Ronnie Thomas, chair of the Harris County Appraisal Review Board, discusses the roles and functions of the ARB. The Appraisal Review Board is comprised of Harris County residents who are appointed by a local administrative judge after an extensive application process. Dr. Thomas also discusses the separation between the appraisal district and the ARB, as well as her commitment to treating all property owners with fairness and courtesy. (3:29 mins.)
Hello. I'm Ronnie Thomas, chair of the Harris County Appraisal Review Board. I want to give you some insight into the review board's role in the property tax system.
The Appraisal Review Board or more simply, the ARB, has a function separate from the Harris County Appraisal District. In fact, the ARB is a completely independent and separate entity.
The primary role of the ARB is to resolve disputes between property owners and the appraisal district. These disputes relate to protests of property values, exemptions and other current year matters and to errors in previous years' appraisal rolls. Protests of property value are the most common types of case we handle.
If a protest is filed, unless it is withdrawn or settled, the case must be set for a hearing by the ARB. In the hearing, a property owner presents evidence before a three-member ARB panel. The appraisal district also presents its evidence during the hearing. The ARB panel will then make a determination of the issues protested. That decision must be approved before the full ARB before it becomes final.
The ARB members are required to maintain a truly unbiased approach to each property under protest. Communication between ARB members and the chief appraiser or appraisal district employees is strictly controlled. In fact, ARB members are prohibited from discussing a property owner protest with anyone outside the hearing.
The ARB Chairman is appointed from among the ARB members by the appraisal district's board of directors. The ARB members are appointed by the Harris County administrative district judge for the state district courts. ARB members must meet specific requirements and must live in Harris County for at least two years before serving. Before their appointment, applicants go through a thorough background check and interview process. The ARB members serve two-year terms with a three-term limit.
The ARB does not have any role in the appraisal of property or appraisal district operations. The ARB only has authority over protests submitted to them. Our primary function is to assist in resolving property owner protests. We must comply with the provisions of the Texas Property Tax Code and state statutes in determining protest outcomes.
We understand that the process can be intimidating, and that for some, this is their first time appearing in front of a government body. We work hard to make sure that ARB decisions are fair and impartial. We are committed to professionalism and will treat you with respect.
There will be times when a property owner may not get the result they want through the hearing process. However, as the ARB Chairman, I am committed to ensuring that you are treated with fairness and courtesy at all times.
If you have questions about the ARB or the formal hearing process, please visit www.hcad.org. Thanks for watching.