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Property Tax Board 6.41

Property Tax Board 6.41

Appraisal Review Board Hear Property Tax Protests Not Settled Informally

Section 6.41 – Appraisal Review Board

Hearing property tax protests is the most meaningful and time-consuming responsibility of the appraisal review board. Property owners can appeal excessive appraisal, unequal appraisal, and other issues. Although the legislature apparently intended the appraisal review board to be “separate, apart, and independent” of the appraisal district, there are defects in the structure and logistics.

Appraisal review board members are selected by the board of directors of the appraisal district, paid by the appraisal district, and supervised by the appraisal district staff. They serve up to six years, based on three two-year terms. Appraisal review board members must be reappointed to their second and third two-year terms. Although it is not commonplace, appraisal review board members who are perceived to be “pro-taxpayer” have not been invited to return for their second and third terms. Although most appraisal review board members attempt to serve consistently with their charge, the structure and logistics make it more difficult than necessary.

The appraisal review board contains at least three members although most contain more adequately processing the volume of property tax appeals. The appraisal review board consists of the entire board, while an appraisal review board panel typically refers to a three-member panel of ARB members. Most property tax protests (appeals) are heard before a three-member ARB panel. While it appears they make a binding decision, they actually make a recommendation that is considered by the entire appraisal review board. Three-member ARB panels cannot bind the entire appraisal review board and can only hear property tax appeals. While the vast majority of three-member ARB panel decisions are adopted, there are meaningful distinctions between a three-member panel and the ARB. Only the ARB can approve the tax rolls, hear a challenge by a taxing unit and issue a subpoena.

Texas’ appraisal review board process is effective. However, it would be improved by distancing the appraisal review board from the appraisal district, increasing the level of training, and stricter adherence to hearing procedures documents in the Texas Property Tax Code.

Sec. 6.41. Appraisal Review Board.

(a) The appraisal review board is established for each appraisal district.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (b-1) or (b-2), an appraisal review board consists of three members.

(b-1) An appraisal district board of directors by resolution of a majority of the board’s members may increase the size of the district’s appraisal review board to the number of members the board of directors considers appropriate.

(b-2) An appraisal district board of directors for a district established in a county with a population of one million or more by resolution of a majority of the board’s members shall increase the size of the district’s appraisal review board to the number of members the board of directors considers appropriate to manage the duties of the appraisal review board, including the duties of each special panel established under Section 6.425.

(c) To be eligible to serve on the board, an individual must be a resident of the district and must have resided in the district for at least two years.

(d) Members of the board are appointed by the local administrative district judge under Subchapter D, Chapter 74, Government Code, in the county in which the appraisal district is established. A vacancy on the board is filled in the same manner for the unexpired portion of the term.

(d-1) All applications submitted to the appraisal district or to the appraisal review board from persons seeking appointment as a member of the appraisal review board shall be delivered to the local administrative district judge. The appraisal district may provide the local administrative district judge with information regarding whether an applicant for appointment to or a member of the board owes any delinquent ad valorem taxes to a taxing unit participating in the appraisal district.

(d-2) A local administrative district judge may make appointments to the board directly or may, by written order, appoint from three to five persons to perform the duties of appraisal review board commissioner. If the local administrative district judge chooses to appoint appraisal review board commissioners, each commissioner shall possess the same qualifications as those required of an appraisal review board member.

(d-3) The local administrative judge shall cause the proper officer to notify appointees to the board of their appointment, and when and where they are to appear.

(d-4) If appraisal review board commissioners are appointed under Subsection (d-2), they shall meet as directed by the local administrative district judge in order to complete their duties.

(d-5) The appraisal district of the county shall provide to the local administrative district judge, or to the appraisal review board commissioners, as the case may be, the number of appraisal review board positions that require appointment and shall provide whatever reasonable assistance is requested by the local administrative district judge or the commissioners.

(d-6) An appraisal review board commissioner is not disqualified from serving as a member of the appraisal review board.

(d-7) If appraisal review board commissioners are appointed under this section, the commissioners shall return a list of proposed appraisal review board members to the local administrative district judge at a time directed by such local administrative judge, but in no event later than January 1 of each year. Such list shall be composed of no less than five (5) names in excess of the number of appraisal review board positions to be filled by the local administrative district judge. The local administrative judge may accept the proposed names, or reject the proposed list and return the proposed list to the commissioners upon which the commissioners shall propose a revised list until the local administrative judge accepts the list.

