April 1, 2021
Volume 16 | Apr 2021
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.
In January, my office released the Biennial Revenue Estimate, showing the state is projected to have approximately $112.5 billion in revenue available for general purpose spending during the 2022-23 biennium.
The revenue estimate represents a 0.4 percent decrease from funds available for the 2020-21 biennium. This decline is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused revenue collections to fall well short of what was expected when the Texas Legislature approved the 2020-21 budget. Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there is a wide range of possible outcomes for state revenue through the end of fiscal 2023, with the possibility of revenue falling short of this forecast but also a chance revenue could exceed it, perhaps substantially.
The Legislature will again face some difficult choices to balance the budget. While savings from agency spending cuts and federal funding could help erase the projected shortfall for this biennium, a substantial supplemental appropriations bill could increase it, thereby reducing revenue available for the next biennium.
This said, the state of the economy remains extremely fluid, and events since January — including a devastating winter storm, a massive federal stimulus bill and significant improvements in the pace and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout — may prompt an adjustment to the BRE in the near future.
The Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) had an eventful first quarter. In addition to offering information to the Texas Legislature on property tax matters, PTAD certified the property value study (PVS) preliminary findings to the commissioner of education; released the final 2020 Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) reports; and published the 2020 Appraisal Review Board (ARB) Survey results.
We certified the 2020 PVS preliminary findings to the Texas Education Association (TEA) commissioner of education on Jan. 29, 2021, and posted the findings to our website. In response to the declared disaster (PDF) and in accordance with Texas Government Code Section 418.016, the Office of the Governor granted the Comptroller's request to suspend the protest filing deadline in Texas Government Code Section 403.303(a) and 34 Tex. Admin. Code §9.4306(a). This action allowed school districts to file timely protests to the 2020 Property Value Study through Friday, March 26, 2021. Of the 896 school districts evaluated for the 2020 PVS, we certified valid preliminary findings for 636 (71 percent), which means we will certify their locally reported appraised values to TEA later this year for use in determining local school funding.
Currently, we are working on 127 PVS protests to the PVS preliminary findings. The protestors include school districts and eligible taxpayers for which we assigned a value other than local value to property. The informal protest process will continue through the spring.
In January, PTAD released 2020 final MAP reviews and notified chief appraisers whose districts received reviews. You can learn more about MAP reviews and download copies of reports for submission to your boards of trustees by accessing the Methods and Assistance Program webpage. PTAD also referred 22 appraisal districts to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) for failure to complete the recommendations included in their 2019 final MAP review. TDLR will work with these districts over the next year on the recommendations.
PTAD typically updates its depreciation schedule, trend factors and life expectancy charts in March each year. The 2021 charts are located in the resources section on PTAD's Property Value Study and Self-Reports webpage.
Due to the challenges presented by recent and ongoing disasters, we are extending the deadline for responses to the Appraisal District Operations Survey for the 2020 Tax Year to April 30, 2021. It is important that we receive the operations data from last year to help inform policymakers.
Unless otherwise noted, all responses deal with information from the 2020 tax year. A non-fillable PDF version of the survey is available upon request for use as a working copy only.
If you are unable to comply with the extended deadline, need a non-fillable PDF version of the survey or have any questions, please contact Charlotte Thomas by email or at 800-252-9121 (press 1 to access the agency directory and then enter 3-7817).
Rendition statements and property report deadlines depend on property type or location. The statements and reports must be delivered to the chief appraiser after Jan. 1 and no later than the deadline indicated below. Allowed extensions also vary by property type or location as referenced below.
|Rendition Statements and Reports||Deadline||Allowed Extension(s)|
|Property generally||April 15||
|Property regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the federal Surface Transportation Board or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Tax Code Section 22.23(d).||April 30||
Due to the ongoing pandemic, in-person ARB training will not resume for the 2021 season. Instead, our office will offer a combination of live virtual sessions and pre-recorded virtual presentations.
ARB members must complete one of the virtual training sessions to participate in ARB hearings.
Please ensure that ARB members register on time so they complete training requirements prior to the scheduling of ARB hearings in 2021.
Details about dates and other matters are available on our website.
On Feb. 12, 2021, the Governor declared a state of disaster in all 254 counties.
Information on statutory relief for property owners can be found on our Property Taxes in Disaster Areas and During Droughts webpage.
Qualified property in counties included in the declaration and physically impacted by the disaster may be eligible to receive a Tax Code Section 11.35 temporary exemption of a portion of the appraised value of the property.
A property owner must apply for the temporary exemption no later than 105 days after the governor declares a disaster area. Form 50-312, Temporary Exemption Property Damaged by Disaster (PDF) is available on our Property Tax Forms webpage.
The last day for property owners to file most exemption and special appraisal applications is April 30. Certain property owners may late file homestead exemption applications, as indicated below:
A religious organization denied a Tax Code Section 11.20 exemption because of its charter must amend the charter and file a new application by May 31 or before the 60th day after the date of notification of the exemption denial, whichever is later.
A private school denied a Tax Code Section 11.21 exemption because of its charter must amend the charter and file a new application by June 30 or the 60th day after the date of notification of the exemption denial, whichever is later.
Tax Code Chapter 41A gives property owners meeting certain criteria the option to request binding arbitration as an alternative to appealing an ARB decision to district court.
You can find information regarding binding arbitration, including frequently asked questions, forms, fee schedule and arbitrator registry, on PTAD's Arbitration Information webpage.
The Office of the Attorney General issued the following opinions.
Opinion No. KP-0355 (PDF)
(Feb. 22, 2021)
The conflict-of-interest requirements of Local Government Code Section 171.004(a) do not apply to a city council member voting on a county matter even though the council member is married to the county tax assessor-collector.
Opinion No. KP-0356 (PDF)
(Feb. 22, 2021)
An appraisal district may not determine or correct the boundaries of a taxing unit.
With respect to the potential boundaries presented by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District and the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, the determination of the exact boundary line between them in Potter County will involve the resolution of fact issues and is outside the purview of an attorney general opinion. We can only generally advise that in recreating the initial meander line in order to determine its location and to consider all subsequent events to determine the current boundary, a court would likely look for the original intent with respect to the meaning of "meanders of the caprock" and establish the meander line consistent with that intent.
Tax Code Section 5.07 creates the Property Tax Rate Calculation Form Committee (Form Committee) and requires the Comptroller to appoint its members. The appointed committee members, who represent assessors, taxpayers and taxing units, include:
L.L. Casey & Co., LLC
Tom Green County
|Donna K. Lawrence
Property Tax Manager
City of Round Rock
Chief Financial Officer
The following rule proposals were filed with the Texas Register on Jan. 20, 2021 and published on Feb. 5, 2021. You can view the rule proposals using the Texas Register links provided.
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.