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Avery v. Guadalupe County Appraisal District

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

April 12, 2017

Ronald F. AVERY, Appellant
v.
GUADALUPE COUNTY APPRAISAL DISTRICT, Appellee

         From the 25th Judicial District Court, Guadalupe County, Texas Trial Court No. 15-2442-CV Honorable W.C. Kirkendall, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Marialyn Barnard, Justice, Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice.

         In the underlying ad valorem tax case, Ronald Avery filed protests with the Guadalupe County appraisal review board ("the Board") regarding taxes on three of his properties. His protests raised six grounds. Following unfavorable decisions from the Board, Avery sued the Guadalupe County Appraisal District ("the District"), again raising the six grounds for his protest. The trial court granted the District's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on three of the grounds and rendered a summary judgment in favor of the District on the remaining three grounds. Avery now appeals from both orders. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Avery owns three properties, two individually and one as a trustee. On May 22, 2015, Avery filed a protest for each property for the 2015 tax year. Avery stated the same six grounds in each protest for the three properties: (1) his property was over market value, (2) his property was appraised unequally compared to other properties, (3) his property should not be taxed in the jurisdiction of Texas, (4) his property should not be taxed in the Guadalupe County Appraisal District or in one or more taxing units, (5) his property should not be taxed based on the Texas Constitution, including Article VIII, sections 1(a), 1-5, and other laws, and (6) his property should not be taxed based on principals of unlawfulness of ad valorem taxes in America according to the Founders.

         On July 21, 2015, the Board conducted a hearing on Avery's protests relating to all three properties. The next day, the Board issued a separate "Order Determining Protest" for each property, which stated

the Board has determined that the protest concerned the following action(s) permitted by Section 41.41(a), Tax Code
Value is over market value
Value is unequal compared to other properties
Having heard the evidence and arguments from both sides, the Appraisal Review Board with a quorum present determined that:
Appraisal Review Board rejects the appeal to the Texas Constitution as a viable cause of appeal of appraised value.
. . . If an ARB determination is not shown for a protested issue, it was withdrawn before or during the protest hearing. . . . .

         Avery received notice of the three orders on July 24, 2015. On August 13, 2015, Avery wrote a letter to the District in which he acknowledged receipt of the orders, but he stated he did not receive rulings on his remaining three protest grounds. In the letter, he stated he needed the rulings on the remaining issues so he could file an appeal in district court. Rather than issue additional orders addressing the three grounds, the Board set a hearing date for October 14, 2015, on the remaining three issues. On October 16, 2015, the Board issued a separate "Order Determining Protest" for each property, which stated

the Board has determined that the protest concerned the following action(s) permitted by Section 41.41(a), Tax Code
Property should not be taxed in the taxing unit of Texas
Property should not be taxed in this appraisal district or in one or more taxing units
The unlawfulness of ad valorem property tax in America according to the Founders
Having heard the evidence and arguments from both sides, the Appraisal Review Board with a quorum present determined that:
Land is located in Guadalupe County.
Taxing entities reflected on record are correct.
The Texas Constitution and Texas Tax Code allow the Guadalupe ...

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