July 1, 2019
Volume 9 | July 2018
Property Tax Today features content regarding upcoming deadlines, action items and information releases.
Please let us know what you would like to see in future editions by sending property tax questions and/or suggested topics to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will gladly address property tax matters under our authority.
I would like to start by congratulating the Legislature on a very productive session! On June 5, I certified House Bill 1, appropriating $250.7 billion in total spending for the state's budget during the 2020-21 biennium. Texas has seen tremendous growth over the last year and a half, which allowed lawmakers to make investments in education and provide property tax relief.
The conclusion of a legislative session brings implementation of new laws, and the 86th Regular Session brought many changes for property tax. The Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) is hard at work updating forms, publications, videos and webpages to reflect these changes. This newsletter includes a list of updated forms, publications and videos with each edition.
We continue to work on the 2019 Law Changes publication, which will include property tax law changes from the 86th Legislature. We hope to have it posted to our website soon. The 2019 Tax Code and 2019 Property Tax Laws books will also be for sale this fall.
I encourage you to attend the Property Tax Institute in Austin, Dec. 10-11, to learn about some of these law changes. Save the dates!
Appraisal districts with fewer than 200,000 taxable parcels but more than 10,000 parcels must submit certified appraisal rolls by Aug. 1; the remainder are due by Sept. 1. PTAD's EARS Manual (PDF) offers additional information on this process.
EARS requires appraisal districts to provide appraisal roll information in a standard electronic format, accompanied by Form 50-792, Electronic Appraisal Roll Submission Media Information Form (MIF) (PDF), and submitted through the secured EARS FTP site. Submission information and guidance is located in the EARS section of PTAD's PVS and Self Reports webpage and the EARS Manual (PDF).
The deadline for all appraisal districts to submit their EPTS is Aug. 1, 2019.
Appraisal districts must submit all property transaction records in their possession, including the split school districts, using the record layout and date range specified in the EPTS Manual (PDF) along with a signed Electronic Property Transaction Submission Media Information and Certification Form (PDF).
PTAD can receive EPTS files by email or via the secured EPTS FTP site. This FTP site requires a registered user and the software that supports SFTP protocol for file transfers. Submission information and guidance is located in the EPTS section of PTAD's PVS and Self Reports webpage and the EPTS Manual (PDF).
A city adjacent to a United States military installation or a county in which a U.S. military installation is wholly or partly located may be entitled to a disabled veteran assistance payment from the state under Local Government Code Section 140.011. The city or county must be a qualified local government for a fiscal year to receive a payment.
The Texas Legislature appropriated $6.5 million for the Comptroller's office to make payments to qualified cities and counties in fiscal 2018 and 2019 ($3.25 million each year). A breakdown of the amount of reimbursement requested and the amount paid to each entity is included on PTAD's Local Government Relief webpage.
A property owner dissatisfied with ARB findings has the right to appeal the ARB decision in one of three ways depending on the facts and type of property.
A property owner may appeal through binding arbitration if the property is valued at $5 million or less or if it is a residence homestead (regardless of value). For information regarding filing a request for binding arbitration with the appraisal district, check PTAD's Arbitration Information webpage.
A property owner may appeal ARB orders for real or personal properties with values of more than $1 million to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). More information regarding filing a SOAH appeal is located on SOAH's website. Alternatively, a property owner may appeal an ARB decision to the state district court in which the property is located.
We are pleased to announce a new ARB data visualization tool.
This tool allows users to explore and compare ARB information collected through the Appraisal District Operations Survey and the ARB Survey. Users can compare information on the following:
Selected data display in charts and tables that can be printed or exported to Excel spreadsheets. We hope you find this tool interesting and helpful!
The Texas Farm and Ranch Survey for the 2019 PVS will be available online in September. PTAD also sends it by regular mail to agricultural appraisal advisory board members. The survey requests 2018 data.
PTAD calculates open-space land values annually for all counties. Input from chief appraisers, agricultural appraisal advisory board members, agricultural extension office personnel and other individuals involved in agriculture is important as we calculate typical farm and ranch income and expenses. Information provided increases the accuracy of the PVS, which results in more equitable state funding of school districts.
The Office of the Attorney General issued the following opinions.
Opinion No. KP-0254 (PDF), May 28, 2019
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 (PDF), June 14, 2019
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. 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.
After each legislative session, the Comptroller's office and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) determine the continuing education requirements for the state-required laws and rules update program required for property tax professionals registered with TDLR. Contact us at PTPCE@cpa.texas.gov if you are interested in information about the requirements for providing this program.
Below is an action item listing for the third quarter of 2019. You can find a full list of important property tax law deadlines for appraisal districts, taxing units and property owners on PTAD's website.
If the last day for one of the deadlines is on Saturday, Sunday or a legal or state holiday, the act is timely if performed on the next regular business day.
Please be advised that the information in this newsletter is current as of the date of its publication and is provided solely as an informational resource. 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 be directed to legal counsel and not to the Comptroller's staff.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.