February 12, 2019


AUSTIN - State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) filed a bill last week that allows Texans in certain districts to file an appeal of their ad valorem taxes in Justice Courts as an alternative to District Courts. HB 994 would make it easier, quicker, and less expensive to file an appeal and get a hearing by empowering a lower court to hear those petitions.

"Taxes are stressful for everyone. I think it's only right that we make it as accessible as possible for everyone to pay their fair share of taxes," said Guillen. "That means allowing people who disagree with their property appraisal to exercise their right to petition without the substantive costs of hiring a lawyer."  

Currently, property owners who disagree with their appraisal district's actions may petition their property valuation through the Appraisal Review Board, District Courts, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, or an arbitration process. However, these processes may take an extended period of time, resulting in mounting legal fees that some people cannot afford. The prohibitive costs can prevent people from successfully appealing their ad valorem appraisals.

Guillen's HB 994 authorizes Justice Courts to also hear those petitions, so that appellants do not need to hire legal help. It seeks to reduce cost, wait time, and increase efficiency of the petitioning process.

"Accessibility is the name of the game," added Guillen. "Tax appeals should not be reserved for the wealthy few. Every Texan should be able to get their concerns heard through an affordable process."


Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at,, and