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Property Tax Board 6.41

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 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 consistent 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 the adequately process 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) The board consists of three members. However, the district board of directors by resolution of a majority of its members may increase the size of the appraisal review board to the number of members the board of directors considers appropriate.

(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 resolution of a majority of the appraisal district board of directors. A vacancy on the board is filled in the same manner for the unexpired portion of the term.

(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 board of directors shall designate those members who serve terms of one year as needed to comply with this subsection.

(f) A member of the board may be removed from the board by a majority vote of the appraisal district board of directors. Grounds for removal are:

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

(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.

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

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

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