(d-8) Any appraisal review board commissioners appointed pursuant to this section shall hold office for a term of one year beginning January 1. A commissioner may be appointed to successive terms at the discretion of the local administrative district judge.

(d-9) In selecting individuals who are to serve as members of the appraisal review board for an appraisal district described by Subsection (b-2), the local administrative district judge shall select an adequate number of qualified individuals to permit the chairman of the appraisal review board to fill the positions on each special panel established under Section 6.425.

(d-10) Upon selection of the individuals who are to serve as members of the appraisal review board, the local administrative district judge shall enter an appropriate order designating such members and setting each member’s respective term of office, as provided elsewhere in this section.

(e) Members of the board hold office for terms of two years beginning January 1. The appraisal district board of directors by resolution shall provide for staggered terms, so that the terms of as close to one-half of the members as possible expire each year. In making the initial or subsequent appointments, the local administrative district judge or the judge’s designee shall designate those members who serve terms of one year as needed to comply with this subsection.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 354 (H.B. 2941), Sec. 2

(f) A member of the board may be removed from the board by the local administrative district judge or the judge’s designee. Grounds for removal are:

(1) a violation of Section 6.412, 6.413, 41.66(f), or 41.69;

(2) good cause relating to the attendance of members at called meetings of the board as established by written policy adopted by a majority of the appraisal district board of directors; or

(3) evidence of repeated bias or misconduct.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 533 (S.B. 63), Sec. 5

(f) A member of the appraisal review board may be removed from the board by a majority vote of the appraisal district board of directors, or by the local administrative district judge or the judge’s designee, as applicable, that appointed the member. Not later than the 90th day after the date the board of directors, local administrative district judge, or judge’s designee that appointed a member of the appraisal review board learns of a potential ground for removal of the member, the board of directors, local administrative district judge, or judge’s designee, as applicable, shall remove the member or find by official action that the member’s removal is not warranted. Grounds for removal are:

(1) a violation of Section 6.412, 6.413, 41.66(f), or 41.69;

(2) good cause relating to the attendance of members at called meetings of the board as established by written policy adopted by a majority of the appraisal district board of directors; or

(3) evidence of repeated bias or misconduct.

(g) Subsection (a) does not preclude the boards of directors of two or more adjoining appraisal districts from providing for the operation of a consolidated appraisal review board by interlocal contract. Members of a consolidated appraisal review board are appointed jointly by the local administrative district judges in the counties in which the appraisal districts that are parties to the contract are established.

(h) When adjoining appraisal districts by interlocal contract have provided for the operation of a consolidated appraisal review board:

(1) a reference in this or another section of this code to the appraisal district means the adjoining appraisal districts;

(2) a reference in this or another section of this code to the appraisal district board of directors means the boards of directors of the adjoining appraisal districts;

(3) a provision of this code that applies to an appraisal review board also applies to the consolidated appraisal review board; and

(4) a reference in this code to the appraisal review board shall be construed to also refer to the consolidated appraisal review board.

(i) A chief appraiser or another employee or agent of the appraisal district, a member of the appraisal review board for the appraisal district, a member of the board of directors of the appraisal district, a property tax consultant, or an agent of a property owner commits an offense if the person communicates with the local administrative district judge regarding the appointment of appraisal review board members. This subsection does not apply to:

(1) a communication between a member of the appraisal review board and the local administrative district judge regarding the member’s reappointment to the board;

(2) a communication between the taxpayer liaison officer for the appraisal district and the local administrative district judge in the course of the performance of the officer’s clerical duties so long as the officer does not offer an opinion or comment regarding the appointment of appraisal review board members;

(3) a communication between a chief appraiser or another employee or agent of the appraisal district, a member of the appraisal review board for the appraisal district, or a member of the board of directors of the appraisal district and the local administrative district judge regarding information relating to or described by Subsection (d-1), (d-5), or (f) of this section or Section 411.1296, Government Code;

(4) a communication between a property tax consultant or a property owner or an agent of the property owner and the taxpayer liaison officer for the appraisal district regarding information relating to or described by Subsection (f). The taxpayer liaison officer for the appraisal district shall report the contents of the communication relating to or described by Subsection (f) to the local administrative district judge; or

(5) a communication between a property tax consultant or a property owner or an agent of the property owner and the local administrative district judge regarding information relating to or described by Subsection (f).

