Is your Property Tax Attorney a Paper-Pusher or Bulldog?
3 questions to ask yourself to find out.
In the world of property tax protests, attorneys now play an integral part. But not all tax attorneys are created the same. Some simply extend the negotiating timeframe by filing a suit with the Appraisal District. But what is the actual goal of this action? Is it to extend the timeframe of the appeal and hope to get a better outcome than your property tax consultant? Are you likely to get the same result in a different venue? This can be a costly endeavor with limited upside and underwhelming results. If you want to know if your tax attorney is merely shuffling paper or taking a bite out of the Appraisal District, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is your case set for trial, or have you just filed a lawsuit?
Many property tax attorneys don’t like to set cases for trial. Trial settings bring with them deadlines and the threat of real work. Without deadlines, the appeal can drag on for many months and even years. And why not? The district already has your money. Appraisal Districts are never motivated to bring quick resolutions, they already have what they want! But any negotiation or mediation without a trial setting is like asking a seller to offer you the lowest price without any motivation to sell.
2. Is the goal to wait on everyone else to settle first, in hopes that you too can “get a little relief” – because that’s likely all you’ll get.
Sitting back and going last is not a legal strategy, it’s what is done when there is no strategy. And you don’t need a legal expert for this, merely someone to file paperwork on your behalf—A Paper Pusher. The other properties under appeal are your competitors, and being content with riding their coattails after they settle means you’ll never outperform the competition. At most you’ll get the same deal as everyone else, only months later. This strategy will yield, at best, slow-paced mediocrity.
3. Does your tax attorney have a reputation for taking cases to trial or just settling?
It’s rare that property tax appeals go the distance and have a trial, but it is vital that your attorney have ample experience in doing so. In any negotiation, the only way to get the absolute best deal is for the other side to know you excel when a deal isn’t reached. If your tax attorney folds their hand after mediation, they likely have a reputation for doing just that. Taxing authorities are like dogs in a fight – they can sense fear. They know who to bow up to, and who to back down from.
These questions should help shed light on the type of tax attorney you are dealing with. If you suspect yours is simply pushing emails out on your behalf, it might be time to invest your time and energy into a different strategy with a different outcome. To hear about ours, give us a call.