Lawmakers recently passed the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019. Also known as SB2 (Senate Bill 2), its goal is to help lift the tax burden off Texas property owners. With the bill, the Tax Code now includes improvements to the process of property tax collection and new ways of assisting property tax owners, as well as limits to some property tax hikes.

SB2 amends some details about membership into the Appraisal Review Board. Here’s what the Tax Code says now:

Appraisal Review Board membership

Normally, the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) for each appraisal district would consist of three members. But with the addition of a few subsections, the Tax Code now indicates that the size of the Appraisal Review Board may be increased.

The number of additional members to the Board depends on what the board of directors deem appropriate. There can only be additional members if the majority of the current members pass a resolution to increase the size of the Board.

Why would there be additional Appraisal Review Board members?

Only those ARBs in districts established in counties with populations of one million or more can appoint additional members.

The board of directors will initiate a resolution to add more members to the Board and determine the number of additional members needed. The number of additional members will depend on the Board’s capability to handle its duties and the duties of the special panels established in Section 6.425 of the Tax Code.

How are additional ARB members chosen?

If the majority of the current members agree with the expansion of the Board, the local administrative district judge will start the selection of additional members. The judge will choose an “adequate number” of individuals to allow the ARB chairman to fill all the positions for every special panel.

After the additional members of the ARB have been chosen, the local administrative district judge will set each new member’s term of office.

How are Appraisal Review Board members chosen?

The Tax Code says that to be eligible as a member of the Appraisal Review Board, a person must be a resident of the district and must have lived there for at least two years. When there is a vacancy on the board, a new member is appointed by resolution of a majority of the board of directors.

In counties with populations of at least 120,000, the local administrative district judge appoints the members of the Appraisal Review Board. The judge goes over all the applications submitted to the ARB or the appraisal district. The appraisal district may provide tax information about each applicant to assist the judge in the appointment process.

It is the responsibility of the appraisal district to inform the ARB members or the local administrative district judge of the number of Board positions that need to be filled. It must also assist in the appointment process at the request of the judge or the commissioners.

A local administrative district judge who is appointing members of the Appraisal Review Board may do so directly or may appoint from three to five individuals to perform the duties of an ARB commissioner. An individual appointed as an ARB commissioner must have the same qualifications as those required of a Board member. An individual who has been appointed Board commissioner can still serve as a member of the Appraisal Review Board.

Appraisal Review Board members have a term of two years. Their terms begin on January 1 and are staggered so that the terms of about half of the members expire each year. An ARB commissioner may serve successive terms at the local administrative district judge’s discretion.

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