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Texas Property Tax Disputes

From Class A office buildings to shopping malls and special purpose properties, Vinson & Elkins’ Tax lawyers represent commercial and industrial property owners seeking to reduce excessive Texas property tax values. When representing clients, our lawyers assist in filing administrative protests, handling administrative appeals, and pursuing litigation when necessary.

Local Presence & Experience

V&E’s credibility with appraisal districts across the state, including the Harris County Appraisal District, is the result of our having built a solid reputation in handling administrative and judicial appeals. When it becomes necessary to protest an appraisal value, we collaborate with qualified appraisal firms who provide extensively researched reports based on financial analyses, market information, and other factors impacting the property. And while we have the experience and capabilities to generally resolve protests administratively before the appraisal districts and appraisal review boards, V&E’s Litigation team is equipped to escalate appraisal appeals to trial when necessary.

Beyond providing comprehensive property tax-disputes services, V&E’s Tax team has received recognition for setting precedents on best-use appraisal methodologies for commercial and industrial properties. This depth and breadth of experience enhances our ability to offer streamlined advice when representing clients on all aspects of property tax issues.

Experience Highlights

  • Defended major offshore drilling companies in efforts by the City of Houston to impose property taxes on a retroactive basis on offshore drilling equipment and service vessels owned by companies headquartered in Houston; the settlement on terms we proposed provided for exemption of equipment operating exclusively outside of Texas and the apportioned taxation of vessels operating partially in Texas—the bases for this settlement subsequently were incorporated by the Legislature into the Texas Tax Code

  • Favorable resolution of litigation and administrative appeals in connection with the following issues of first impression in Harris County regarding property tax valuations: (1) proper methodologies for appraising major office buildings, including discounted cash flow techniques recognizing developer capital expenditure requirements; (2) valuation discounts for asbestos-containing materials in office buildings; (3) proper methodologies for appraising multiple developer-owned properties (e.g., condominium units, subdivision lots, etc.); and (4) identification of intangible asset values in connection with office buildings and shopping centers, and the deletion of such components from the taxable real estate value

  • Successful representation of an interstate natural gas transmission company in a case establishing that the impact of rate regulation was required to be considered for property tax valuation purposes

  • Favorable resolution of litigation and administrative appeals involving the property tax valuation of major properties, including office buildings, shopping centers, apartment complexes, developed and undeveloped land, refineries, and petrochemical plants

  • Successful defense of Harris County property tax valuation settlements against assertions raised in the Texas Comptroller’s annual value study that such valuations were below actual market value