When the Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Property Tax Code, they realized the need to have an administrative remedy, outside of district court, for property owners to address concerns relating to the appraisal district’s determination of market values. The answer was the establishment of Appraisal Review Boards (ARB). The ARB is an independent, impartial group of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district.
For cost savings purposes the ARB meets at the Appraisal District office; however, it is not controlled by the appraisal district and is a separate authoritative body. The ARB has no role in the day-to-day operations of the appraisal office or in appraising the property. The ARB only has authority over protests submitted to it. Only in resolving taxpayer protests can the ARB make changes or set a value on its own. Such a change only affects the property in question and decisions are binding only for the year in question.
The ARB sits in panels of three to hear testimony and review evidence to determine property owner protests which cannot be resolved informally with the Travis Central Appraisal District. It must base its decisions on facts it hears from the property owner and from the appraisal district to decide whether the appraisal district acted appropriately in determining the value of property.
While this is a broad and significant responsibility, the ARB must be sensitive to its legal and practical limits while adhering to the Texas Property Tax Code and laws of this state. ARB members cannot discuss your case with anyone outside of the hearing; however, protest hearings are open to the public, and anyone can sit in and listen to the case.
ARB members are appointed by the Local Administrative District Judge for two-year terms. At the end of their term, an ARB member may reapply for another period of two years for a total of three consecutive two-year terms. To qualify for service on the ARB, an individual must be a resident of the Travis County for at least two years before taking office. No employees or officers of the Appraisal District or the taxing units it serves may sit on the ARB. Any person who is a former member of the governing body or officer or employee of a taxing unit, or is a former director, officer, or employee of the Appraisal District is ineligible to serve. Also, the person’s close relatives cannot work as professional tax agents or tax appraisers within the Appraisal District. ARB members also must comply with a particular conflict of interest laws.
ARB members tend to be individuals with excellent analytical and people skills needed to evaluate and make determinations based upon the evidence presented by the property owner and the appraisal district. An unexpected benefit from being an ARB member is the opportunity to meet and work with such a wide variety of interesting people who want the make a contribution to our community.