District Judge Robert K. Schaffer, administrative judge for the state district courts in Harris County, is instructing citizens to send applications for Appraisal Review Board (ARB) service directly to him through the Harris County Appraisal District human resources division.
A solicitation for ARB service was sent to REALTORS® by a large property tax consultant encouraging applicants to submit their applications to them.
“All applications for ARB positions must be made directly by the applicant through HCAD,” said Judge Schaffer. “It has come to my attention that third parties are soliciting applicants for ARB positions. I will not accept applications submitted by third parties on behalf of applicants for ARB positions. To be clear, there are no third parties authorized to accept or submit applications for ARB service.”
The ARB was created by the Texas Legislature to provide an independent judicial review of taxpayer protests of valuations established by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD). Applications must be submitted to Judge Schaffer through the HCAD human resources division and received no later than October 14, 2016, in order to be considered. Service on the ARB would begin in January 2017.
The ARB is a citizen board that sits in panels of three to hear testimony and review evidence in order to determine property owner protests which cannot be resolved informally with HCAD.
Roland Altinger, HCAD’s chief appraiser, said the tax consultant’s email is misleading the public because it says they will submit the application “for consideration by the Harris County Central Appraisal District on your behalf.”
“The appraisal district is not connected with the ARB nor does the district have any say in the ARB selection process,” Altinger said. “In addition, the application requires specific private and confidential information that should not be given to a third party. The Texas Senate Select Committee On Property Tax Reform and Relief has focused attention on transparency in the system throughout the state, so I do not think it is acceptable for a tax agent to solicit members of an independent board that hears and decides on tax protests.”
More information, along with qualification for service and the application, are available at www.hcad.org. Only current application forms from this site will be considered.
Application forms may also be obtained by calling the ARB executive office at 713.957.5265. If that number is busy, call the office of the Taxpayer Liaison Officer as a backup contact at 713.957.7499.
Calls requesting information on ARB service requirements should go to 713.957.5265.
Applications should be submitted to:
Judge Robert K. Schaffer
c/o HCAD Human Resources
P.O. Box 920975
Houston, Texas 77292-0975