(a) The county commission shall meet as a board of assessment appeals no sooner than October 1 of the tax year, unless that day is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday in this state, in which event the board shall begin meeting on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.
(b) The board shall set a date and time for hearing each protest filed on of before February 20 of the tax year, as provided in section twenty-three-a of this article, and for which the taxpayer elected to have the matter heard by the board of assessment appeals: Provided, That the commission may, before, on or after October 1, begin developing a hearing schedule for hearings to commence on or after October 1. The board may in its discretion grant one or more continuances of the hearing date. The board shall grant a continuance when the continuance is agreed to by the assessor and the taxpayer. When the hearing involves industrial property or natural resources property appraised by the Tax Commissioner, the board shall grant continuances of hearing dates and otherwise work with the Tax Commissioner to develop a hearing schedule that recognizes the limitations of state resources and the fact that the Tax Commissioner is responsible for appraising industrial properties and natural resource properties in all fifty-five counties.
(c) Upon the timely request of any party, the board may, before, on or after October 1, develop a discovery schedule for the exchange of information between the taxpayer and the assessor and, in matters involving industrial property or natural resources property, the Tax Commissioner. Any objections to discovery may be made to the board which shall rule on such objections. Any willful failure to provide the information requested through the discovery process and required by the board may be grounds for dismissal of the appeal by the board: Provided, That the board shall provide written justification for dismissal to all parties, and: Provided further, That any dismissal may be appealed to the circuit court as provided in section twenty-five of this article.
(d) The board may assign the appeal to a hearing examiner for the taking of evidence if the hearing examiner is mutually agreed to by the parties to the appeal. The hearing examiner shall have the same authority as the board to schedule hearings and schedule and compel discovery: Provided, That, in the case of a willful failure to provide information, an appeal may be dismissed only by the board as provided in subsection (c) of this section. Hearings before a hearing examiner shall be recorded electronically. Upon the conclusion of discovery and hearings on an appeal, the hearing examiner shall make a written report of findings of fact and conclusions of law and provide the same to the board and all parties to the appeal. The board shall issue its order consistent with the report of the hearing examiner without the taking of additional evidence. The cost and expenses of the hearing examiner shall be paid by the board.
(e) The board may approve an agreement signed by the taxpayer or taxpayer's representative and the assessor, and by a representative of the Tax Commissioner when the property is industrial property or natural resource property, that resolves a valuation matter that arose while the land and personal property books were before the board of equalization and review.
(f) The board shall issue its order within a reasonable time after the record for the hearing is closed and all required briefs have been submitted.
(g) Any party to the hearing may appeal the order of the board in the manner provided in section twenty-five of this article for appealing an order of the board of equalization and review.
(h) In the event the board reduces an assessed value in an order that becomes final, the county clerk shall certify copies of the order to the Auditor, sheriff and assessor, and to the Tax Commissioner if the property is industrial property or natural resources property. The taxpayer shall be entitled to a credit voucher to be applied against future taxes as provided in this article. When endorsed by the taxpayer, the voucher shall be sufficient to entitle the sheriff to a credit for so much of his or her settlement which he or she is required to make.
(i) The board of assessment appeals shall meet as often as necessary until the work of the board is completed: Provided, That the board shall adjourn sine die not later than October 31 of the tax year unless the board, by majority vote, agrees to extend the term if necessary to afford the parties due process and to complete its work, after which it shall adjourn sine die.