The highly anticipated SB2 (Senate Bill 2) or the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019 aims to lift the tax burden on property owners, make tax collection and payment easier, and improve services to taxpayers.
One of the ways it amends the Tax Code is how it defines the need for and roles of auxiliary members of the Appraisal Review Board of each appraisal district. Here’s what you need to know about auxiliary members of the ARB and their role in special panels and taxpayer protest hearings.
What is the Appraisal Review Board?
The Appraisal Review Board of each appraisal district is responsible for reviewing appraisal records, hearing taxpayer protests, and making decisions about those protests. It is made up of independent citizens who collectively have the power to solve disputes about property tax appraisals and other taxpayer issues.
The local administrative district judge appoints the members of the ARB based on certain eligibility requirements. These individuals have staggered two-year terms. None of the members, whether regular or auxiliary, may be appointed to the ARB for more than three consecutive terms.
All the members of the Appraisal Review Board receive compensation for their service. The funds for their compensation is taken from the annual budget of the appraisal district. ARB members are required to undergo annual training workshops that are sponsored by the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division.
Can an auxiliary member of the ARB hear taxpayer protests?
Section 6.414(d) of the Tax Code says that an auxiliary member of the Appraisal Review Board is allowed to hear taxpayer protests. The section was amended to indicate that an auxiliary board member may only hear taxpayer protests before a special ARB panel if he or she is eligible to be appointed to the special panel.
In addition, if one or more auxiliary board members sit on a panel to conduct a taxpayer protest hearing, the number of auxiliary ARB members will reduce the number of regular ARB members required to make up the panel. In this instance, an auxiliary board member is considered a regular ARB member and will serve as such for the duration of the protest hearing.
Auxiliary board members may not vote on any final determination by the Appraisal Review Board. They cannot serve as chairman or secretary of the Board and are not counted toward a quorum.
Special ARB panels and eligibility of auxiliary ARB members
The Tax Code explains that special panels are established by the Appraisal Review Board to conduct protest hearings on types of properties identified in Section 6.425. The ARB chairman appoints the three ARB members for each special panel.
To be eligible for appointment into a special panel, an ARB member must
- have a Juris Doctor degree or its equivalent,
- have a Master of Business Administration degree,
- be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant,
- be accredited as a Senior Appraiser by the American Society of Appraisers,
- be licensed as a real estate broker or real estate sales agent,
- hold a CAE or Certified Assessment Evaluator professional designation from the International Association of Assessing Officers,
- hold an MAI professional designation from the Appraisal Institute, and
- have a minimum of 10 years of experience in property tax consulting or appraisal.
If a member does not meet these eligibility requirements, the chairman of the ARB may still appoint him or her to a special panel if
- the number of people appointed to the Board is not enough to fill the positions on each panel and
- the ARB member being appointed to a special panel has earned a bachelor’s degree in any field.
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