before county appraisal review boards.

  (2) Agent--An individual for whom written authorization has been granted in accordance with the terms of this subsection and includes the following: an attorney licensed by the State of Texas; a real estate broker or salesperson licensed under Occupations Code, Chapter 1101; a real estate appraiser licensed or certified under Occupations Code, Chapter 1103; an appraisal district employee registered under Occupations Code, Chapter 1151, or an appraisal district contractor; a property tax consultant registered under Occupations Code, Chapter 1152; or a certified public accountant certified under Occupations Code, Chapter 901. An agent may not take any action relating to binding arbitration on behalf of an owner without a completed Appointment of Agent(s) for Binding Arbitration (Form 50-791) prescribed by the comptroller, and the provisions of §9.4253 of this title (relating to Agent Representation in Arbitration) apply.

  (3) Binding arbitration--A forum in which each party to a dispute presents the position of the party before an impartial third party who is appointed by the comptroller as provided by Tax Code, Chapter 41A, and who renders a specific award that is enforceable in law and may only be appealed as provided by Civil Practices and Remedies Code, §171.088, for purposes of vacating an award.

  (4) Appraised value--Has the meaning included in Tax Code, §1.04(8).

  (5) Market value--Has the meaning included in Tax Code, §1.04(7).

  (6) Appraisal district--Has the meaning included in Tax Code, §6.01.

  (7) Comptroller--The Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas.

(b) Request for Arbitration.

  (1) The appraisal review board of an appraisal district shall include a notice of the owner's right to binding arbitration and a copy of the request for binding arbitration form prescribed by the comptroller with the notice of issuance and the order determining a protest filed pursuant to Tax Code, §41.41(a)(1) or (2) concerning the appraised or market value of property if the value determined by the order is $5 million or less or if the property qualifies as the owner's residence homestead under Tax Code, §11.13.

  (2) An owner may appeal through binding arbitration an appraisal review board order determining a protest filed pursuant to Tax Code, §41.41(a)(1) or (2) concerning the appraised or market value of property if the value determined by the order is $5 million or less or if the property qualifies as the owner's residence homestead under Tax Code, §11.13. A motion for correction of an appraisal roll, a protest concerning the qualification of property for exemption or special appraisal, or any other issue not specified in Tax Code, §41.41(a)(1) or (2) cannot be appealed through binding arbitration.

  (3) A request for binding arbitration must be made on the form prescribed by the comptroller and signed by an owner or agent. The property owner or agent must submit a copy of the appraisal review board order being appealed through binding arbitration with the request pursuant to §9.4252(e) of this title (relating to Request for Arbitration). If an agent files a request for binding arbitration, a current Appointment of Agent(s) for Binding Arbitration (Form 50-791) that has been completed and signed pursuant to §9.4253 of this title, must be attached to the request for binding arbitration. Failure to attach the complete authorization disqualifies the agent from requesting the arbitration. The request for binding arbitration form must be filed with the appraisal district responsible for appraising the property not later than the 45th calendar day after the date the owner receives the order determining protest from the appraisal review board as evidenced by certified mail receipt. A deposit in the amount provided by Tax Code, §41A.03 in the form of a money order or a check issued and guaranteed by a banking institution, such as a cashier's or teller's check, payable to the Comptroller of Public Accounts must accompany the request for binding arbitration. Personal check, cash, or other form of payment shall not be accepted. The schedule of deposits, as well as the amount of the arbitrator's fee for each type of arbitration case, is found in Appendix 1. The request for binding arbitration with the required deposit and, if applicable, the agent authorization form must be timely submitted to the appraisal district by hand delivery, by certified first-class mail, or as provided by Tax Code, §1.08 or Tax Code, §1.085.

Attached Graphic

  (4) The appraisal district shall reject a request for binding arbitration if the owner or agent fails to attach the required deposit in the manner required by this section. In such event, the appraisal district shall return the request for binding arbitration with a notification of the rejection to the owner or agent by regular first-class mail or other form of delivery requested in writing by the owner or agent.

  (5) The chief appraiser of the appraisal district must submit requests for binding arbitration with the required deposits to the comptroller not later than the 10th calendar day after the date the appraisal district receives the requests. The chief appraiser must assign an arbitration number to each request in accordance with the procedures and forms developed by the comptroller. The chief appraiser must certify receipt of the request and state in the certification whether or not the request was timely filed; the request was made on the form prescribed by the comptroller; the deposit was submitted according to this section; and any other information required by the comptroller. In addition, the chief appraiser must submit to the comptroller with each request a copy of the order determining protest or, in the case of an appeal relating to contiguous properties pursuant to Tax Code, §41A.03, a copy of each order determining protest. The chief appraiser must submit the requests for arbitration to the comptroller by hand delivery or certified first-class mail, and must simultaneously deliver a copy of the submission to the owner by regular first-class mail.

