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Property Tax Personnel 6.43

Property Tax Personnel 6.43

Appraisal Review Board May Use Clerical Staff from Appraisal District. This Causes Problems with ARB Thinking They Should Side with Appraisal District.

 

Section 6.43 – Personnel

Current practice at most (if not all) Texas appraisal districts is for appraisal district staff to schedule, coordinate and administer appraisal review board hearings. Based on sections 41.45, 41.46 and 41.47 of the Texas Property Tax Code, these tasks are the responsibility of the appraisal review board.

The subject section provides “the appraisal review board…may use the staff of the appraisal office for clerical assistance.” Appraisal districts have interpreted this section to include tasks that include professional judgment instead of simple clerical tasks.

This causes multiple types of problems such as appraisal districts “no show” protests (even though the owner had a representative at the appraisal district available to do the hearing), an excessive number of hearings scheduled and cherry-pick appraisal review board panels.

Appraisal districts sometimes “no show” (dismiss the property tax protest) as the result of a clerical order or to deny property tax owners an appraisal review hearing. Some appraisal districts grossly over-schedule property tax appeals hearings. For example, it is not unusual for Dallas County Appraisal District to schedule more than 500 hearings for one day. They then demand the owner (or property tax consultant) appear daily to attend hearings until it is not convenient for the appraisal district. At many large appraisal districts, numerous appraisal review board panels have property tax protest hearings daily. Some appraisal review board members are more sympathetic to property owners and some are more sympathetic to the appraisal district. By cherry-picking the ARB panels, the appraisal district is able to inappropriately influence property tax hearing results.

Appraisal review boards should assume the responsibility for scheduling and administering hearings to insure a lawful, fair and orderly property tax appeal process.

Sec. 6.43. Personnel.

(a) The appraisal review board may employ legal counsel as provided by the district budget or use the services of the county attorney.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an attorney may not serve as legal counsel for the appraisal review board if the attorney or a member of the attorney’s law firm has during the year before the date of the appraisal review board’s hiring of the attorney represented a property owner who owns property in the appraisal district, a taxing unit that participates in the appraisal district, or the appraisal district in a matter addressed by Section 1.111 or 25.25 of this code, Subtitle F of this title, or Subchapter Z, Chapter 2003, Government Code.

(c) The county attorney for the county in which the appraisal district is established may provide legal services to the appraisal review board notwithstanding that the county attorney or an assistant to the county attorney represents or has represented the appraisal district or a taxing unit that participates in the appraisal district in any matter.

(d) An attorney who serves as legal counsel for an appraisal review board may not act as an advocate in a hearing or proceeding conducted by the board. The attorney may provide advice to the board or a panel of the board during a hearing or proceeding and shall disclose to the board all legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the attorney to be relevant to the matter and not disclosed by the parties. The attorney shall disclose to the board a material fact that may assist the board or panel in making an informed decision regardless of whether the fact is adverse to the position of a party.

(e) An appraisal district may specify in its budget whether the appraisal review board may employ legal counsel or must use the services of the county attorney. If the budget authorizes the board to employ legal counsel, the budget must provide for reasonable compensation to be paid to the attorney serving as legal counsel. An appraisal district may not require the board to employ a specific attorney as legal counsel.

(f) The appraisal office may provide clerical assistance to the appraisal review board, including assisting the board with the scheduling and arranging of hearings.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2232, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 771 (H.B. 1887), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller counties including:

  • Williamson County
  • Fort Bend County
  • Denton County
  • Brazoria County
  • Travis County
  • Dallas County
  • Tarrant County
  • Gray County
  • Victoria County
  • Webb County
  • Hunt County
  • Ector County
  • Washington County
  • Comal County
  • Wharton County
  • Hays County
  • Starr County

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

  • Bowling alley
  • Self-storage
  • Shopping mall
  • Funeral home
  • Bar
  • Student housing
  • Regional mall
  • Car wash facility
  • Hospital
  • Shopping center

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