When filing a property tax appeal, you must have come across the word binding arbitration, but what is it all about. Arbitration refers to resolving a dispute outside of the court. Parties reach out to an arbitrator; the arbitrator listens to the disputes and comes up with a decision. This blog is a primer on binding arbitration. Get to know how to qualify for it, the arbitration rules, to file or not to file a binding arbitration, and a lot more.

What is binding arbitration?

It is nothing but an alternative to filing an appeal of the ARB decision to the district court. An arbitrator listens to the facts of your appeal and takes a decision accordingly. The process is less formal when compared to that of a trial or a courtroom hearing.

Your role during the entire process

 You can present the case all by yourself. Call witnesses, present documents that serve as a piece of evidence for your case, and argue.

How to qualify for binding arbitration?

Property owners can request a binding arbitration only if the property is real or personal property. To qualify you must first file the Form AP-219, request for binding arbitration form along with the deposit payable to the comptroller’s office. This must be done within 60 days; from the time you receive an ARB order of determination.

The arbitration process

Once you submit the form, the appraisal district reviews the application and forwards the same along with the deposit made to the comptroller’s office within 10 days. An arbitrator is then appointed by the comptroller’s office to listen to your dispute. In the hearing property owners present their case and the county appraisal district will present the ARB case. Time constraints are less when compared to that of an ARB hearing and hence, you can take your time to lay out the entire case. Make sure you prepare and bring evidence along that explains why the value you mentioned is more appropriate than that of the ARB.

Should you file for binding arbitration if you are not satisfied with the value after the ARB Hearing

Do you need an attorney or CPA for arbitration?

Property owners also have the option to bring along with them an attorney, CPA, or even hire a property tax consultant to attend the hearing on your behalf or with you. If it is the first time you are filing a binding arbitration, then having a property tax consultant along is considered a better choice. The arbitrator takes into consideration all the information you present and notifies you about his decision at a later date.

The value is either reduced or left the same as the ARB value. If you win it means the value is closer to what you had determined. If you win the case, you will be refunded $50 and the remaining arbitration fee will be paid by the county appraisal district. The arbitrator’s decision is considered final. Get to know in detail about binding arbitration here.