Qualifications, Appointment, and Compensation
Who can serve?
To serve on the ARB, you must have lived in the appraisal district for at least two years before taking office. You don’t need any special qualifications, but you may not serve on the board if you are:
If you reside in an appraisal district serving a county with a population of more than 100,000, you have additional restrictions for service as an ARB member. You may not serve as an ARB member:
- a current appraisal district director,
- a current employee or chief appraiser of the appraisal district,
- a current board member, employee, or officer of a taxing unit served by the appraisal district, or
- a current employee or officer of the Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- if you were a former appraisal district director,
- if you were a former employee or former officer of the appraisal district,
- if you ever appeared before the ARB for compensation, or
- until the fourth anniversary of the date you ceased to serve as a member or officer of a taxing unit for which the appraisal district appraises property.
In all counties, you also may not serve as an ARB member if you are closely related to a person who operates for compensation as a tax agent or is in the business of appraising property for property tax purposes in the appraisal district. Relatives barred are those within the second degree by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage). If you knowingly violate this provision, you commit a Class B misdemeanor. Appendix Y lists these relatives.
The law also bars you from ARB service members if you have a contract with the appraisal district or with a taxing unit in the appraisal district. The bar applies if you or a business entity in which you have a substantial interest contracts with the appraisal district or a taxing unit that participates in the appraisal district. Likewise, the same taxing units and the appraisal district are each prohibited from contracting with an ARB member or a business entity in which an ARB member has a substantial interest. Substantial interest is defined as either:
- combined ownership by the member or the member’s spouse of at least 10 percent of the voting stock or shares of the business, or
- service by the member or the member’s spouse as a partner, limited partner, or officer in the business entity.
The Tax Code also disqualifies a person from serving on an ARB if the person owns property on which delinquent property taxes have been owed for more than 60 days, after the date the person knew or should have known of the delinquency. This restriction does not apply if the person is paying the delinquent taxes under an installment payment agreement or has deferred or abated a suit to collect delinquent taxes.
You also may not serve if you hold some other paid public office. The Texas Constitution does not allow a person to hold more than one paid public office.
Finally, although you may serve as an ARB member, you may not participate in any hearings until you have completed an ARB training course authorized by the Comptroller of Public Accounts. The Comptroller will issue you a certificate indicating that you have completed the required training. If you are appointed to the ARB after the Comptroller has offered ARB training courses for that year, you may continue to serve and participate in hearings as long as you complete the next Comptroller training course offered.
ARB terms and size
Members serve two-year staggered terms; approximately half the members’ terms expire each year. Terms begin January 1.
The appraisal district directors appoint ARB members by majority vote and record their decision in a resolution. They appoint between three to nine members in counties with less than 250,000 inhabitants. In counties with a population of at least 250,000 to 500,000, the number of ARB members may not be more than 40 members. In counties with a population of at least 500,000, the number of ARB members may not be more than 75 members.
Terms are limited based on the size of the population in the county served by the appraisal district. A person in an appraisal district serving a county with a population of more than 100,000 may not serve more than all or part of three terms on the ARB. After completing the third term, the person may never serve on the ARB again.
This three-year term limit includes appointments as either a regular ARB member or as a former auxiliary and/or temporary ARB member (discussed next).
In any other appraisal district, a person may not serve more than all or part of three consecutive terms on the ARB. Persons who have served three consecutive terms are only ineligible for ARB membership during the term that starts on the next January 1 following the third of those terms. In other words, the ex-member must sit out at least one full ARB term to be eligible to serve again. After that time, the board of directors may reappoint the person. This term limit includes appointment as either a regular ARB member or an auxiliary ARB member (discussed next).
County population for determining the length of ARB terms is based on the 2000 federal census.
The Tax Code provides that appraisal district directors may appoint temporary ARB members. Effective January 1, 2002, the Texas Legislature repealed Tax Code Section 6.411 concerning the appointment and duties of auxiliary ARB members. With the increased number of regular ARB members available for appointment, the Legislature discontinued auxiliary ARB members.
The law requires temporary ARB members in one specific situation. The directors must adopt and put into action a policy for temporarily replacing an ARB member who cannot sign the ex parte affidavit. These temporary ARB members may not be used for any purpose other than replacing a removed member. The Tax Code does not set a number of temporary ARB members that the appraisal district board may appoint.
The board of directors should develop a temporary replacement policy to fit the ARB’s needs. For example, if the ARB has enough members to place one on a panel needing a temporary member, the board of directors may choose to use current members as temporary panel replacements. On the other hand, a board of directors may prefer to designate a number of eligible individuals to serve as temporary replacements for removed members.
When developing its policy, the board of directors should remember that a temporary replacement:
- is an ARB member;
- must meet all ARB member eligibility requirements;
- must take the oath of office and sign the required statement before serving on the board; and
- should be appointed for a term of the same length as regular ARB members.
However, temporary members may not serve on the ARB in any other capacity. Specifically, a temporary member serves only when a regular member cannot sign the affidavit and has been removed from a hearing.
The term limitation that applies to ARB members also applies to temporary ARB members. The time that an individual serves as a temporary ARB member counts toward the regular term limitation. Temporary ARB members also must complete the Comptroller training course, discussed earlier.
ARB appointment veto
Taxing units that vote for appraisal district directors may veto the appointment of an ARB member. To do so, a majority of the voting taxing units (county, schools, cities, and conservation and reclamation districts in some cases) must pass a veto resolution within 15 days after the appraisal district board appoints the member.
ARB member removal
Under certain circumstances, appraisal district directors may remove ARB members by majority vote. Property Tax Code Section 6.41 requires the appraisal district board of directors to adopt a specific procedure for the removal of ARB members. The directors may remove an ARB member for violating Section 6.412 (ARB member’s relative is an appraiser or tax agent appearing before the ARB) or Section 6.413 (ARB member related to someone with a substantial interest in an appraisal district or taxing unit contract). Appendix Y lists the relatives barred under Sections 6.412 and 6.413.
The directors may remove an ARB member for failing to attend ARB meetings as established by the appraisal district board policy. The appraisal district directors must include in their written policy the number of meetings an ARB member may fail to attend before the directors have grounds for removing the ARB member.
The directors may remove an ARB member for violating Section 41.66 (communicating about a protest outside of the hearing) or for participating in a hearing when the ARB member has a conflict of interest or is related to a party of the hearing.
Generally, an ARB may reside in any office it chooses, limited only by its budgetary constraints. Most ARBs meet at the appraisal district office.
Pay for ARB members
ARB members are generally paid by the day and reimbursed for expenses. The appraisal district directors set the amount of payment in the budget. However, some appraisal districts do not budget to reimburse ARB members for their expenses.
Oath of office
Newly appointed and reappointed ARB members must sign a notarized statement and take an oath of office before beginning a term. January 1 of the year in which the term begins is the earliest date the oath may be administered. ARB members must be properly sworn before taking any official action.
ARB members must take two separate steps. First, the ARB member must sign the following statement before a notary public and file it with the appraisal district office before taking the oath of office:
Effective November 30, 2001, appraisal districts retain the notarized statement. They no longer send them to the Secretary of State in Austin, Texas. The Secretary of State’s Statutory Documents Division has this form available at: www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/statforms.shtml#auf (form #2201).
Once the ARB member has signed the statement, the member may take the oath of office. The oath of office reads as follows:
This is Form #2204 on the Secretary of State’s Web page.
The ARB member must take and sign the oath before a notary public, county clerk, judge, or other official authorized to administer oaths of office.