The Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019 or SB2 (Senate Bill 2) aims to give property owners some much-needed relief from their usual tax burden. It introduces amendments that affect the way property appraisal and rate-setting are conducted. It also improves the way appraisal districts provide assistance to property taxpayers.

Among the many amendments to the Tax Code are those on the Appraisal Review Board and its members. It lays out the eligibility requirements for members, indicates the appointment process, and defines the members’ duties. It also explains what would make an individual ineligible to serve on the Appraisal Review Board.

What would make someone ineligible to serve on the ARB?

Section 6.412 of the Tax Code says that an individual cannot serve on the Appraisal Review Board if he or she:

  1. is related within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity to someone who is involved in the property appraisal business and is paid to conduct property appraisals for use in proceedings of the Appraisal Review Board
    (Note: Chapter 573 of the Government Code explains how the degree of consanguinity or affinity is determined);
  2. is related within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity to someone who is paid to represent property owners in proceedings of the Appraisal Review Board;
  3. owns property with delinquent taxes that have remained unpaid for more than 60 days after he or she was made aware of the delinquency, unless
    1. those taxes, along with any penalties and interest accrued, are being paid through an installment plan, or
    2. a suit to collect the taxes has been abated or deferred;
  4. is related within the third degree by consanguinity or within the second degree by affinity to a member of the Appraisal Review Board or the appraisal district’s board of directors;
  5. is an employee, an officer, or a member of the board of directors of the appraisal district;
  6. is an employee of the State Comptroller; and
  7. is an employee, an officer, or a member of the governing body of a taxing unit.

Important changes

The Tax Code has been amended to say that a person is ineligible to serve on the Appraisal Review Board of an appraisal district in a county with a population of more than 120,00 if he or she

  1. used to be an employee, officer, or a member of the board of directors of the appraisal district;
  2. served as an officer of a taxing unit or a member of the governing body for which the district appraises property (this applies until the fourth anniversary of the date when the person stopped being an officer or a member); and
  3. participated in an Appraisal Review Board proceeding and was compensated for doing so within the two-year period before he or she is appointed.

Before SB2, this subsection applied only to appraisal districts established in counties with a population of more than 100,000.

The Tax Code also indicates that an individual must not have served for all or part of three consecutive terms as a board member or an auxiliary board member of the Appraisal Review Board to be eligible to serve on the Appraisal Review Board.

Penalty for committing an offense under this Section

An Appraisal Review Board member commits an offense if he or she continues to hold the position despite being related within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity to someone who

  1. is involved in the property appraisal business and receives compensation to conduct property appraisals for use in proceedings of the Appraisal Review Board, or
  2. is compensated to represent property owners in proceedings of the Appraisal Review Board.

This type of offense is a Class B misdemeanor.

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