The Arizona Property Tax Oversight Commission (Commission) was created in 1987 to monitor the application of property tax laws by political subdivisions. Statutory authority is found at ARS §§ 42-17001 et seq.
The Commission monitors the property tax valuations and calculations of every taxing jurisdiction. It also monitors compliance with the tax levy limit for each jurisdiction and compliance with truth-in-taxation requirements. If a violation is identified, the Commission informs the jurisdiction in writing and the steps the jurisdiction must take to remedy the violation. The jurisdiction may request a hearing in front of the Commission to resolve any dispute. The Commission is required to meet a least annually and may also conduct hearings upon request of a jurisdiction regarding the determination of the jurisdiction’s property tax levy limit. The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) staffs the Commission.
Prior to the creation of the Commission, the power to oversee the levy of property taxes was vested with the State Tax Commission, and subsequently with ADOR. In 1987, the Property Tax Oversight Commission was created to “further public confidence in tax limitations,” to “provide a uniform methodology for determining those limitations,” and to “provide a continuing review of practices for ensuring a fair and equitable administration of the property tax laws.”
Laws 1987, Chapter 204 established the three-member Property Tax Oversight Commission, chaired by the Director of ADOR. Two members were appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate, respectively. The law required the governing bodies of taxing jurisdictions to transmit to the Commission all of the information necessary to calculate the property tax levy limit. The Commission was responsible for reviewing the budgets of all counties, cities, towns, and community college districts to verify property tax information was included, as required by statute. The Commission was also responsible for reviewing taxing jurisdictions’ primary property tax levy, and other issues regarding compliance with state law regulating property taxes.
Laws 1989, Chapter 11 addressed levy amounts, levy limit worksheets, use of excessive levy monies and added a procedure for correcting errors in its calculation of the levy limit. It increased the size of the Commission to five, with the director of the ADOR serving as chairman, one member appointed by the Governor, and three members appointed jointly by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Laws 1997, Chapter 150 recodified the Arizona tax code, which resulted in significant renumbering of ARS Title 42.
Laws 2001, Chapter 267 modified property tax statutes based on recommendations of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Administrative Property Tax Appeals. The measure allowed a taxing jurisdiction to request a hearing regarding the calculation of the maximum allowable limit. Prior to this change, a taxing jurisdiction was only entitled to a hearing if it was found to be in violation of the maximum limit. The Commission was also required to notify the taxing jurisdiction within five days of finding a violation.
The 2001 measure also established the 15-member Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Property Tax Assessment and Appeals to monitor and evaluate the system of assessment and appeals of property tax assessments established by statute. This joint committee was originally established in 1994 with a slightly different membership. The joint committee is reestablished in statute with a repeal date of January 1, 2008.
Laws 2009, Chapter 118 extended the Commission’s authority to fire districts and required fire districts to submit their calculation of the secondary property tax levy to the Commission for review.
Laws 2014, Chapter 209 required the school superintendent of each county to calculate the amount of property tax to be levied for the schools, and submit the calculation to the Commission for review.
Laws 2015, Chapter 221 required the Commission to review the secondary property tax levy of each city, town, county, and community college district with regard to constitutional and statutory requirements.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 42-17001 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1921, Chapter 52
- Laws 1987, Chapter 204
- Laws 1989, Chapter 11
- Laws 1997, Chapter 150
- Laws 2001, Chapter 267
- Laws 2009, Chapter 118
- Laws 2014, Chapter 209
- Laws 2015, Chapter 221
Arizona Property Tax Commission: Committee of Reference Report: House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Committee on Finance. Sunset review final report.
December 14, 2006. http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/digital/collection/statepubs/id/9495/rec/2
Property Tax Commission: Sunset Review of the Property Tax Oversight Commission: Senate Finance and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee of Reference.
November 8, 2016. http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/digital/collection/statepubs/id/29859/
- Related Collections at Arizona State Archives:
- Record Group 80 – State Tax Commission
- Record Group 169 – Department of Revenue