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H.B. No. 3216

H.B. No. 3216

AN ACT
relating to electronic communication between property owners and
chief appraisers, appraisal districts, appraisal review boards, or
any combination of those persons.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 1.085, Tax Code, is amended by amending
Subsections (a), (b), (d), (f), and (g) and adding Subsections (h),
(i), (j), (k), and (l) to read as follows:
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this title and
except as provided by this section, any [Except as provided by
Section 1.07(d), any] notice, rendition, application form, or
completed application that is required or permitted by this title
to be delivered between a chief appraiser, an appraisal district,
an appraisal review board, or any combination of those persons and a
property owner or between a chief appraiser, an appraisal district,
an appraisal review board, or any combination of those persons and a
person designated by a property owner under Section 1.111(f) may be
delivered in an electronic format if the chief appraiser and the
property owner or person designated by the owner agree under this
section.
(b) An agreement between a chief appraiser and a property
owner, or the person designated by the owner under Section
1.111(f), must:
(1) be in writing or in an electronic form;
(2) be signed by the chief appraiser [and the property
owner]; [and]
(3) be signed by the property owner or person
designated by the owner in a form acceptable to the chief appraiser;
and
(4) specify:
(A) the medium of communication;
(B) the type of communication covered;
(C) the means for protecting the security of a
communication;
(D) the means for confirming delivery of a
communication; and
(E) the electronic mail address of the property
owner or person designated by [to represent] the property owner
[under Section 1.111], as applicable.
(d) Unless otherwise provided by an agreement, the delivery
of any information in an electronic format is effective on receipt
by a chief appraiser, an appraisal district, an appraisal review
board, a property owner, or a person designated by a property owner.
An agreement entered into under this section remains in effect
until rescinded in writing by the property owner or person
designated by the owner.
(f) In an agreement entered into under this section, a chief
appraiser may select the medium, format, content, and method to be
used by the appraisal district from among those prescribed by the
comptroller under Subsection (e). If the comptroller has not
prescribed the media, format, content, and method applicable to the
communication, the chief appraiser may determine the medium,
format, content, and method to be used.
(g) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), if a property owner
whose property is included in 25 or more accounts in the appraisal
records of the appraisal district requests the chief appraiser to
enter into an agreement for the delivery of the notice required by
Section 25.19 in an electronic format, the chief appraiser must
enter into an agreement under this section for that purpose if the
appraisal district is located in a county that has a population of
more than 200,000. If the chief appraiser must enter into an
agreement under this subsection, the chief appraiser [and] shall
deliver the notice in accordance with an electronic medium, format,
content, and method prescribed by the comptroller under Subsection
(e). If the comptroller has not prescribed the media, format,
content, and method applicable to the notice, the chief appraiser
may determine the medium, format, content, and method to be used.
(h) The chief appraiser shall provide notice regarding the
availability of agreement forms authorizing electronic
communication under this section. The chief appraiser shall
provide the notice by:
(1) publishing a notice in a newspaper having general
circulation in the district at least once on or before February 1 of
each year that includes the words “Notice of Availability of
Electronic Communications”; or
(2) delivering the agreement form on or before
February 1, or as soon as practicable after that date, to each owner
of property shown on the certified appraisal roll for the preceding
tax year and on or before February 1 of each subsequent year, or as
soon as practicable after that date, to each new owner of property
shown on the certified appraisal roll for the preceding tax year.
(i) A property owner or a person designated by the property
owner who enters into an agreement under this section that has not
been rescinded shall notify the appraisal district of a change in
the electronic mail address specified in the agreement before the
first April 1 that occurs following the change. If notification is
not received by the appraisal district before that date, until
notification is received, any notices delivered under the agreement
to the property owner or person designated by the owner are
considered to be timely delivered.
(j) An electronic signature that is included in any notice,
rendition, application form, or completed application subject to an
agreement under this section and that is required by Chapters 11,
22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 41 shall be considered to be a digital
signature for purposes of Section 2054.060, Government Code, and
that section applies to the electronic signature.
(k) Unless the chief appraiser is required to enter an
agreement under this section, a decision by the chief appraiser not
to enter into an agreement under this section may not be reviewed by
the appraisal review board or be the subject of:
(1) a suit to compel;
(2) a protest under Section 41.41;
(3) an appeal under Chapter 42; or
(4) a complaint under Chapter 1151, Occupations Code.
(l) Unless the chief appraiser and the property owner or
person designated by the owner agree otherwise under Subsection
(b), the chief appraiser, appraisal district, or appraisal review
board shall deliver a notice electronically in a manner that allows
for confirmation of receipt by the property owner or the person
designated by the owner, such as electronic mail. If confirmation
of receipt is not received by the 30th day following the date the
electronic notice is delivered, the chief appraiser, appraisal
district, or appraisal review board, as applicable, shall deliver
the notice to the property owner or the person designated by the
owner in the manner provided by Section 1.07.
SECTION 2. Section 1.111, Tax Code, is amended by amending
Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (k) and (l) to read as
follows:
(b) The designation of an agent must be made by written
authorization on a form prescribed by the comptroller under
Subsection (h) and signed by the owner, a property manager
authorized to designate agents for the owner, or another person
authorized to act on behalf of the owner other than the person being
designated as agent, and must clearly indicate that the person is
authorized to act on behalf of the property owner in property tax
matters relating to the property or the property owner. The
designation may authorize the agent to represent the owner in all
property tax matters or in specific property tax matters as
identified in the designation. The designation does not take
effect with respect to an appraisal district or a taxing unit
participating in the appraisal district until a copy of the
designation is filed with the appraisal district. Each appraisal
district established for a county having a population of 500,000 or
more shall implement a system that allows a designation to be signed
and filed electronically.
(k) On written request by the chief appraiser, an agent who
electronically submits a designation of agent form shall provide
the chief appraiser information concerning:
(1) the electronic signature of the person who signed
the form;
(2) the date the person signed the form; and
(3) the Internet Protocol address of the computer the
person used to complete the form.
(l) A person may not knowingly make a false entry in, or
false alteration of, a designation of agent form that has been
signed as provided by Subsection (b).
SECTION 3. Section 1.111, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
applies only to a designation of an agent that is made on or after
the effective date of this Act. A designation made before the
effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the
designation was made, and the former law is continued in effect for
that purpose.
SECTION 4. This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

______________________________ ______________________________
President of the Senate Speaker of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 3216 was passed by the House on May
11, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 149, Nays 0, 1 present, not
voting.

______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 3216 was passed by the Senate on May
25, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0
.

______________________________
Secretary of the Senate
APPROVED: _____________________
Date

_____________________
Governor

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