April 1, 2018
Volume 3 | April 1, 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.
In January, I addressed the Senate Finance Committee to discuss budget challenges posed by a number of issues, including Hurricane Harvey. While I expect the budget and appropriation process next session to be very difficult, I have also seen positive economic signs. Texas exceeded the nation's growth in 2017, and increased economic activity attributed to rebuilding homes and replacing property impacted by Harvey has led to increased sales tax collections. As a reminder, the Comptroller's office maintains a webpage with information for Hurricane Harvey evacuees and relief workers.
The Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) had an active first quarter. Ringing in the new year meant updating property tax information, publications, forms and videos to reflect law changes from the 2017 legislative session that were effective Jan. 1, 2018.
On Jan. 31, 2018, the property value study (PVS) preliminary findings were certified to the Commissioner of Education. A school district or eligible taxpayer has 40 days to file a petition protesting the preliminary findings. PTAD also released its 2017 Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) reviews for roughly half the appraisal districts in the state. Appraisal districts that were not reviewed in 2017 will be reviewed in 2018. These results were shared with the Property Value Study Advisory Committee, which also met Jan. 31, 2018.
One of a property owner's most important rights as a taxpayer is the right to protest certain matters to the local appraisal review board (ARB). PTAD is charged with providing training to ARB members before they preside over protest hearings. In the last two months, PTAD staff logged over 2,500 miles to conduct ARB training in various cities across the state in preparation for the upcoming protest period.
Finally, I would like to note that with the dawning of the second quarter comes numerous property tax deadlines. A list of important property tax deadlines, including the new rendition deadlines, can be found on PTAD's Property Tax Laws Deadlines webpage.
The 2017 PVS preliminary findings were published on our website and certified to the Texas Education Association (TEA) Commissioner of Education on Jan. 31, 2018. Of the 857 school districts evaluated for the 2017 PVS, 704 (82.15 percent) received valid findings, which means their locally reported appraised values were certified to TEA for use in determining local school funding.
School districts, eligible property owners and authorized appraisal districts have the right to protest the Comptroller's PVS preliminary findings if the Comptroller's office assigned a value other than local value to property in their districts. Petitions protesting the Comptroller's PVS preliminary findings must be filed not later than the 40th day after the date the Comptroller's office certifies the preliminary findings to TEA. For the 2017 PVS preliminary findings, 88 school districts filed protests prior to the March 12, 2018, deadline.
The discounted cash flow model of the income approach to value is the primary valuation method PTAD uses to appraise crude oil and natural gas producing property (Category G1) for the PVS. The income approach requires estimating the value of future income based upon the projected future production stream. Expected operating expenses are subtracted to arrive at a future net value of the production stream. This future net value is then discounted back to present day worth, and the reversionary value of the associated leasehold equipment is added.
The reversionary value of equipment is determined using the cost approach by estimating the salvage value of the equipment, subtracting the plugging costs and then discounting the value back to present day worth. The sum of the discounted future net value of the production stream and the discounted reversionary value of equipment is the present day market value of the oil and gas producing property.
PTAD typically updates its depreciation schedule, trend factors and life expectancy charts in March each year. The 2018 charts can be found in the resources section on PTAD's Property Value Study and Self-Reports webpage.
The Appraisal District Operations Survey for the 2017 Tax Year was sent to each appraisal district in January 2017 with responses requested by March 31. If you are one of the few appraisal districts to not yet respond, please submit your responses electronically through the online survey link previously sent to you.
The application deadline for a qualified city or county to apply for state assistance for a local government disproportionately affected by the disabled veteran exemption under Local Government Code Section 140.011 is April 1.
Further information regarding the application process and required documentation can be found on PTAD's Local Government Relief webpage.
Rendition statement 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 located in an appraisal district in which one or more taxing units exempts freeport property under Tax Code Section 11.251||April 1||
|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.||April 30||
The last dates that the 2018 ARB training will be held are April 24 and 25 in El Paso. New ARB member training will be held Tuesday, April 24, and continuing education (CE) training for returning ARB members will be held on Wednesday, April 25.
PTAD offers a live telecast that can be viewed simultaneously at 10 locations throughout the state for new members on April 11 and CE on April 12. Information regarding the locations and registration for training sessions can be found on PTAD's Appraisal Review Board Training 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 that has been 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 that has been 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.
Property owners are entitled to an explanation of the remedies available when they are dissatisfied with the appraised value of their property. The deadline for property owners to file most protests with the ARB is May 15 or by the 30th day after the notice of appraised value is delivered, whichever is later. The Comptroller's publication Property Taxpayer Remedies provides an explanation of the remedies available to taxpayers and procedures to be followed in seeking remedial action.
PTAD also offers videos that provide an overview of the appeal process and cover the most common situations that arise in a protest hearing.
The third installment payment deadline on taxes with a Feb. 1 delinquency date is May 31 for the following persons. Other delinquency dates have different installment payment deadlines.
The deadline for property owners to pay the second half of a split payment option for taxes imposed last year is June 30.
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.
Information regarding binding arbitration, including frequently asked questions, forms, fee schedule and arbitrator registry, can be found on the PTAD's Arbitration Information webpage.
Q: What do I do if I think the appraised value assigned to my property is too high?
If the appraisal district appraises your property at a higher amount than in the previous year, Tax Code Section 25.19 requires the appraisal district to send a notice by May 1, or by April 1 if your property is a residence homestead, or as soon as practical thereafter.
If you are dissatisfied with your appraised value or if errors exist in the appraisal records regarding your property, you should file a Form 50-132, Notice of Protest (PDF) with the ARB. In most cases, you have until May 15 or 30 days from the date the appraisal district notice is delivered — whichever date is later.
After filing your protest, you will receive written notice of the date, time and place for a formal hearing with the ARB. At the formal hearing, the ARB listens to both the taxpayer and the chief appraiser. You may discuss your objections about your property value, exemptions and special appraisal in a hearing with the ARB. Most appraisal districts, however, will informally review your protest with you to try to resolve your concerns prior to a hearing. Check with your appraisal district for details. The ARB's decisions are binding only for the tax year in question.
Q: Must I appear in person to present a protest?
When protesting, you or your agent may appear in person, offer evidence or argument by affidavit without appearing in person, or you may appear by telephone conference call to offer argument and offer evidence by affidavit.
If you send someone in your place, you must give written authorization to the person to represent you before the ARB. You may use the Comptroller's Appointment of Agent for Property Tax Matters (PDF) form to notify the appraisal district that you authorize someone to appear on your behalf. No form is necessary if you are designating an attorney, mortgage lender, employee or a person who is simply acting as a courier.
You may contact the appraisal district or the Comptroller's office for an Affidavit of Evidence to the Appraisal Review Board (PDF), but you do not have to use this form. If your letter contains all the information required, you may have your letter notarized and send it to the ARB.
Q: What do I do if I do not agree with the ARB's determination?
If you are dissatisfied with the ARB's findings, you have the right to appeal the ARB's decision. Depending on the facts and type of property, you may be able to appeal to the state district court in the county in which your property is located; to an independent arbitrator; or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). More information regarding the options to appeal an ARB decision can be found on PTAD's Appraisal Protests and Appeals webpage.If you would like to submit a question for this column, please send it to email@example.com.
PTAD updated the Events Calendar that shows upcoming property tax-related seminars and events for the 2018 calendar year. PTAD also offers the following calendars:
Each of these calendars is a valuable tool to assist in planning for various property tax activities.
Below is a list of action items for the second quarter of 2018. A full list of important property tax law deadlines for appraisal districts, taxing units and property owners can be found 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.