  (6) Failure by the owner to timely file the request for arbitration, the ARB order being appealed, and the required deposit with the appraisal district shall result in the denial of the request by the comptroller. Failure by the owner to pay taxes due on the property subject to the appeal in prior years or, for the year at issue, in an amount equal to the amount of taxes due on the portion of the taxable value of the property that is not in dispute before the delinquency date shall result in the denial of the request for arbitration by the comptroller. If the property owner or agent did not file a protest pursuant to Tax Code, §41.41(a)(1) or (2) concerning the appraised or market value of property determined by the appraisal review board to be valued at $5 million or less or property that qualifies as the owner's residence homestead under Tax Code, §11.13, the comptroller shall deny the request for binding arbitration. If the property owner or agent filed an appeal in district court concerning the property subject to a request for binding arbitration, the comptroller shall deny the request. Failure by the owner to provide all information required by the comptroller's prescribed form and include a copy of the ARB order being appealed, will result in the denial of the request by the comptroller if the information is not provided in a timely manner, not to exceed 10 calendar days, after a written or verbal request by the comptroller to the person requesting arbitration to supplement or complete the form has been made.

  (7) On receipt of the request for arbitration, the comptroller shall determine whether to accept the request, deny the request, or request additional information. The comptroller shall notify the owner or agent and appraisal district of the determination.

(c) Appointment of Arbitrators.

  (1) The comptroller shall appoint, pursuant to §9.4256(b) and (c) of this title (relating to Comptroller Appointment of Arbitrators), an arbitrator qualified under §9.4258 of this title (relating to Qualifications for Inclusion in the Comptroller's Registry of Arbitrators), eligible under §9.4259 of this title (relating to Arbitrator Eligibility for A Particular Appointment), and subject to §9.4256(f) of this title, upon acceptance of a valid request and deposit as provided by Tax Code §41A.03. The notification of the appointment must be transmitted by regular first-class mail to the arbitrator. The arbitrator shall notify the owner or agent and the appraisal district promptly of the appointment.

  (2) The comptroller must be notified, in writing, within 5 business days of the arbitrator's receipt of the appointment that the arbitrator is unable or unwilling to conduct the arbitration under §9.4256 (g) - (h) of this title, or for any other reason; or that the appointment is accepted. The notification must be delivered to the comptroller electronically, by facsimile transmission, or by regular first-class mail. If the comptroller does not receive from the arbitrator written notification of acceptance or refusal of the appointment within 5 business days, the comptroller shall presume that the appointment has been refused. If the arbitrator refuses the appointment, the comptroller shall appoint a substitute arbitrator from the registry within 10 business days of the receipt, or the determination pursuant to this subsection, of the arbitrator's refusal. The process of appointment of arbitrators pursuant to this subsection shall continue in this fashion until an acceptance is obtained. A refusal to accept an arbitration appointment may be considered by the comptroller in evaluating subsequent requests for arbitration and appointments.

(d) Provision of Arbitration Services.

  (1) Arbitration services shall be provided pursuant to this subsection.

  (2) Unless the property owner or agent and the appraisal district both agree to arbitration by submission of written documents only, the arbitration will be conducted in person or by teleconference. The arbitrator may decide whether to conduct the arbitration in person or by teleconference unless the property owner or agent indicates on the Request for Binding Arbitration (Form AP-219) that the arbitration be conducted in person or by teleconference only. If the arbitration is conducted in person, the arbitrator and both parties shall appear in person for the hearing. If the arbitration is conducted in person, the hearing must be held in the county where the appraisal district office is located and from which the appraisal review board order determining protest was issued, unless the parties agree to another location. The selected location must be in an office-type setting generally open to the public or to the arbitrator and includes conference rooms in an office or residential building.

  (3) The arbitrator must give notice and conduct arbitration proceedings in the manner provided by Civil Practice and Remedies Code, §§171.044, 171.045, 171.046, 171.047, 171.049, 171.050, and 171.051, and shall continue a proceeding if both parties agree to the continuance and may continue a proceeding for reasonable cause. The arbitrator should cooperate with the appraisal district and the owner or agent in scheduling a hearing. The arbitrator must, by written procedures delivered in advance to the parties, require that the parties produce and exchange evidence prior to the hearing.

  (4) The arbitrator shall decide to what extent the arbitration hearing procedures are formal or informal and shall deliver written procedures to be used at the hearing. The parties shall be allowed to record audio of the proceedings, but may record them by video only with the consent of the arbitrator.

  (5) The parties to an arbitration proceeding may represent themselves or may be represented by an agent as provided by Tax Code, §41A.08 and pursuant to §9.4253 of this title, as evidenced by the owner's execution of a written authorization made on the comptroller-prescribed Appointment of Agent(s) for Binding Arbitration (Form 50-791). Any deposit refund will be processed in accordance with the original request for binding arbitration.

  (6) The confidentiality provisions of Tax Code, §22.27, concerning information provided to an appraisal office, apply to information provided to arbitrators. The information may not be disclosed except as provided by law.

  (7) The arbitrator shall not communicate with the owner, the appraisal district, or their agents, nor shall the owner, the appraisal district, or their agents communicate with the arbitrator, prior to the arbitration hearing concerning specific evidence, argument, facts, merits, or the property subject to arbitration. Such communications may be grounds for the removal of the arbitrator from the comptroller's registry of arbitrators.

  (8) The arbitrator shall dismiss a pending arbitration action with prejudice pursuant to the terms of §9.4261(m) of this title (relating to Provision of Arbitration Services). When a binding arbitration proceeding is brought pursuant to Tax Code, §41A.03(a-1) involving two or more contiguous tracts of land, the arbitrator shall dismiss from consideration in the proceeding each tract of land and each appraisal review board order appealed in which it is determined that any of the circumstances set forth in §9.4261(m) of this title apply to the particular tract or ARB order. Cont'd...

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