Changes made by the 2013 Texas legislature provides that appraisal review board members can be fired based on clear and convincing evidence of repeated bias were misconduct. This is an excellent change since in the past there was no basis for terminating grossly biased appraisal review board members regardless of how egregious their behavior.
Prior to 2013, many appraisal review board members themselves as a proxy for the appraisal district. They viewed their primary responsibility was to conduct hearings quickly and to achieve a result consistent with the notice value set by the appraisal district. While they had at one point agreed to be impartial, the realities of maintaining their position led them to believe that it was in their best interest to consistently vote in favor of the appraisal district.
Of course, this was not the case with all appraisal review board members. There were a limited number who voted based upon the facts regardless of whether they favor the appraisal district for the property owner. However, a large portion of the appraisal review board members tended to vote consistently with the appraisal district regardless of the evidence.
One example of this bias was the appraisal districts request that property owners prove that their house had not been remodeled when evidence was shown documenting that the appraisal districts comparable sales have been remodeled even though their data indicated that the sales were not remodeled. An objective appraisal review board member should have discounted the appraisal districts evidence since it was not reliable based upon the discrepancies between the facts in the appraisal districts data. However, appraisal review board members insistently refused to consider evidence regarding the errors in the appraisal districts data. Instead, they requested that the property owner that their house it not been remodeled before they consider errors with regard to the appraisal districts evidence.
Hopefully, this change will encourage appraisal review board members to be more objective.
Posted in: Texas Property Tax Keywords: Propert Tax Law Changes, Texas Property Tax