Appraisal Review BoardsARBs Face New Laws on Qualifications and Procedures
During its 2001 legislative session, the 77th Texas Legislature changed membership for the appraisal review board (ARB) and clarified other laws dealing with ARB procedures.
The Comptroller’s Property Tax Division (PTD) will include these new laws in its ARB training seminars scheduled for March and April. The Comptroller’s Appraisal Review Board Manual will be updated to include these amendments.
Property Tax Code Section 6.41(b) now allows ARBs in counties with a population of at least 250,000 to have not more than 40 members. In counties with a population of at least 500,000, the ARB may not exceed 75 members. Senate Bill (S. B.) 650 repealed provisions limiting counties with a population of at least one million to 30 members and counties with a population of at least 1,500,000 to 45 members.
Counties with a population of less than 250,000 remains the same, with an ARB of between three to nine members.
S.B. 650 also repealed Section 6.411 concerning the appointment and duties of auxiliary ARB members.
The Legislature also provided in Section 6.41(f)(1) two additional grounds for a county appraisal district (CAD) board to remove an ARB member. The CAD board may remove an ARB member for taking part in ex parte communications prohibited by Tax Code Section 41.66. A CAD board also may remove an ARB member for participating in an ARB determination in which the ARB member had a conflict of interest or was related to a party in an ARB determination.
The Legislature amended Section 6.412(a) to disqualify 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.
In appointing ARB members, CAD directors should ask about any delinquent taxes on any property in Texas.
The Legislature also addressed some protest procedures.
Tax Code Section 25.195 now allows property owners (and agents) whose property is appraised by private appraisal firms, under contract with appraisal districts, to inspect and copy appraisal firm information used or considered in the owner’s appraisal at the appraisal firms’ offices.
The appraisal firm must make the information available for inspection and copying not later than the 15th day after delivery of a written request to inspect the information. The information request does not include information made confidential under Tax Code Section 22.27.
If denied the information, the owner or agent may take the denial to the ARB for the ARB to conduct a special hearing. Failure by the appraisal firm to provide the requested information may result in an ARB decision not to approve the appraisal records relating to the property until the requested information is made available.
The Attorney General of Texas has issued a recent ruling on this law change (Opinion No. JC-0424).
Many times an ARB or chief appraiser must look at correcting an appraisal roll as provided by Tax Code Section 25.25. The Legislature clarified some areas in this section.
Section 25.25(o) now states that the failure or refusal of a chief appraiser to make a clerical error change to an appraisal roll under Section 25.25(b) is not subject to an ARB action or a taxpayer lawsuit.
Section 25.25(c) provides that an ARB change may be made for any of the five preceding years for clerical errors affecting an owner’s tax liability, for multiple appraisals, or for inclusion of property that does not exist in the form or at the location described in the appraisal roll. The old language was “at any time before the end of five years after January 1 of a tax year.” This change adds an additional year that the ARB may order the change.
Finally, Section 25.25(d) is clarified to state when a property has been the subject of an ARB protest. An ARB is prohibited from issuing a requested appraisal roll correction under Section 25.25(d) if: (1) the owner’s property was the subject of an ARB hearing in which the owner appeared and offered evidence or argument and the ARB made a determination on the merits or (2) the appraised value was the result of a written agreement between the owner (or agent) and the appraisal district. Prior law prohibited a change if the property was merely subject of an ARB protest.
For more information about these new law, please e-mail questions to PTD’s technical assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Appraisal Review Board Manual 2001 is available at the Local Property Taxes Web site at the Comptroller’s Web page http://www.window.state.tx.us. Or, call the PTD’s technical assistance hotline at 1-800-252-9121. In Austin, call (512) 305-9999. The 2002 edition will be added when ready.