taxesProperty Tax Assistance

Methods And Assistance Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Comptroller's office conduct reviews of appraisal districts and what are they called?

Tax Code Section 5.102 requires the Comptroller to review every appraisal district's governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures and appraisal standards, procedures and methodology at least once every two years.

The reviews are called Methods and Assistance Program, or MAP, reviews.

Who gets reviewed?

Each appraisal district in Texas gets a review every other year.

How often is an appraisal district reviewed?

Each appraisal district is reviewed every other year. One year we review 128 districts, and the following year we review 125 districts.

Do the appraisal districts get reviewed the same way each time?

No. Every two years the Comptroller's office adopts a new evaluation instrument.

What are the review areas?

Each appraisal district is reviewed using a set of mandatory pass/fail questions, as well as a series of yes/no questions relating to governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures and appraisal standards, procedures and methodology.

Why are the reviews published online rather than in hardcopy?

Most Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) publications are published online as a cost saving measure. Publishing the MAP reviews in hardcopy would incur thousands of dollars in publishing and shipping costs. A PDF of the report may be downloaded from PTAD's website and printed from your computer.

Where can I get a copy of the MAP review questions and the guidelines used by the reviewers?

Copies of the questions, the data requested from appraisal districts and the guidelines are posted on the MAP Web page.

Why is a preliminary report sent out to the chief appraiser and can it be released to anyone else?

The preliminary report is sent to the chief appraiser to allow him or her to understand where the appraisal district may have deficiencies. It provides the chief appraiser the opportunity to make changes between the preliminary and final reports, giving the appraisal district the opportunity to have a final report that passes in all categories and that contains no recommendations.

The preliminary report is subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act and must be released to anyone who submits a written request.

Why is an updated report showing all recommendations have been implemented after the release of the final report not posted on PTAD's website?

When all recommendations have been implemented, the Comptroller's office issues a letter to the chief appraiser and the appraisal district's board chair confirming implementation.

The Web page containing the reports is updated annually to identify which appraisal districts have implemented their recommendations. Limited resources and prohibitive costs make modifying and posting new reports impractical.

What happens if the appraisal district does not implement the MAP review recommendations?

If the appraisal district does not implement the recommendations found in the final report before the end of one year after the final report is issued, the Comptroller's office must refer those appraisal districts to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

A copy of the penalties assessed by TDLR can be found on theTDLR website.

Appraisal districts may have up to one year to implement the recommendations after referral to TDLR. TDLR becomes the MAP review contact for the appraisal district once the referral has been made by the Comptroller's office.

What is governance for purposes of the review?

Governance concerns the oversight and management of the appraisal district. Certain duties are assigned to the board of directors by statute. Other duties assigned by statute or by the board of directors are assigned to the chief appraiser. Both the board of directors and the chief appraiser work separately and in conjunction with each other to govern the duties of the appraisal district.

What is taxpayer assistance for purposes of the review?

Taxpayer assistance means keeping property owners and their agents, as appropriate, aware of what they need to know, according to the Tax Code and Comptroller Rules, and as outlined in the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) Standard on Public Relations. Property owners have an expectation of receiving effective and efficient customer service from their appraisal districts, whether it is a question of how their property was appraised or how to challenge an appraisal decision by the appraisal district.

What is operating procedures for purposes of the review?

The policies, plans and procedures used by the appraisal district's board of directors, management and staff comprise the operating procedures for the appraisal district.

What are appraisal standards, procedures and methodology for purposes of the review?

The appraisal practices used, appraisal standards followed and the methodologies used make up this section of the review. This section of the review addresses statutory requirements; appraisal standards propagated by the IAAO; and the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practices that guide appraisal practices.

Can I protest the findings of our MAP review?

There is no process for formally protesting MAP review results. Providing a preliminary report essentially provides the appraisal district the opportunity to have a clean, recommendation-free final report by identifying missing or incomplete information. This functions, essentially, as an informal protest process.

How are the MAP reviewers chosen to review each appraisal district?

Most MAP reviewers, like field appraisers for the Property Value Study, are located around the state. We take into account travel distance, reviewer experience, reviewer workload, CAD size and complexity and history in determining which reviewers are assigned to each appraisal district.

Why are my superintendents and their boards notified about my final MAP results?

Tax Code Section 5.102 requires the Comptroller to notify the following when the final reports are released:

  • the chief appraiser;
  • the appraisal district board chair and board members; and
  • the superintendents of all school districts in the county and their respective boards.

How are tiers assigned to appraisal districts?
Population Cut-offs for Tiers
Tier Total Population Range
1 120,000 +
2 Less than 120,000 to 20,000
3 less than 20,000
Why are appraisal districts broken down by tiers?

While the same set of laws apply to all appraisal districts, the types of property to be appraised and the types of appraisals performed varies based on the size of an appraisal district. For example, a large urban county in Texas may not have timberland and therefore does not have timberland valuation procedures.

The tiers are meant to address the following differences between appraisal districts:

  • the difference in value;
  • the different types of property appraised; and
  • the variance in size.