taxesProperty Tax Assistance

2019 Court Decisions and AG Opinions

Listed below are 2019 decisions and opinions concerning various property tax issues. The list does not include all opinions and decisions concerning property tax. The summaries are provided by the Comptroller's office as a public service intended solely as an informational resource. The summaries are not intended as substitutes for or interpretations of the opinions and decisions summarized and should not be relied upon as such. The information provided neither constitutes nor serves as a substitute for legal advice. Questions regarding the meaning or interpretation of any information included or referenced herein should, as appropriate or necessary, be directed to an attorney or other appropriate counsel.

Attorney General Opinions

Opinion No. KP-0238

Opinion No. KP-0238 (PDF)
(Feb. 22, 2019)

Re: Application of Government Code section 573.062, the nepotism continuous-employment exception, to a tax assessor-collector's sister-in-law (RQ-0243-KP) (PDF)

The Attorney General set forth the following conclusion in his summary:

Section 573.041 of the Government Code prohibits a public official from employing a person who is related to the public official by the specified degree of consanguinity or affinity. Section 573.062 excepts persons employed in a position for a specified continuous period of time prior to a relative's election or appointment to public office. To the extent the tax office employs the sister-in-law in her current position for one year prior to the appointment of her relative as county tax assessor-collector, the sister-in-law's service satisfies the requirements under section 573.062 and her continued employment does not violate chapter 573 of the Government Code.

Opinion No. KP-0239

Opinion No. KP-0239 (PDF)
(Feb. 22, 2019)

Re: Authority of a county to refund penalties and interest paid by taxpayers in certain circumstances (RQ-0244-KP) (PDF)

The Attorney General set forth the following conclusion in his summary:

Subsections 33.01 l(a)(l), (a)(3), and (d) of the Tax Code permit a taxing unit under some circumstances to waive penalties and interest charged on delinquent taxes based on an act or omission of the taxing unit, or a formerly-correct address for payment, if certain requirements are met and the taxing unit receives a timely submitted written request for the waiver.

To the extent Hood County failed to mail a tax bill despite the County's possession of the taxpayer's mailing address, a court could conclude that the taxes are not yet delinquent, in which case the statutory deadline in subsection 33.01 l(d) for submitting the waiver request has not passed. To the extent Hood County mailed the tax bills in question such that a waiver of penalties and interest under section 33.011 is foreclosed, article III, subsection 52(a) of the Texas Constitution likely precludes the County from reimbursing taxpayers from its general fund for the amount of the penalties and interest.

Opinion No. KP-0254

Opinion No. KP-0254 (PDF)
(May 28, 2019)

Re: Availability of civil remedies for violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act (RQ-0285-KP)

The Attorney General set forth the following conclusion in his summary:

If a quorum of a governmental body deliberates about public business within the jurisdiction of the body outside of a meeting authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, through multiple communications each involving fewer than a quorum, the governmental body violates the Act.

Action taken by a governmental body in violation of the Act is voidable. In addition, any interested person may bring an action by mandamus or injunction to stop, prevent, or reverse a violation or threatened violation of the Act by members of a governmental body.

If the Texas Education Agency conducts an investigation as authorized by section 39.057 of the Education Code and concludes that members of a school district board of trustees violated their duty to comply with the Act, it could take appropriate civil action authorized by subsection 39.057(d) of the Education Code.

Opinion No. KP-0257

Opinion No. KP-0257 (PDF)
(June 14, 2019)

Re: Whether a private attorney or collection agency that contracts with a county to collect delinquent amounts owed to county courts may charge defendants a fee for the use of credit cards (RQ-0261-KP)

The Attorney General set forth the following conclusion in his summary:

Section 604A.0021 of the Business and Commerce Code prohibits imposing a surcharge for the use of a credit card in certain instances. Although a recent judicial decision held section 604A.0021 unconstitutional as applied to specific facts, it remains enforceable in some contexts. But it does not apply to a county imposing a surcharge on a payee using a credit card for the payment of money owed to the county.

Section 103.0031 of the Code of Criminal Procedure authorizes a county to contract with a private attorney or a public or private vendor for the provision of collection services for fees. If a county is entitled to impose a surcharge fee for credit card use, a court would likely conclude that a private attorney or collections agency acting as agent for the county could collect that surcharge on behalf of the county when collecting other fees, taxes, or other charges.