This change to the Texas Tax Code is simply an attempt to clearly state what has been the law of the land for at least 20 years; that the appraisal district can’t present evidence not timely provided to the other side.

The appraisal district does not have to provide the property owner any evidence, unless they ask for it. Hence, if you do not request that the appraisal district provide you with the evidence they have for the hearing, they do not need to provide you any evidence and there are no restrictions on the evidence they can present at the hearing.

A request for the appraisal district’s evidence is often referred to as a House Bill 201 request, based on the original bill that codified this concept. The concept is simple; if you ask for the appraisal district’s evidence, they must provide you whatever they plan to present at the hearing two weeks ahead of the hearing (41.461). If they do not present any evidence, they are not allowed to present any evidence (41.67 (d)).

Harris County Appraisal District ignored this concept for many years after it being addressed by O’Connor & Associates. Finally, about twelve years ago, likely due to the influence of Harris County Appraisal District John Renfrow (now retired), they agreed that they had to provide the property owner or consultant evidence two weeks ahead of the hearing, or it could not be used at the hearing.

We appreciate the effort of Harris County Appraisal District to comply with the law. It has provided much helpful information to prepare for hearings and it has limited the evidence presented at the hearings by some of the Harris County Appraisal District appraisers. (Some of the Harris County Appraisal District appraisers still present whatever they want at the hearing.)

Many appraisal districts, particularly those in smaller counties, still completely ignore this taxpayer-friendly legislation.

Hopefully this attempt to clarify the intent of the legislature and the Tax Code will effect more appraisal districts following the law.