(j) A chief appraiser or another employee or agent of an appraisal district commits an offense if the person communicates with a member of the appraisal review board for the appraisal district, a member of the board of directors of the appraisal district, or the local administrative district judge regarding a ranking, scoring, or reporting of the percentage by which the appraisal review board or a panel of the board reduces the appraised value of property.

(k) An offense under Subsection (i) or (j) is a Class A misdemeanor.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2231, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 127, ch. 13, Sec. 29, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 796, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 597, Sec. 107, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 6, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 154, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 299, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1039, Sec. 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 639, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 354, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1430, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 408, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 970 (H.B. 3611), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2010.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1267 (H.B. 1030), Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2010.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1163 (H.B. 2702), Sec. 112, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1259 (H.B. 585), Sec. 8, eff. January 1, 2014.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1204 (S.B. 1468), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 802 (H.B. 2179), Sec. 1, eff. June 10, 2019.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 944 (S.B. 2), Sec. 20, eff. September 1, 2020.

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 354 (H.B. 2941), Sec. 2, eff. June 7, 2021.

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 533 (S.B. 63), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2021.

 

Cross References:
Appraisal district board of directors, see Sec. 6.03.
Auxiliary board members in certain counties, see Sec. 6.411.
Hearing procedures, see Sec. 41.66(g).
Eligibility restrictions on board members, see Sec. 6.412.
Interest in certain contracts prohibited, see Sec. 6.413.
Temporary review board member to replace one for communicating outside of a hearing, see Sec. 41.66(g).
Meetings, organization, and compensation of appraisal review board, see Sec. 6.42.

Notes:
An individual who serves as legal counsel to an appraisal district is not eligible to be appointed to the ARB. Ineligibility of an ARB member does not affect actions by the board during the member’s tenure. Property Tax Code Section 6.412, as amended by the Texas Legislature, did not contain a “grandfather clause” and was applicable to all members of an ARB on the effective date of the amendment. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JC-192 (2000).

Appraisal review board members in counties with populations exceeding 300,000 may not have served as former members of a governing body, former officer, or former employee of any taxing unit. For counties with 300,000 population or less, appraisal review board members may not be former members of the governing body, former officer, or former employee of a taxing unit for which the appraisal district appraises property. Former directors, officers, or employees of the appraisal district may not serve as appraisal review board members in any size county. To be considered a taxing unit, the political subdivision must have been, at the time the appointee served it, authorized to impose and was imposing property taxes. It does not matter that the taxing unit ceased to impose taxes after the appointee’s tenure or ceased to exist. To be considered officers or employees, the term “officers” is based on whether any sovereign function of the government is conferred upon the individual to be exercised by him or her for the benefit of the public largely independent of the control of others. “Employees” hold positions that are subject to the control of others and all are compensated, both of which are characteristics of employment. Employees encompass any persons who are appointed to serve the government under a contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, where the employer has the power or right to control and direct the employees in the material details of how the work is to be performed and the employees are compensated for their work. Specific positions include part-time instructor of a community college that is a taxing unit; alternate election judge or clerk for a taxing unit; substitute teacher for a school district; summer employee of a municipal park and recreation program; former city driver education teacher; and a retired taxing unit employee. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. DM-462 (1997). (In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature amended Sections 6.41 and 6.412 addressing the appointment of review board members and any former employment.)

An appraisal review board member may serve as an alternate election judge in an election of a municipality when the election-judge appointment is limited to a single election. Tex. Att’y Gen. LO-96-081 (1996).

The doctrine of incompatibility prevents a member of an appraisal review board from serving concurrently as a member of a board of regents of a junior college where the college district’s boundaries overlap with the appraisal district’s boundaries. Service on both boards is incompatible because an ARB member decides issues affecting the appraised value of property on which the junior college collects taxes. Tex. Att’y Gen. LO-93-74 (1993).
These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller counties including:

  • Collin County
  • Brazoria County
  • Waller County
  • Dallas County
  • Bexar County
  • Tarrant County
  • Denton County
  • Hays County
  • Bee County
  • Chambers County
  • Palo Pinto County
  • Gregg County
  • Calhoun County
  • Deaf Smith County
  • Wharton County
  • Cooke County
  • Panola County

The Texas Property Tax Code applies to all property types in Texas including:

  • Land
  • Cold storage facility
  • Auto service garage
  • Medical office
  • Apartments
  • Regional mall
  • Multifamily
  • Shopping mall
  • Discount store
  • Hotel

O’Connor & Associates offers property tax services to all property owners of all land uses across Texas.

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